The Gloaming Premiere Recap: Grade Starz's Eerie Aussie Murder Mystery

The Gloaming Premiere Recap Season 1 Episode 1 Starz

A woman is found, dead and encased in barbed wire, at the foot of a waterfall in Tasmania, Australia. Seemingly inexplicably, she’s got a decades-old student identification card on her; it’s not hers. And that unsettling scene is the point where The Gloaming really gets going.

In a moment, we want to hear what you thought of the Australian drama, which premiered Sunday on Starz. But first, a quick (and creepy!) recap.

The True Detective-ish mystery begins with a flashback to July 11, 1999, when Tasmanian teens Jenny and Alex hike up to what seems like an abandoned gothic home with a small cemetery in the front yard. Jenny mentions that she lived on the property as a child. As they explore, Jenny loses track of Alex. She finds him just as someone in the house opens the door and points a shotgun at him. As Jenny walks up behind her friend, the person — whose face we don’t see — shoots.

Then the action skips to the present-day, where a woman we’ll eventually learn is Det. Molly McGee (played by Once Upon a Time‘s Emma Booth) stakes out a man’s house until he leaves, then breaks in. She messes with several items on his desk and takes a chess piece, but her trespassing seems to be more about annoying or scaring the house’s owner than about stealing anything or doing recon.

The man is Gareth McAvaney (Virgin River‘s Martin Henderson), and he’s invested a lot of money in a parcel of land that’s poised to make him a lot of money. It seems like there’s some shady dealings involved, but we don’t get a lot on that front in the premiere. At one point, he and Molly cross paths, and it becomes clear that they do not like each other.

Eventually, Molly gets called to the scene of the aforementioned murder. She’s rattled when she realizes that the ID card is of Jenny — the girl from the flashback. (We still don’t know what happened after the shotgun went off, or how Molly is connected, but it’s probably not good.) And she’s more rattled when Alex O’Connell (Top of the Lake‘s Ewen Leslie) is called in from Melbourne to help with the case: Alex and Molly have some kind of fraught past, and we see her looking at a photo of the pair of them as teens later in the hour.

Also important to know: Molly is friendly with a local wayward girl named Daisy. We meet Daisy as she’s freaking out over something terrible — it seems it’s a murder, possibly the murder of the woman at the waterfall — that a boy named Freddie did, and that she was a party to. “We’re going to jail,” she moans. Freddie tells her not to worry. And suddenly, she calms, repeating, “We leave the dead to bury the dead.” Then she takes off on her bike.

Freddie, as it turns out, knows Molly. She frequents his mother’s fish-and-chips restaurant. And Freddie also knows of Molly’s teen daughter, Lily, who is a cam girl at night. And while Freddie has Lily cued up on his computer, he gets a nosebleed. The lights in his room start to flicker, and then a dark and foreboding figure — whom he’s seen before in the episode — appears in his room. It’s terrifying.

Meanwhile, Alex is sitting at the home where he’s staying when he notices an earring on the ground: It’s the same one Jenny was wearing on that fateful day in 1999. And over at her place, Molly hears a noise outside and tracks it to her shed, where she finds Daisy, hanging from a noose.

OK, it’s your turn. What did you think of the premiere? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments!

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