Quarry is the new tense drama from Cinemax. The show airs on Friday nights and is just now beginning its first season. The story centers on a Marine sergeant who returns home to Memphis after serving a second tour in Vietnam. The second episode “Figure Four” moves the story forward and luckily the giant knot on the leading actor’s forehead had time to heal between shoots.
The premise is simple: Mac Conway and his best friend Arthur arrive back to the states in 1972 to find that they are not being welcomed home as heroes. Soon after their return, the harsh reality of post-war living catches up to both of them.
Quarry pulls no punches when it shows that drafted veterans are practically left to survive on their own after returning home from war. Cinemax is upping its television game with shows like Banshee, The Knick and Outcast, but Quarry is an instant standout that could easily develop into a must see show. The first season is set to last eight episodes, and if the tone of the show holds up it could easily be as watchable at the initial run of True Detective.
So far Quarry is off to a great start.
Figure Four shows the relationship between Mac and his lady strained. He’s listening to tapes of her voice while she tries to figure out what happened to her mechanic boyfriend. It’s odd because it’s hard to feel bad for either one of them due to the way things turned out and the lack of communication.
The cops are investigating the crushing death of the mechanic and Joni almost drives right up on them. We find out that her girlfriend is an instigator as well. It’ll be interesting to see what shape this subplot takes. So many seminal TV crime stories end up badly because of a love that dies. Mac is balancing becoming ingrained into the culture of his new criminal friends and keeping dibs on his friends and family. He’s a lost soul with really nowhere to turn to. It’s so bad that his best rapport isn’t with his loved ones but with the man who built the file that got him in hot water. It helps that Damon Herriman is the only thing on the show that isn’t deeply depressing.
Things get serious. The cops seem to see right through Joni, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Handsome Cop don’t become friendly. Mac sees firsthand how his little buddy doesn’t like having his sexuality questioned. That baseball bat with the nails in it is no joke.
Fans of people having their heads ruined are going to have a field day with this episode. As the episode comes to a close a few things are apparent. The bloodshed is only going to get worse and Mac and Joni are going to have to put aside their differences to come out of this alive.
This is a prototypical Cinemax show. Dark. Unrelenting. Unpleasant. But it somehow really sticks with you. Its lack of sheen serves it and the period setting really well. The show also captures that Max Allan Collins (whose books are the source for the show) vibe as it gets its hooks in. That same sense of permeating dread that made Road to Perdition so terrific.
- Mac’s little visit with his stepmother.
- A no-holds-barred battle between a man and a mattress.
- Mac has some chemistry with the bartender at the strip club.
- The gunfight at the warehouse. Brutal.