Everything gets crazier and a love triangle heats up

By Christina Ciammaichelli
August 11, 2016 at 03:52 AM EDT
Iden Ford/CBS
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This week’s American Gothic answered several questions…while raising about 100 more. Let’s go over what new clues we’ve learned about our favorite Bostonians in tonight’s “Nighthawks.”

We’ll start with Garrett, who takes his creepiness to a new level this episode when we see him stalking a woman named Christina. He has a notebook of her whereabouts — where she works, the diner she goes to, and specifically, the times of day she is alone. It’s with this revelation that Garrett jumps back to the top of my “most likely to be SBK” list.

While on his usual visit to the diner Christina frequents, Garrett runs into his ex-girlfriend, Molly, whom he abandoned 14 years prior. Molly is still quite pissed about this, and demands he has coffee with her and explain himself. Garrett tells her he just couldn’t be the “golden boy” everyone wanted him to be — taking over his father’s business was just too much to handle, and there were things going on he didn’t want to deal with. This explanation isn’t good enough for Molly, but she accepts his half-hearted offer to take her out for her favorite Chinese food.

Meanwhile, Madeline sits down with Alison, Cam, and Tessa to go over Mitch’s will. She explains that Mitch left everything to her, and she plans to sell the concrete company. The kids are sad, but ultimately, they’re not that bothered by the whole thing. After having a few weird run-ins with Gunther, Madeline very suddenly tells Gunther he’s fired (so much for being “another member of the family”). See ya, Gunther!

Brady and Tessa finally discuss the photo in which Cam is wearing the SBK belt. Tessa isn’t convinced this ties her family to anything, and after talking with Cam, Alison, and Madeline, she refuses to give Brady some of Cam’s DNA to test against the belt. Brady feels pressured to procure some kind of Hawthorne DNA to test so this photo will no longer be used as evidence, so he steals a strand of Tessa’s hair against her will. (Is this “familial DNA” thing real? DNA experts, please weigh in.)

Then we have Cam. It turns out the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because when Cam finally takes Jack to a therapist, it happens to be his own. Cam explains that Jack is just a little odd — often lacking empathy, trying to trap animals, cutting off a cat’s tail… the standard stuff that might require some professional help. Sophie doesn’t agree with the whole thing, and thinks she and Cam getting back together would solve Jack’s problems, but the therapist agrees to see Jack. While there, Cam learns his own teenage sessions with the same therapist were recorded. He explains to Sophie how defaming (he was a very troubled teen and “said some really dark stuff”) those tapes could be, especially if he’s investigated because of the SBK belt. He has to get his hands on them.

Sophie gets the building code and helps Cam break into the therapist’s office to get the tapes from his files. Cam goes through several of the recordings, watching himself talk to the therapist as a teen, until he gets to one video in which he mentions wanting to “talk about the body.” He takes this particular tape and destroys it.

At the same time this is going on, we see Jack back at the Hawthorne home, breaking and entering into neighbor Phyllis’s house, chasing poor Caramel again, and stealing Phyllis’s false teeth. Again — apple, tree.

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Finally, we have Alison. She’s created quite a complicated love triangle between herself, her husband and her campaign advisor. Tom suggests he’ll purchase the Hawthorne concrete company from Madeline, but Alison says she wants his head in the game for this campaign with her. Then, when he tries to be involved, Naomi is very dismissive of his suggestions, and intentionally gives him menial tasks to get him out of the way.

Alison wants a big endorsement to get her approval ratings up, so they decide to throw a charity fundraiser at the Hawthorne estate, where Stephen Gostkowski — a prominent Patriots player — will announce his official endorsement for her campaign as mayor. Madeline is more than happy to throw a big bash, and that’s where all of our character’s stories take a turn.

