Life is anything but groovy for Quarry‘s Mac Conway when he returns home to Memphis circa 1972 after a second tour of duty in Vietnam.
In fact, no sooner have Mac (played by Traveler‘s Logan Marshall-Green) and his best friend Arthur (The Wire‘s Jamie Hector) gotten off the plane than they are swarmed by angry protestors at the airport, recognized for their presumed role in the “Quan Thang massacre.” Soon after, Mac surprises his wife Joni (Bomb Girls‘ Jodi Balfour) with his day-early homecoming, and he is met with warm, welcome arms (and then some). And yet something at home seems… off, though Mac can’t at first put his finger on it.
Instead, he sets out to procure employment, but infamy has made that near-impossible for both him and Arthur. Mac can’t even wrangle an invite to visit his father (and stepmom) at their home, let alone score a job with his old man. He also gets stonewalled at his old high school, despite having been promised a job as a swim coach. Arthur meanwhile chases a management role at a factory, only to get hidden in the dark, sweaty shadows, molding office furniture.
One night, having bailed on a night out with friends, Mac is in the midst of one of his many (sometimes zen, sometime traumatizing) swims in his home’s cement pond when he discovers a stranger on his patio. “The Broker” (Top of the Lake‘s Peter Mullan) got word through his scout Buddy (Justified‘s Damon Herriman) that the war vet may have a certain skillset (or killset) that could fetch him $4,000 per job. Mac, though, resists the temptation of a dopp kit stuffed with cash, and makes do with the job he scraped together at an auto repair shop — until, that is, his PTSD prompts him to accost a well-meaning customer.
Arthur, it turns out, did not say no to The Broker, and welcomes Mac’s help on his first job. Yet despite all of Buddy’s recon work, Arthur gets brutally and fatally blindsided on site, forcing Mac to emerge from the shadows and get involved in the melee. Mac kills Arthur’s shooter, but the prosthetic-wearing private dick, Suggs, that had been their original target scampers away, on a single leg.
This job-gone-sideways lands Mac in a pickle, seeing as Arthur was just beginning to work off his $30,000 advance. That dilemma is made clear when Mac gets a call at Arthur’s home after his memorial service, ostensibly from a police detective. But in truth, it’s The Broker. They later rendezvous at a quarry, where The Broker makes clear that Mac will do his bidding at least until Arthur’s debt is clear, especially since Mac is unable to locate where his friend hid his stash.
Mac’s first target seems benign enough, until he follows the mark to his own home and realizes that Joni had been carrying on with this guy, a coworker, during his absence. Mac can barely stomach laying witness to the betrayal, and ultimately vents his feelings by paying the guy a visit at his house, where he’s working under his car… which Mac, after just a moment of taunting, promptly drops on top of him. (After collecting his oddly MIA Otis Blue album.)
When Joni comes home that night, she hears the tell-tale vinyl playing, knowing full well where it had resided until recently. Finding Mac in their back yard, the two locks eyes from afar, Joni’s adultery obviously discovered. But can she possibly imagine what became of her lover?
Next week: As Mac pays someone else an unwanted visit, Memphis police detective Tommy Olsen (played by Josh Randall) begins delving into the peculiar double murder.
What did you think of Cinemax’s Quarry?