Sometimes we don’t know if we did the right thing for a long time after we make our decision. That’s the central thesis of “No Task for the Timid,” the Dec. 15 episode of “Falling Water” on USA Network, expressed in voiceover at the episode’s conclusion.
Burton (David Ajala) has rescued The Boy, who’d recently been acquired by Bill (Zak Orth) in a secret purchase. Yup, that Bill. This is how trustworthy Zak Orth’s face is: Despite Bill’s lying to Tess, despite the weird flickery / moving super-fast thing, despite the fact that he apparently, you know, bought a person — it’s still not 100% confirmed that the dude’s a villain.
And if Bill might not be a villain, then Burton, our romantic hero who just rescued the wee blond one, might have made a mistake — because The Boy is apparently very, very powerful. And those powers were on partial display in this week’s episode.
But to explain exactly what the kid did, we need to back up a bit, to this weird device of Bill’s. It looks kind of like a sextant had a baby with a clock and that baby had a kid with a globe.
What does it do? Well, it does something — though the answers we’ve gotten so far aren’t trustworthy. Woody tells Tess it’s a device that will turn dreaming into a “tiered” experience. This would make Bill the Elon Musk of dream tourism. But Woody is slippery, so this could be just a half-truth.
Instead, what we actually see and hear the Sextant Clock Globe Baby device do is: Muffle the kid.
When Burton busts into the room via a refrigerator (Woody tells Burton he’s gonna scare people when he finally figures out what he’s doing), at first he can’t hear anything. He sees the boy, but there’s nothing to hear — it’s like Burton’s wearing really great earplugs.
Then Flickery Bill shows up and starts beating the tar out of Burton. In the process, they knock over and bust the Sextant Clock Globe Baby, and the sound rushes in.
Tess (Lizzie Brocheré), who has tracked The Boy to this apartment building in her dreams, is in the corridor when she hears The Boy cry out. She’s been there before in her dreams, following the sound of his voice, but this time she can’t hear him — until the Thing breaks.
Back in the room, Flickery Bill advances on Burton, but the boy steps in, standing between a fallen Burton and Bill. The Boy lifts his arms out straight from his sides in what appears to be a protective motion and Bill stops flickering.
Bill gets a very serious look on his face, locks eyes with The Boy, and the corners of his mouth twitch upward in a half-smile: For all the world like a half-smile of confirmation. Bill has just learned something, but what did he learn?
Our best guess is The Boy is a shield of some kind, kind of like Bella in “Twilight.” (“Twilight,” if you haven’t heard of it, is a series of books about kissing and also about bending over backwards in every possible way you can to excuse spousal abuse.) Bill can’t hurt Burton if the boy gets between them, putting The Boy in a long line of Messianic roles on television, and in literature — just like Bella’s daughter in “Twilight,” who if you haven’t heard of her is named the perfectly normal name Renesmee — and which in turn would make all of Bill’s actions extremely suspect.
But when Burton jumps out the window and wakes up with The Boy in a patch of wildflowers, it’s not Bill that this week’s narrator begins to apparently critique… It’s Burton.
“The true hero can’t know that they did right; only that they did. So beware those convinced of their own rectitude. It’s only with the distance of generations that we can know the truly righteous,” she says.
So just how dangerous is this kid, anyway? Only one more episode left in the season to find out.
“Falling Water” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.