Bellevue – He’s Back
By: Maggie Stankiewicz
Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) is still missing.
Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) is still a mess…but she’s trying. Her credibility is called into question with Peter (Shawn Doyle) as they investigate the religious graffiti that adorns the Nativity Scene’s off-season home. The illustrations of interest have been covered with a thick layer of red paint. Annie had managed to snap a few sloppy photographs of the graffiti on her phone a little earlier, but Peter is having difficulty discerning the images. As their observations get clearer, Annie decides to come partially clean about her recent blasts from the pasts. In a short-winded, “He’s back. The asshole who sent me riddles,” she informs Peter about the resurgence of riddles. This revelation brings her to her back windshield where the hooded figure taunted Daisy.
Peter dismisses her claims that the riddles and stalking are related to the disappearance of Jesse, but Annie’s mind is already made up about the correlation. Peter isn’t pleased with the conclusion and boldly reminds her of the ways she’d been haunted as a child by the mysterious riddler. He insists that she cease her pursuit of her childhood “friend” and promises that he’ll handle it.
The next morning Annie is confronted by the back of Daisy’s (Madison Ferguson) head. Her daughter still won’t look at her after the previous night’s events, but before she can make amends Annie is called to the scrap yard to meet Peter and Virginia (Sharon Taylor). When an unnamed police officer finds skin on the electric fence (possible evidence of aversion therapy), Annie calls upon Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) for a quick debriefing. The townsfolk are nothing if not cruel to Jesse’s memory, mocking his gender expression within earshot of his bereaved mother – she hears all, and she knows of the evil lurking within the town limits. And speaking of evil…Annie pontificates the possibility of Jesse undergoing conversion therapy. Maggie knows nothing of it, or so she says, until she charges Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) and demands to know what he did to her son.
Jameson is relocated to a tent for some first aid and gentle questioning with Brady (Billy MacLellan). The priest admits that he did speak with Maggie about a reorientation for Jesse. Father Jameson admits that Maggie rejected the notion of “fixing” Jesse in such a way, but denies that he played a part in any questionable rehabilitation methods. Father Jameson is dismissed and Brady follows suit, their space within the tent is quickly reoccupied by Mayor Mother Mansfield (Janine Theriault) and her daughter Bethany (Emelia Hellman). The Mayor pushes the principles of stability on Annie, before diverting her attention to Bethany, where she dolls out some judgmental advice.
Back in the boy’s locker room, Brady and Peter share some small talk. Brady is interested in Peter’s personal life, but the man is locked up tighter than a Narcotic’s Evidence Locker. In the same building, Annie questions Bethany and her friends on the scar Jesse had on his hand. When the attitudes get a little too snarky, Virginia cuts in and shuts them down. Despite their differences, Annie is impressed. In a quick and passing exchange, a teacher offers Annie some information on Jesse’s gender expression. He hadn’t yet decided to change his pronouns – was his hesitance rooted in confusion or something more?
The team of detectives are each exploring their own leads in Jesse’s case. Peter and Brady are given permission to question the hockey team and Jesse’s replacement, Peter is also seen later asking questions about Clarence (Patrick Labbe). Virginia questions a local. Annie can’t seem to stay away from the crime scene, and as she pulls up she spots Bethany searching the ground for something. Bethany claims that she was praying, but gives up the ruse quickly and walks away; minors can’t be questioned without consent. Annie returns to her car and is startled by the new presence of a very familiar doll sitting in the back window.
Maggie pays a visit to Father Jameson. They once shared a belief that Jesse’s affinity for dresses was simply a phase. Maggie quickly realized that it wasn’t, but Father Jameson held onto the twisted notion that Jesse was something to be “fixed”. In an uncomfortable turn of events, Maggie and Father Jameson share a kiss. When the moment is gone, Maggie walks away. Father Jameson wraps his fist around a still-burning cigarette – his own brand of aversion therapy. A punishment for lust, perhaps?
