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Dead Still Episode 6

Dead Still Episode 6 Only Memories Remain-Review And Recap-The Hellfire Club And What It Means For Season 2

Brock and Company found the killer but not before their relationships were destroyed and hope shattered. Dead Still Episode 6 was a heartbreaker.

A masterclass in storytelling brought Dead Still season one to a close while leaving so much room for future seasons. The killer was revealed, but it was hardly as important as what it meant for the group. Like the best mysteries, the ramifications matter more than the reveal. Dead Still Episode 6 ended with a lot of heart and still more secrets.

For the last five episodes, Dead Still balanced humor with the macabre. The finale brought it all together, giving each character emotional backstories and moral weight. They aren’t just the quirky photographer, free-spirited niece, and doting assistant. As each character got a moment to shine, their individual goodness and vulnerability resonated with the viewer. Writer/ director Imogen Murphy managed to surprise me this week. I thought I had it all figured out because I guessed Percy was the killer. I was right about that but had no clue about the poignant speeches I would hear.

Brock Blennerhassett is a flawed man. Repressed to the point of immobility, he is a man living in fear. At the beginning of Dead Still Episode 6, he is terrified for Connall and Nancy. By then end, we know he has even deeper seeded fears.

Brock pushes Nancy and Connall away, believing he is keeping them safe that way. The death of Henry and the subsequent threat shook him. In a noble but misguided attempt to save them, he dismisses Molloy without explanation wounding the younger man and all but runs Nancy out of the house. He doesn’t understand that for both of them, the risk is worth the reward of a better life with him. Molloy has a shot at a more financially stable and respectable life, and Nancy won’t be living under her Mother’s thumb. Believing he is doing the right thing is not the same as actually doing the right thing, though. Instead, he just hurt both people.

Eileen O’Higgins(Nancy) has been a joy to watch all season. She is spunky and kind in a clueless way. She is the exuberant spark of hope Brock needs. Instead, she is left with only anger and grief. She tells Brock she will avenge Henry’s death with or without him. Nancy, who has been more foolhardy than strong, showed real grit this week. Her brother may have been a bit of a cad, but she loved him.

Nancy wasn’t the only one with enhanced backstories. Molloy revealed he had a wife who died just a year ago. It is for her memory that he preserves. Nancy can’t understand why he would go back to digging graves after apprenticing with Brock. He is initially short with her when he tells her he doesn’t have the luxury of choice like her but eventually apologizes because he understands Nancy is not mean just ignorant. The two share a fondness for one another, and hopefully, in season two, when they all find their way back to each other, these two get to explore a more serious relationship. Kerr Logan(Connall Molloy) brought range to Molloy’s earnest persona. In the finale, in particular, he displayed a rare mix of sweetness and resolve.

Amid all the intrigue, Bushrod Wacker shows up at Brock’s house looking for the album. His presence provided a mountain of expository and enough opportunity for comic relief to fill the episode. Wacker’s employers are The Hellfire Club is an organization of dangerous people who dabble in the dark arts.

In real life, The Hellfire Club existed and is one of the most recognized landmarks in Dublin. The site of the club was once a lodge owned by Speaker Connelly. The home got a bad reputation from the start when the roof blew off during a terrible storm, and locals declared it the work of the devil. In 1735 the home became the first Hell-Fire Club of Dublin. The club was known for all manner of depravity and rumored to be for devil worshippers. Their involvement both in this season and future ones means endless ground for spooky mysteries.

Michael Smiley(Brock Blennerhassett), who has been great all season as the taciturn but loveable memorial photographer, gained a heart in the finale. He is a flawed man with a lifetime of pain. His former assistant was more than a mentor, he was a love, and those closest to him know it even if Brock isn’t willing to admit it. The complexity of Brock’s character arch isn’t just one of the stereotypical anti-hero. He is relatable and tragic. Blennerhassett has plenty of room for growth left, however.

After years of working together, Brock realized what his assistant John was and made him leave. The pain of losing his love and the guilt over his supposed suicide caused him to shut down. Coupled with the fact that homosexuality in that era was taboo and the poor man never had a shot at a happy life. Additionally, Brock’s bright mind and rigid moral compass made him complicit in the murders, he thinks. He blames himself for not seeing the monster John would become and for loving him in the first place.

When push comes to shove, Brock sacrifices himself for Nancy, who was being held hostage by Percy/John. The ensuing scuffle left Percy dead, and Brock utterly broken. Brock convinces them to let him take a photo of Percy before they bury him. Nancy pleads with her Uncle to tell Regan everything, but Brock chooses silence again. He believes it will keep the organization from viewing them as a threat. Nancy and Molloy vehemently disagree. That rift drives the three apart as the season concludes. Ever a forward thinker, Nancy chides Brock that life is passing him by as he focuses on the past. Soon no one will want his sad photos when they can have ones capturing the present.

Even Carruthers got in on the action this week. Jimmy Smallhorne(Carruthers) wasn’t given a ton to do in the previous five episodes. He was utilized for comic relief primarily. That was mostly true this week as the longest story in history was told to Regan to buy Brock time. Carruthers is a cartoon character whose horse is as stubborn as he is. In the end, though, he’s the only one left consoling Brock. He recognizes Molloy and Nancy were good for the intensely private man and a glimpse of the actual affection he has for Brock is witnessed.

Someone set fire to Wacker and stole the album right from underneath Detective Regan’s nose. Granted, he isn’t the most observant guy ever as both Nancy and the book were taken just feet from him, but still, it does set up nicely that someone or someones at the police station are involved. His clever wife Betty is right; he can’t trust anyone there now. He can trust Brock and the gang, though, and they know he can be trusted as well. I would love to see a Regan and Brock team-up next season. It would allow these two men to work together and provide a wealth of murders to solve.

