Incoming Tide: Olive Kitteridge

In “Incoming Tide”, the second part of HBO’s 4-part miniseries “Olive Kitteridge”, Christopher Kitteridge is a grown man, a podiatrist, played by John Gallagher, Jr. He is getting married to a proctologist named Suzanne, played by Libby Winters.

Of her future daughter-in-law, Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) says “Can you imagine where her hands have been?” She is still as unsentimental and abrasive as ever, however, she still values life.

Through a chance encounter with her former student, Kevin Coulson (Cory Michael Smith), we learn that Olive’s efforts to help Kevin’s mother were in vain. Rachel committed suicide and mailed Kevin her suicide note, telling him to watch out for the purple snakes in the dryer. Olive tells Kevin, who is training to be a psychiatrist, that her own father committed suicide but did not leave a note, which pissed her mother off because he would leave a note when he was going to the store. Olive saw the logic in it herself because her father was right in the kitchen when he killed himself.

At the same time that Kevin and Olive are talking about how mental illness runs in families, Kevin is suffering with his own inherited hallucinations — when he looks at Olive, he sees an elephant! They talk about Patty Howe (Rachel Brosnahan) who is picking flowers when Olive suddenly realizes that Patty has fallen into the bay. Kevin saves her from drowning.

Kevin has a rifle in his backseat and has really come back to town to kill himself. After an awkward chat with Suzanne and Christopher at the lounge, Kevin goes to the bar and notices a picture of Jim O’Casey pinned up over a napkin with something written on it. He asks to see it and it has a line from a John Berryman poem “Save us from shotguns & fathers’ suicides.” Kevin recalls the day O’Casey drove him home and they were alone in the car and gave him a John Berryman poetry book and some advice on life. He pockets the napkin and moves down to listen to Angela, singing and playing the piano.

He spends the night before the wedding at the Kitteridge home and Olive makes him dispose of his rifle and ammunition and matter of factly tells him he should know there is no clean way to commit suicide. Kevin leaves in the morning without a word. He goes to the diner where Patty works to have a cup of coffee with her to find out if she was trying to kill herself.

Denise and Jerry are now married and have two children, Bradley and Michael, and live in Houston. They stop by for a short visit. Denise is pretty much the same although her happiness factor is suffering because Jerry has just become “a real snot-wot.” He even has the brass to ask Henry how much he got for selling his pharmacy to the big chain that took over. “That’s none of your business, Henry says.

The wedding takes place at her son’s home. Olive antagonizes the bride and her in-laws by scaring tiny Lily (Colbi Gannett), flower girl and niece of the bride, and eating nuts during the ceremony. Her daughter-in-law thinks Olive’s home-made dress is awful, an opinion Olive overhears while lying down in an upstairs room. She takes revenge on Suzanne by taking a purple marker to one of her sweaters, stealing one of her shoes and one gold earring.

Also in the Incoming Tide:
Jill – Jillian Taylor
Angela O’Meara – Martha Wainwright
Joyce – Patricia Kalember
Joe the Bartender – Bill Thorpe
Blake – David DeBeck
Denise Thibodeau – Zoe Kazan
Jerry McCarthy – Jesse Plemons
Suzanne’s Sister – Tamara Hickey
Caterer – Andrew Haserl
Bonnie Newton – Ann Dowd
Officiant – Brian McEleney
Harmon Newton – Ken Cheeseman
Female Friend – Emily Kaye Lazzard
Woman – Anne Marie Shea

Seen in flashbacks:
Rachel Coulson – Rosemarie DeWitt
Kevin (Age 13) John Mullen
Jim O’Casey – Peter Mullan
Christopher (age 13) – Devin McKenzie Druid
Christopher (Age 4) – Liam Geaney

Pharmacy * Incoming Tide * A Different Road * Security

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