Little Paul's kidnapping ordeal finally came to an end on Trust Season 1 Episode 9 – so where will the show go from here?
That's the question the final moments of "White Car in a Snowstorm" left the audience with.
This installment picked up soon after where Trust Season 1 Episode 8 left off, when Leonardo's recently Confirmed son Francesco sliced off Paul's ear at the captive's request.
Unlike that Italy-centric hour, "White Car in a Snowstorm" once again broadened the focus to visit the other major characters, like Getty, Gail, Chase, Big Paul, and even Bullimore.
Gail fought hard to save her son.
As expected, Hilary Swank's performance was, in turns, powerful, devastating, triumphant, and heartbreaking. She will absolutely be nominated for her performance this season and may well win.
Again, I'm not fully certain what aspects of the real Getty kidnapping were represented here. But the writers make it very clear that, at least in this version of events, Gail was near-singlehandedly responsible for getting her son home.
It seems almost insane that Gail hadn't come face to face with either her ex-husband or Getty at all this season, but that was in fact the case. She finally realized that she'd have better luck reasoning with them in person and made the trip to England.
Aggravatingly, not even that managed to sway the two stubborn Getty men.
The scene between Old Paul and his former daughter-in-law was brief but reflected the man's dispassionate, unfeeling, cruel nature. He was entirely unmoved by Gail's plea and instead punted the "problem" over to his son, fully blaming Big Paul for his son's continued predicament.
Big Paul was equally unwilling to accept responsibility for the situation. In a great scene between Michael Esper and Hilary Swank, Big Paul articulated exactly why he was unwilling (or as he claimed, unable) to indebt himself to his father.
Big Paul: You don't understand. If I sign, then he has got me. I mean, don't you remember the phone calls day and night? The visits, the repayment schedule, the bullying. That slowly, slowly sucks the life out of you until you are in a garage, at a party, stabbing yourself to death in the chest with a barbecue fork. It killed George. It killed him. And I can't do it. It'll kill me.
Gail: It's our son who will be killed!
Big Paul: I can't do it.
It was impossible to listen to Big Paul's impassioned and self-centered rant and think him anything but utterly selfish. His personal discomfort and mental health were more important than his oldest son's life? Some father he was.
In the end, Gail was left with only one option: the president of the United States.
Yep, you read that correctly.
It struck me as an utterly bizarre and unexpected turn of events that President Nixon managed to intervene and convince his old pal Getty to fork over the ransom money (half as a gift and half as a loan). It seemed to come totally out of left field, so that threw me for a bit of a loop and pulled me out of the story.
Again, I'm not sure how much of this is rooted in reality.
A book about the case does say that Gail Getty wrote a letter to Nixon to beg for help, but nobody knows the truth about whether or not he intervened.
In the world of Trust, Nixon phoned Getty almost immediately after receiving the letter and bargained with him: he'd help along a business deal that was costing Getty millions in America, in exchange for the old curmudgeon handling his grandson's ransom.
Gail didn't question Getty's motives in coughing up the money, and neither did Big Paul.
Perhaps one of the most telling moments of the entire season was Getty's reaction when he offered up his new deal to his son: he was disappointed that Big Paul didn't try to negotiate with him to get a "better deal."
It was a perfect character moment that showed how skewed Getty's priorities were.
To be worrying about his son lacking finance and business acumen after they'd literally received his kidnapped grandson's ear in the mail – it was heinous, to say the least.
That's why I basically cheered when Penelope took that opportunity to inform a flabbergasted Getty that she was leaving him (for her flight instructor, Patrick, though she left that information out of her short but sweet goodbye speech).
Getty: He made no attempt to negotiate at all! The boy has learned nothing.
Penelope: But I have. Finally. I couldn't leave until I knew Little Paul was going to be alright. But now he is. I can say goodbye. Goodbye, Paul. And good luck.
Like Bullimore and Leonardo, Penelope is a side character more interesting and complex than she probably needed to be for the purposes of the show.
That's why Trust is so damn good – it's a fully realized world, full of fully realized people. That they've managed to make their audience care about so many of their stories in only nine episode is really remarkable.
Much of the hour involved Gail and Chase working together to put together the ransom money, deliver it, and secure Paul. That resulted in several great scenes.
In particular, the moment when Chase confessed to Gail that he had a 12-year-old son of his own was a powerful moment. Similarly, the fixer reassuring Gail that she'd behaved admirably throughout the whole ordeal was one of the season's finest scenes.
Gail: No disrespect. But you're kinda strange, Chase.
Chase: I've been called worse.
Gail: But you're the kindest man I've ever met.
Brendan Fraser's Chase has been a man of relatively few words, but he's given a quietly strong performance. I can't wait to see more of him on my TV screen, hopefully in many shows in the near future.
The hour ended on a powerful moment: the long-awaited reunion of Paul with his mother.
There were so many roadblocks to the reunion that it almost seemed they'd save it for the season finale. But in the end, a freezing and very ill Paul all but collapsed into Gail's arms on a snowy road in the mountains.
Speaking of snow...
I've said this time and again throughout my reviews this season, but the cinematography on this show is truly on another level.
I particularly loved the "meta" quality of Primo "directing" the circumstances under which Gail and Chase would deliver the ransom money, the "finale" (which, as we show-watchers know, isn't actually the finale).
This is the final act. Like at the opera. They decide whether they want it all white, or drenched in blood. One last thing. I want it to snow. It has to snow.Primo
Comparing the kidnapping to an opera really underscored just show delusional, egocentric, and psychotic Primo is.
From a visual standpoint, my favorite shot was when the kidnappers celebrated receiving the ransom money in the cave. The slightly-askew camera angle and the actual blocking of the scene – where each actor was positioned – was absolute perfection.
- The kidnappers briefly losing Paul's ear due to a postal strike in Naples was a goofy twist. Very apropos for the tone of this show, which has often been strangely comic at times.
- Did anyone else expect Primo to kill Salvatore right after the ransom money came through? Or Fifty? Basically, I was shocked that the episode ended without Primo killing anyone.
- Bullimore's gardener abruptly left Sutton Place. The butler was clearly (yet quietly) devastated, and it was really sad.
What did you think of "White Car in a Snowstorm"? Share your thoughts by commenting below, and don't forget that you can watch Trust online here at TV Fanatic anytime!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.