The doll’s presence prompts Annie to have yet another flashback. The dolls clothing is stitched with a riddle. Annie attempts to thread her past with Jesse’s present, but she interrupted by her partners. Annie mentions her encounter with Bethany and leaves to confront the girl once again. This time the teenager is more cooperative and they make their way back to the crime scene. Bethany breaks down and reveals that Jesse did undergo an unsupervised series of aversion therapy sessions, but on his recognizance. Jesse, she claims, would touch the electrical fence on his own in hopes of altering his mind and “divergent” thinking. After a few sessions, Jesse admitted to Bethany and his teammates (including Jacob) that he was done with the “therapy”. Bethany wonder if she liked him because he was “weird”.
This catalyzed a fight between Jesse and his supposed friends, who began beating him on the ground. Bethany fled the scene, telling Annie that she did so in order to seek help. Bethany’s story is full of convoluted details. She claims that despite the beating, Jesse was fine afterwards. She also insists that Jesse came onto her the night he planned on leaving. Annie uses this information to her advantage and seeks out Jacob and a friend. After consulting with Peter and Brady, Annie decides to try and drive a wedge between the boys. It doesn’t take long for one of them to sellout Jacob (Robert Naylor). Next, Jacob is interviewed. Through some detective artistry, Annie gets Jacob to write down the words “White Truck”. Jacob watched Jesse get into a white truck.
Peter is later informed about a call related to the Driver case. An anonymous source from Barnes Road made the call from a pay phone. Peter chooses to keep this information from Annie. Virginia is also out and about and tracks down Danny Debessage (Cameron Roberts), who admits that he had plans on meeting Jesse before the disappearance. He then verifies Jacob’s story by mentioning he watched Jesse get into a white truck around 1:30AM. Virginia takes notice of Danny’s tone and shows him a photo of her wife before asking if the boys were planning on running away together. They were.
Annie enters Eddie’s (Allen Leech) house in search of Daisy. It’s time to reconcile. When she realizes that Daisy isn’t there, Eddie informs her that Daisy is at a sleepover. After innocently falling into bed with him, he holds her and mocks her twisted idea of “normalcy”. Annie and Eddie are still very much in….something. She gives him permission to have sex with other women but forbids him from impregnating anyone else. That’s their thing. Eddie rebuts by telling her that she’s not allowed to have sex with anyone else. They discuss Daisy and their unconventional relationship before Annie breaks away. The Jesse case is not something she can set aside.
Annie leaves Eddie’s house to go for a drive. With the highway sprawled out before her, she bounces back between the present and the past until almost getting into a collision. The other vehicle drives off, but Annie gets out of the car and finds a dead animal on the road. The animal has the words “Remember Me” sloppily carved into its torso. This triggers another flashback to a young Annie in the woods with a deer and her little doll. Moving back to her car, she pops the trunk and removes the doll, finding detached fingernails within. This leads Annie to revisit the Sandy Driver case – a case where the victim’s fingernails were not recovered. Until now.
The detective books the evidence and goes home where she discovers her mailbox has been moved to a tree in the woods. Across from that tree is another tree with the word “faster” carved into it. Annie follows the trail until she located more lines to a riddle. As she moves down the line of trees, the riddle gets longer. When she goes home to solve it, Daisy comes home as well – but just to pick up her books. Annie and Daisy have a brief exchange and the tension between them quickly dissolves. Annie promises to keep her safe. Daisy leaves and Annie calls Brady for some help with the riddle. He helps her solve it.
While Annie drives to the location of her riddle’s suggestion, Peter pays a visit to the mysterious payphone where the call was made. The payphone has already been destroyed. Annie having arrived at the old New Horizons Treatment Center explores the ground for her next clue. As she moves through the ground she stumbles across an old shed, the place where she will find a fish out of water. The walls of the shed suggest that it once housed a prisoner. The walls are streaked with scratches. Annie photographs the evidence and moves along to the water’s edge. As she closes in on the water’s edge she spots a body.
Jesse Sweetland has been found.