Percy and Brock are no different in that secrets will corrupt you and everything around you. Percy is a bitter man. He is angry at Brock for leaving him. He’s a psychopath for sure, but one capable of love for Brock. His final words were a warning to be wary of the Hellfire Club because they know everything about their relationship.

Some wrongs can’t be made right. The old saying, “You can’t unring a bell,” is true. Brock, in his haste to insulate those he loves from both the monster in his past and danger in the present, pushed Nancy and Molloy too far. Molloy leaves him because he believes Brock’s silence is a sign of greed and uncaring instead of cowardice and shame. To hear the younger man express his disappointment in Brock was wrenching. If Brock can’t be honest with those closest to him, there will be no one left to confess too. Nancy’s final speech to him is powerful writing conveying so much regret. Ultimately Blennerhassett’s wall of photos is one of punishment and not memory. It is a collection of his shame.

Federico Fellini once said “Regrets were a waste of time. They’re the past crippling you in the present.” That is the painful truth for Brock Blennerhassett. He should remember to leave the past behind but keep the memories. Catch up on all our Dead Still coverage while we anxiously await season 2.

Stray Thoughts:

  • So many beautiful lines this week from “He didn’t ruin your life. You ruined his.” by Nancy to Percy/John and “My intentions were good. It’s just my manner needs work” from Brock bright all the feels to a highly charged episode.
  • Will Blennerhassett begin working for the Hellfire Club in season 2? Not a chance.
  • Who was the woman with the album? It looks suspiciously like Henry and Nancy’s mother. Please tell me she didn’t have her own son killed.
  • LGBTQ+ got an unexpected storyline from the Irish period piece about memorial photography. If it taught us anything, love in its many forms could be beautiful, and you should never hide who you are!

9 comments

  1. I don’t believe Nancy’s mother had him killed. John’s coachman told him their employers told him to stop. I think he did it on his own.

    Reply
  2. Was there any particular revelation that Brock and John were lovers ? I admit I may be biased in my interpretation as mainstream media has only recently begun showcasing main lgbtq+ characters in earnest, and as a period piece I may be overlooking subtleties that wouldn’t register in my mind due to the cultural differences obscuring them.

    i just finished watching and enjoyed the show quite a lot, but I can’t recall any specific scene that gave an impression that their relationship was more than a dear friend or beyond platonic. As an older, straight person that is my natural inclination, ie to see it through the lens of my own experience. His bachelorhood is equally explained by being widowed or just being unpleasant to be around.

    A quick search didn’t turn up any other discussions of the depth of their past relationship beyond yours as the show is quite recent.

    Am I being blind to some obvious context or is it a matter of our individual interpretation ? I like a work that is provided to me with it’s own implications and definitive stance rather than the “death of the author” decide for yourself choice. I would like to know if their relationship had a deeper level or not to enhance my experience of the story.

    Cheers !

    Reply
    • To be fair, I also thought they were lovers…but I got that impression at the grandmother’s funeral first, in I believe episode 3, when they originally introduced the idea of his previous assistant John who was his “friend” and he very quickly responded with “he wasn’t my friend”. Then episode 6 sealed it for me that they were lovers. Perhaps it’s because I’m bi, but there was a lot of coded language in their back and forth dialogue, in particular the line “we could have had a lovely life together but you couldn’t overlook some of my habits.” You don’t describe having a lovely life together with your boss…that’s how you describe your relationship. Brock’s characterization and the actor’s portrayal in between those episodes also read to me very much what would have been called a “confirmed bachelor” at that time in a way that say, Molloy’s character did not read, who they later did acknowledge was a widower.

      Reply
      • I didn’t interpret “He wasn’t my friend.” in that way at the time. I thought it was just churlishness at having one’s employee referred to as a friend seen as improper, given Brocks attitude about reputation and appearance. Misstating his station, so to speak. And given that something bad was revealed to have occurred perhaps anger and a desire to distance himself from John. Upon reflection it does take on another aspect.

        The lovely life together does give it another hue altogether. I was focused on the danger and action so it may have gotten by me. Any coded information I must admit was missed due to my inexperience and the cultural setting changing, even disrupting, my expectation of cues, as well as any implication of his bachelorhood because, as I said, there are other reasons for that that are more obvious to me during a first watch because I’m focused on keeping up with the plot. Reasons such as focus on career, no interest in romance, not wanting children, social disorders, the tendency for men to make their way then marry a younger woman, etc.

        Thank you, I believe that I have good reason to consider the character and the story from this new point of view now.

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        • There is also the scene with Nancy at the end will he she says “I know you cared about him” and brock says, “You wouldn’t understand” Then Nancy says “No I do, I understand it now” then after a pause she says “Even now you cant admit anything”. They were for sure lovers.

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  3. I don’t suspect his mother. The shrouded woman who has given the album at the end of episode six, also appears in the end of episode one. She walks in on the drunken Henry when he is stealing the album and tells him, “You shouldn’t be here. My hunch is that if it was his mother, he would have recognized his own mothers voice. Also, it is unclear who’s house he is attending that party at. But it appears that The shrouded woman was the owner of, or at least related to the owner of the household and host. Her face does appear to be young-ish, of course it’s very hard to tell with the black veil obscuring much of it.

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  4. I must also admit that during the season whenever they showed him sitting before his wall of portraits, and if I recall correctly, speaking to them, that I was searching for a portrait of a woman that he lost. That definitely colored my expectations and cooked up some confirmation bias.

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  5. Who is H.C., the photographer?

    Reply
    • H.C is Hellfire Club?

      Reply

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