NEXT: “You drop the play and I’ll run it; that’s what I’m used to”

While the party’s going on, Garrett brings Molly back to his childhood bedroom in the Hawthorne house, where she finds photos of her still laying around. After much hesitation — and what was maybe the longest 15 seconds of my life — Garrett and Molly kiss. Molly takes off Garrett’s shirt, revealing several scars that (classic Garrett) he refuses to explain. She keeps prodding, and eventually Garrett throws her off of him in anger. Molly divulges that Madeline told her to go to the coffee shop Garrett was going to, and encouraged her to spend time with him. (Does this mean Madeline placed the photos and set up this almost-sex date for him, too? This woman is working on another level.)

Downstairs at the fundraiser, Alison gives Gostkowski a tour and preps him for his introduction. Just then, she sees the incumbent mayor enter the house, much to her surprise. She and Naomi pull him aside to find out why he’s there, and he reveals he has photos of Cam breaking into the medical facility. He promises to send these photos to the local paper if Alison accepts Gostkowski’s endorsement.

Cam begs Alison to save him from this, fearing he’ll lose custody of Jack if word gets out, and Alison begrudgingly chooses to save Cam. Ever the politician, she instead gives a speech about her good friendship with the current mayor and how they can come together for the same causes.

Later that evening, Alison finds out Tom did, in fact, buy Hawthorne Concrete through a Russian company. He tells her he doesn’t want to be her minion anymore, and is picking up and going to Moscow for a few days. Alison is venting to Naomi about feeling powerless, first with the campaign glitch and now with her husband. Naomi takes this opportunity to hit on Alison again, and then goes in for that big kiss we all saw in the preview for this week’episode.

Detective Cutter lets herself into the Hawthorne house and tells Madeline they need to talk. Cutter has found evidence that Madeline purchased a belt exactly like the one found in the concrete shortly before the murder. Just then, Brady bursts in and says the DNA doesn’t match — it’s been tested, and the fingerprints on the belt aren’t a match for Hawthorne DNA. Madeline explains that all signs point to Gunther, her recently fired household staffer, because he had access to the belt and was also present at the worksite the day of the tunnel’s construction.

After having a fight with Garrett about why she’d manipulated his ex-girlfriend, Madeline tells Garrett he “needs to make peace with the past in a way that’s not destructive.” We see Garrett dutifully heeding his mother’s advice by cutting his own hand with a knife in his car. It’s a deep cut, and he goes to have it sewn up at a clinic by none other than… you guessed it, his original prey, Christina. They have a conversation about why she looks familiar to him, and it’s revealed Christina is the daughter of an SBK victim.

In the final scene, Tessa and Madeline are talking in a bedroom when they hear a loud crash from the shed. They run outside to find Gunther’s body, hanging from the ceiling, with a note nearby that reads “I’m sorry.”

That’s right, we have another cliffhanger, folks (no pun intended). So, will we ever find out why Madeline just won’t leave Garrett alone? Will Phyllis get her teeth back? Is Gunther really sorry? We’ll find out next week!

Ep. 3 Honorable Mentions

  • “God forbid someone question whether Garrett’s a ‘nice guy,’ even though he looks like an axe murderer…” —Cam, on Tessa’s explanation of everyone being a “nice guy.”
  • Gunther beating the hell out of a raccoon for seemingly no reason.
  • Dana! The DNA analyst, and American Gothic‘s official queen of one-liners
  • Why was the therapist fine with Cam’s creepy confessions in 2002, but Jack’s weird puppet is what puts her over the top?
  • Is this show getting darker by the episode? As in, do other viewers also have their brightness turned all the way up when watching it?
  • This episode is titled “Nighthawks” and features a diner called the Filly Diner — which sounds oddly similar to the Edward Hopper painting, also titled “Nighthawks,” and features a diner with a “Phillies” (cigars) sign on it. I see what you did there, American Gothic.
  • Who Actually Dun It?

    It seems like Gunther might be too obvious of an answer now, so my money is on Dana. She’s the best new character on the show, and therefore, no one would suspect her. After this episode, who do you think is the possible SBK?

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    • 06/22/16
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