Much like Twin Peaks before it Top of the Lake is a show that wears its physical beauty on its sleeve. Trance inducing location shots can do much of the heavy lifting for you when building an atmosphere. It’s been made pretty clear over the past 6 weeks that Laketop is a freaky place with dangerous people and some pretty lax law-enforcement. It’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there. Whatever secrets Tui is carrying around with her aren’t coming out easily even if he has bonded unusually well with Peggy Olson. Twin Peaks proved it was more than just a pretty face, could Top of the Lake? Let’s observe as it ploughs headlong into the finishing straight and find out shall we? I wonder if we’ll find where Annie was?
Matt Mitcham’s goons track Tui and Jamie to their shitbox forest hideout. The kids split up and the hunters chase the familiar figure of Tui in her white parka. She slips, and then bounces down the hillside like Homer Simpson falling down Springfield Gorge for about a mile before finally plummeting to her grisly death over a cliff. But wait, close inspection reveals it’s Jamie. They switched jackets. Tui survives! Tough break, Jamie.
She slips, and then bounces down the hillside like Homer Simpson falling down Springfield Gorge for about a mile before finally plummeting to her grisly death over a cliff.
Matt meanwhile makes a stunning “personal confession” to Robin. It turns out it’s nothing to do with getting his daughter pregnant, rather getting Robin’s mother pregnant whereupon she gave birth to… Robin. Hi dad! Turns out that kinship she felt with Tui may have been more literal than she realised. Her completely understandable first course of action is to track down Johnno with a “Hello, brother” and try to bang him. If you can’t beat ’em, bone ’em.
Matt continues his sterling work for the family by attempting to kidnap Tui’s newborn baby in the woods but Tui’s father didn’t raise no fool. He raised a G and he reaps that particular whirlwind when she blows his fucking chest out. Tough break, Matt. Give my regards to Saint Peter. Or whoever has his job but in hell.
DNA tests confirm that Matt was Tui’s baby’s father – at least that’s what Al says. In a Stieg Larssonesque twist though it turns out that Al has been heading a child abuse ring drugging and raping the barista kids. He had a large bottle labelled ROOFIES which would be a touch incriminating had it made it to court but with Robin blasting him to the hereafter like her name was Yolanda Saldívar it’s not something his defence brief will have to explain away along with the neon SHHHHH! CHILD PORN FILMING IN SESSION sign above his basement.
It turns out that Al has been heading a child abuse ring drugging and raping the barista kids. He had a large bottle labelled ROOFIES which would be a touch incriminating had it made it to court.
Ultimately, Top of the Lake was as brilliant as it was gorgeous. Laketop was an intriguingly placid hell. So many of the freedoms the 20th-century won passed it by. Women and children were fair game to any predator going, everyone seemed to know and nobody seemed to care. Elizabeth Moss may be a filthy Scientologist crank but she is pitch perfect here. Angry, vulnerable, tough, self-destructive – Robin was convincingly all these things as the story required. That it is Jane Campion‘s best work in decades is further testament to the brutal beating television is inflicting upon cinema. For that alone it’s one of the shows of the year.
The verdict: Definitely worth the dip.
Marks out of 10: 8.5