As if the season premiere of Burden of Truth wasn’t tense enough, this week the stakes have ramped up to a twelve at least. A lot happened this episode, so rather than beat around the bush, let’s get into it!
Joanna and Noah
Episode 2, The Rabbit Hole, opens with Noah meeting a frantic, gun-wielding friend who claims, “They are ruining my life.” We can assume ‘They’ is Lovand, and that Noah’s yet-to-be named friend is someone who worked with him on his app targeting the company’s malicious data mining software. Noah manages to talk him down, reminding him they agreed to do “whatever it takes.” But as he leaves, the friend picks up the gun again and the sound of the shot into his own chin pushes us into the opening sequence.
It’s only been two minutes and I’m already high key stressed.
The next morning, a rattled Joanna heads to the police station to report her car being hacked. I want to give credit here to the composers of Burden of Truth, including Ian Lefeuvre and Benjamin Pinkerton across both seasons. The familiar underscoring of violins and ominous percussion tones as Joanna gets ready for her day create tension in the most mundane of activities, including coffee making. Through the score we’re also allowed to see our protagonist’s silent, almost furious resolve: she will not be scared off this case. At the station, I was glad to see that the female officer taking her statement not only took her very seriously, encouraged her to report it. But Joanna quickly realizes that telling someone would bring her more problems and expose Noah, so she bails. At work, her associate Sunil has a huge box of files to go through, and Joanna makes Teddie, her boss, aware that Lovand is trying to intimidate her.
Despite the well-intentioned talk about opening up to people last week, I get the impression that Teddie is only concerned about mediating Joanna’s behaviour insofar as it benefits the firm. I don’t know if I would just brush off one of my employees being physically intimidated by a corporation, regardless of “tactics”. Later, despite telling everyone she’s fine, Joanna is jumpy and nervous. More concerning though, is the man who seems to be stalking her. Joanna is told to stay off the internet and deviate as much as possible from her routine; the threat should be taken seriously. But there’s good news. Sunil has a lead: Jared Lapinski, a former co-worker of Noah’s, who should have answers to all the questions that their client is unwilling to answer. The bad news is that Jared is the suicide we witnessed at the opening of the episode. Lovand’s lawyers come back with a job offer as settlement to avoid a hearing of contempt, which Noah rejects immediately; he also fires Joanna over the phone, which makes me roll my eyes, hard. Sure, kid. Represent yourself. Have fun with that!
A package arrives in Joanna’s office, containing files that prove Jared Lapinski was being blackmailed, set up by Lovand to appear as an addicted gambler, adulterer, and pedophile. Jared’s distraught wife describes how he thought she was in danger too, which leads to Joanna rushing to see Luna. There, they find Noah streaming his contempt hearing live on Youtube, which gets him tackled by security. At the following hearing, Joanna (of course) comes to his rescue, since Noah has no sense of respect or procedure in a courtroom. As a viewer, I’m probably supposed to be sympathetic to his plight, but quite frankly I find Noah incredibly annoying at this point – Joanna manages to get him released since the judge conveniently has something against millennials (just let us eat our toast in peace, I beg you) – and Noah has the gall to say, “I feel like I owe you an apology.”
Yes, Noah. You do. Just to be clear, you should be kissing the ground Joanna Chang walks on cause you don’t deserve her help. We’re also introduced this week to Mara Tran, Noah’s girlfriend, who seems to just as keen on “the movement” as he is.
So Noah’s free, sort of. But Joanna’s stalker remains.
Back in Millwood, Billy’s little brother Shane has a proposition for him: a micro-brewery to bring life back to their dying hometown. They share a cute brotherly moment when Billy finds a newspaper clipping of himself and Joanna in Shane’s notebook; speaking of Joanna – guess who she called from a payphone upon leaving the police station?
“I didn’t know who else to call.”
(PLEASE MY HEART.)
Billy immediately catches onto Joanna not using her own phone, and the way he says, “If you’re in danger, privilege goes out the window,” made my stomach jump. Joanna asks for a connect to a private security firm; with the death at the opening of the episode and the appearance of someone following and photographing her, I’m inclined to think she needs it.
With Shane already lining up investor meetings for his brewery (whose floor plans are drawn out on a napkin), Billy is reluctant to let his brother go full steam ahead. But Shane wants to help revive Millwood, so Billy agrees to help him, drafting a partnership agreement and helping prepare for the investors. What I find most interesting about the appearance of close family into our small-town lawyer’s life is that it sheds new light on Billy as a character.
Season one, understandably, pulled at a thread of Joanna Hanley (now Chang)’s life until it unravelled; we walked into the dark closet of her family and their past and pulled several skeletons out. This season, at any mention of their father from Shane, Billy’s face goes unexpectedly dark and grave. There’s definitely a story there and I’m deeply curious what it is. Their meeting with two dudebro investors doesn’t end well, to say the least. Shane essentially breaks them into someone else’s property, and no one is impressed. But when the guys insult Shane and Millwood, Billy goes full big brother and punches one in the face. It’s amazing.
The show also seems to hint at Shane struggling with something beyond copious alcohol consumption, but it’s still unclear what that might be. I’m just nervous at this point. I sense a major confrontation coming between the Crawford brothers this season, and there’s no telling how that’ll impact our favourite Millwood son.
Gerrilyn, Taylor, Luna and Molly
Elsewhere this episode, our remaining characters dealt with somewhat quieter unrest. Luna – newly enamoured by the mission of Bear Clan – is beginning to have real doubts as to moving in with Molly and the changing directions of their lives, while Taylor struggled with the letter her father had sent last week. Gerrilyn, for her part, has officially decided to pursue new charges against David Hanley, enlisting Billy’s help to tell her story and seeking to sell her house in order to pay for it. With the carry over from last season, I get the sense that this story has to come to a head soon – the only question that really remains is how: how it will happen, and how everyone affected will be changed afterwards.
Burden of Truth airs Sundays at 8/7c on the CW.