The Baby descends into killer children territory in its sixth episode as all hell breaks loose at Jupiter House.
Spoilers follow for episode six…
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Episode 6 “The Rage”: Desperate to leave the Jupiter House, Natasha (Michelle de Swarte), Bobbi (Amber Grappy), and Mrs. Eaves (Amira Ghazalla) find their plans thwarted by the chaos and destruction of the other suddenly-possessed children. Later, Bobbi receives the social worker’s long-awaited call.
“The Rage” is a fascinating episode of The Baby because it so expertly builds on long simmering storylines from the last batch of episodes, but it also has its own distinct visual style.
This is the third episode in a row from Faraz Shariat and I’m totally obsessed with the German-Iranian director. There’s a chaotic, surreal energy to his episodes that makes them both beautiful and captivating. In an episode like “The Rage,” where the feelings that The Baby is attempting to evoke is of a world gone completely mad, it’s a seamless blend of technical artistry and storytelling.
“The Rage” wastes no time in depositing our main characters in the middle of a war zone. Natasha and Mrs. Eaves wake up on the ground, in the middle of a clearing. They’re recovering from the effects of the Summer Solstice, but it’s immediately clear that something is different: the Baby (Albie Pascal Hills & Arthur Levi Hills) is gone.
What follows is almost like a game of hot potato as the child is discovered in the arms of Barbara (Sinéad Cusack), who protests that she’s only giving Tasha a breather. Almost immediately, the baby is stolen by the matriarchal commune’s unruly children, who move like a horde of like-minded ravenous dogs. Tasha and Eaves give chase, discovering the baby being held by Sally (Beau Gadsdon)…but again something is off. It turns out that the baby is mad, and, in its anger, it has possessed the children to do its homicidal bidding.
This results in all-out war against the adults, including a sequence when Sally nearly drowns Barbara after the entirety of Jupiter’s House are stoned near the river. It’s not until Tasha demands that Bobbi distract the children with her arsenal of magic tricks that the adults have time to plot. Everyone sustains injuries (from bites, sharp weapons and…leeks?), before the three family members are chased into Barbara’s workshop and “The Rage” pauses to catch its breath.
It’s all incredibly tense, and even when the plot slows down to focus on the dysfunctional family relationship between the siblings and their estranged mother, “The Rage” is a captivating episode of the series. Writer Anchuli Felicia King wisely pays off the standalone events of last episode “The Baby” by tying the baby’s rage into its absent mother, which aligns thematically with flashbacks to Young Tasha (Kayla-Rose Pochen)’s relationship with her father, Lyle (Patrice Naiambana).
But memory is unreliable and Tasha’s perspective is skewed. Not only does Bobbi’s experience of their childhood differ in vital areas, but so too do the circumstances around Barbara’s departure. It all ties into the baby’s troubled relationship with his secretly queer mother and his petty, vengeful father Jack (Karl Davies) whom, in a genuine moment of surprise, Eaves realizes is actually alive.
And so another family reunion looms on the horizon as Tasha, Eaves and the baby head off in search of dad.
- The conversation between Tasha and Bobbi in Barbara’s workshop is uncomfortably hurtful. While there’s something cathartic about an airing of grievances and laying your cards on the table, it’s pretty clear that both women are saying things in the moment that they will regret later.
- Of course Social worker Pat (Polly Kemp) would call at a ridiculously inopportune time to tell Bobbi that her desperate need for a child has resulted in their decision to delay her adoption until she dials back her expectations. Grappy has played Bobbi with a false smile plastered over her world-weary face this whole season and watching the facade crack, as she repeatedly demands Pat give her her baby, is heartbreaking.
- Got some serious Village of the Damned vibes (with a touch of Children of the Corn) from the way the baby forced the children to do his bidding like they’re one single symbiotic organism. All of the children’s reactions in this episode are very creepy and effective.
- Seeing someone get stoned is top tier horror for me. There’s something incredibly visceral about a character flinching or bleeding as a result of getting hit in the head with a thrown object.
- Special kudos to the stunt team for the watery Sally vs Barbara sequence. It definitely looked like Barbara might actually be killed in that shallow water.
- Seriously: leeks?!
The Baby airs Sundays on HBO