Evidently, this will be a season unlike any other, and it’s exciting how In the Dark can keep viewers on our toes.
Some of the stylistic choices during the anxiety-ridden In The Dark Season 3 Episode 3 were impressive. They creatively and effectively set a specific mood and tone, and it feels like we’re as much out of our depth as Murphy herself.
And hell, we haven’t even delved into the horror show happening to Jess right now.
It’ll sound odd, but there was something about this hour that gave off Mr. Robot vibes, and it worked so well with this type of series. From the bleak bus station experiences, the wintery brightness of Murphy’s day trip from hell, and descending into that dark loneliness of night and her own mind playing tricks on her captured that vibe.
And some of the car ride discussions with Michael and the ’80s, Ferris Bueller-esque vibe of those scenes with him, also contributed to the similar tone to the late, great Emmy-winning series.
Picking up where we left things off with In the Dark Season 3 Episode 2 immersed us back in that terrifying feeling along with Murphy as she realized that she was all alone in another country, and no one was there to come for her.
The blurry, tunnel-vision shots in those first few moments as Murphy panicked and attempted to revise her plan were incredible. Faces were blurred out or in shadow, so it felt like disembodied voices surrounded her whenever she spoke to someone and asked for help.
It transported us into Murphy’s world a bit, where everyone and everything felt unfamiliar and dangerous. Under any other circumstances, this would be stressful enough. Murphy has the added pressure of being on the run and not knowing if some authorities, Nia henchmen, or Josiah, are coming after her too.
Every person she approached felt like another threat, and I felt riddled with anxiety through those first moments of the hour. And every time it felt as if maybe she’d succeed, the universe laughed in her face.
With her inability to reach Jess on the burner phone, her best shot was Felix. The announcement of a bus ride to Thunder Bay sounded like a lifeline, and I have to give Murphy credit. It didn’t appear as if she was even listening to Felix when he discussed his plans.
She was too busy trying to make Max talk to her again and avoiding her best friend after their unexpected threesome.
Hopping the bus to Thunder Bay was Murphy’s best shot until she learned that it would make a million stops and not get her there before Felix’s flight to Toronto.
Murphy couldn’t get a win for anything in the world. But one thing it did solidify is the full extent of what Murphy meant when she said she could not be alone.
And it’s such a fascinating thing to explore for this character. As much of a curmudgeon as she is, she thrives on these relationships she shares with her colleagues and others.
She strives for independence, and she probably even convinces herself that she is, but relationships like that with Jess are full-blown codependent. Without her person or any of her people, Murphy is lost.
However, the thing about these bonds is that it’s not something exclusive to her disability. Murphy isn’t helplessly dependent on Jess, or Felix, or even Max because of her blindness.
Her blindness does factor into how difficult it is for her right now. She’s on the run, navigating a new country without friendlies there with her. Murphy would still be out of her depth here and facing a reality check of how much she cares about and takes for granted the others in her life if she weren’t blind.
When she says she can’t be alone, there are layers to that. And we’ve only just begun to peel some of them back.
Murphy’s loneliness set her on an interesting path where she spent significant time with Michael.
Naturally, you sympathized with Murphy’s plight and desperation, but how could you not cringe when she resorted to talking Michael into stealing his father’s car and driving her however many hours to Thunder Bay?
It’s such a quintessential Murphy thing to do where she prioritizes herself over other people, and her selfishness keeps her from seeing the tornado effect she has on the lives of others until it’s too late or it backfires.
Michael was a sweet kid, and part of the time she spent with him felt like a callback to the beginning. After all, it was Murphy’s friendship with Tyrell that set her on this insane path.
She has a gift for connecting with youth, and maybe one day, whenever she escapes all of this and gets her life on track somehow, she should pursue some avenue of working with teens as it’s her calling.
Of course, part of it is because of how she behaves similarly as a teen herself, and we got glimpses of that during her car ride with Michael. But another thing that happens is Murphy is forced to be a semi-responsible adult when she’s with those younger than her.
Sure, she initiated this teen stealing his father’s car, planning to stay out late before his mother returns from the graveyard shift, and all of these other reckless things you don’t encourage a teen to do. But she also expressed her concerns when Michael spoke about meeting up with a 31-year-old guy with whom he wanted to lose his virginity.
Michael coming out to Murphy was such a great moment, and predictably, it was something that cost her a bit in the end.
For Michael, a poster child for the repressed, studious good child trying to make his parents proud and not make waves while keeping this secret, time with Murphy was liberating.
In a single installment, your heart swelled for this kid, and you rooted for him, even as his journey with Murphy got more chaotic.
The time at the gas station was nerve-wracking, as a clueless Michael didn’t understand the stress Murphy was experiencing. The guy leering at her and her ID set Murphy and the viewer on edge, and his tailing Murphy and Michael, causing them to get in an accident, and all to return her ID was maddening.
It was all too much, and after lying to this child, hearing what he had at stake, and the realization of how much danger she could’ve placed him in, Murphy wanted to set Michael free.
But Michael clung to what Murphy meant to him, how she inspired him, and from that point forward, it seemed that maybe he could somehow talk his mother into driving this blind stranger and her dog he picked up at a diner to Thunder Bay.
But after his mother poured all of her worry and love into him, not giving a damn about the crashed car, when Michael had his chance to come out to his mother, he couldn’t. And ugh, that was rough.
Murphy’s chance at reuniting with Felix depended on something as unpredictable as a teenage boy’s ability to come out.
It’s a moment that shouldn’t have been linked to Murphy at all, and when he backed out of it, your heart hurt for Murphy, of course, but also this kid who wasn’t ready.
I mean, it’s not like you can be upset with the guy! Even when he let his mother assume that Murphy was some type of kidnapper or something, it was an L you knew Murphy had to take. And to her credit, she seemed resigned to that fact.
Of course, it would’ve been fine if he didn’t keep her burner phone, leaving her without the last lifeline she had to her friends.
When poor Michael drove away, helplessly holding onto a phone that his mother refused to let him return, it was the last bit of hope left.
Murphy’s dream sequence of Jess was a gut punch.
It was believable that Jess would’ve put a tracker in the teddy bear she gave Murphy. It’s the type of thing that Jess probably would’ve done, so when it appeared as though Jess showed up at the playground, there was a spark of relief.
But it felt off, so by the time Jess walloped the hell out of Murphy for sleeping despite thinking something happened to her, it became clear Murphy wasn’t getting out of this with ease.
The good thing about that exchange is that Murphy is aware of the nature of her relationship with Jess and how one-sided it often comes across.
Dream Jess went right into how she KILLED for Murphy, and that’s something she’ll never fully recover from, and Murphy was still dismissive of it.
Jess couldn’t even share how it’s affecting her or why she’s justifiably angry with Murphy without Murphy turning it back to her and suggesting that Jess should’ve let Murphy die.
As if that ever would’ve been an option. It’s an awful thing to suggest, and Murphy not understanding how toxic and exhausting it is on other people that she so easily wants to push people who unconditionally love her away is frustrating and so true to form for her.
Loving Murphy is hard, and she doesn’t visibly extend the same care, consideration, and devotion to the people who love her. It leaves them wondering if they ever mattered at all. And if Murphy’s best friend since childhood feels that way, then Murphy has a lot of damn work to do.
It’s never been a question of whether or not Jess would go to the ends of the earth for Murphy because she always does and always has from the time they were kids.
And it’s a culmination of things adding up where Murphy realizes how self-absorbed she is and how much she takes Jess for granted. It was an enlightening moment when she couldn’t even describe Jess to strangers upon looking for her.
If I’m not mistaken, she knew Jess before she went blind. Since then, she never figured out what Jess looks like or how she is in the present.
In the cold of night, all alone with only poor, hungry, thirsty Pretzel beside her, Murphy is having a come to Jesus moment. It sucks that it took all of this to get her to this point, and we still have no idea what she’s going to do now.
Shockingly, no one extended Murphy any grace or help, but that has to change at some point, yes? It also wouldn’t be a surprise if a guilty Michael comes into play again.
He could probably find her if she’s still lingering around where he last saw her. Or, he’s the lifeline between Murphy and the others since he’s holding onto her burner phone.
I doubt he’ll get rid of it, and he’ll probably put the SIM card she needs in it.
In addition to being worried about Murphy’s state now, we still have to figure out what the hell Josiah kidnapped Jess for here? Does this mean he’s not letting Nia’s killer off the hook?
My heart aches for Jess. She’s hanging on by a thread at any given moment as it is, and now she’s in another terrifying situation, at the mercy of an unpredictable drug lord who may or may not want her dead and potentially at risk of Gene and Josh closing in on her too.
And despite everything she’s enduring, you know she’s worried AF about Murphy all alone because that’s just the type of person Jess is.
All that work just for Jess to end up back where she started, kidnapped, and facing down another drug dealer all alone. When will this woman find peace?!
Over to you, In the Dark Fanatics. How often did you hyperventilate during this one?
Why do you think Josiah kidnapped Jess? How will Murphy get by without her friends?
Hit the comments below!
You can watch In The Dark online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.