After Black Summer delivered its best episode across both seasons, Episode 5, White Horse hits the brakes. Maybe John Hyams was worried audiences forgot about mystery “soldier” Spears. So White Horse abandons Rose, Anna, and the ‘Manor’ to get us caught up with our last remaining original character from Season 1. Recall from Prelude that Spears – shot by Officer Ray’s militia – was wandering through a snowy landscape with an unknown figure following from a distance. Now White Horse finds Spears out of the snow while pulling the curtain on his mystery friend.
Meet Introduces Audiences To Spears’ Friend
At the start of White Horse, hunger and an infected gunshot wound has reduced Spears to scrounging for crumbs from a chip bag. A passing truck sends Spears into the woods to hide. But once it passes he takes bag to the stretch of isolated road. And then White Horse finally introduces Spears’ mystery tracker from Prelude – a man named Braithwaite. Though he’s rather talkative, Braithwaite turns out to be friendly, offering Spears some water. Still Spears needs more coaxing to agree to double-up with Braithwaite and walk the road together. It also doesn’t help that Braithwaite insists that he knows Spears. When Braithwaite calls him, “Jamie”, Spears looks visibly uncomfortable.
Pale Horse Finds a Shared History Between The Two Men
Eventually Spears and Braithwaite abandon the road for the secrecy offered by the woods. A passing stranger on a horse sends them crouching to the ground, but Braithwaite lets him ride by rather than shoot. As they continue along a woody path, they stumble across a zombie pinned under a tree. After Spears kills it with a rock, Braithwaite finally offers him a gun and some alcohol. Now with night falling the two men start a fire and set up camp, Braithwaite reminisces about “bygone’s” before admitting he knows Spears – ‘Big’ James’ little brother. This time Spears doesn’t deny it. Things get momentarily tense before the alcohol swings the mood. Yet it doesn’t swing the mood enough for Spears to trust Braithwaite enough to let him check his gunshot wound.
…Braithwaite reminisces about “bygones” before admitting he knows Spears …
Exchange Rates Finds Trouble in the Woods
As the rains picks up, Braithwaite wakes up Spears — their mystery horse rider is back. And this time so are zombies. Maybe Spears is starting to trust Braithwaite because stops running to save him. Too bad Braithwaite loses his gun in the process. Their luck changes, however, when they find a cabin at the end of the trail. Or at least their luck somewhat improves. Inside the dilapidated cabin, Spears and Braithwaite fine the walls covered in writing referring to an ascension. Above the two men, blood drips from a second-floor loft. When they go upstairs, they find several dead bodies all in the same yellow Sitting in the middle of the room, a very much alive man hands Spears a gun and says he ‘has been waiting for him. The man thanks him before Spears shoots him in the head.
White Horse Lets Bygones Be Bygones in Little Man
In its closing scene, White Summer finally tells us a little more about Spears, or ‘Little James’. Sort of. As the two men stand at the end of a dock the next morning, Spears finally remembers Braithwaite. It turns out the two men grew up in the same neighourbood. And Spears shot Braithwaite twice in the back, leaving him for dead. But Braithwaite quietly remarks that he isn’t a vengeful man, hence his earlier reference to ‘bygones’. Before Spears can say anything else, the same pale horse – now without a rider – walks past the men along the riverbank. A tear rolls down Braithwaite’s cheek while he walks away. Spears points his gun at the man’s back but chooses to let Braithwaite go.
And Spears shot Braithwaite twice in the back, leaving him for dead.
White Horse Slows Black Summer To Get Contemplative
After a couple of tense, action-packed episodes, White Horse slows things down for more character-driven storytelling. Given this is one of the first times Black Summer has been more character-centric, it’s odd that the episode opts to run longer than previous episodes. Certainly, the episode feels a little aimless in its middle sections. Audiences may occasionally get bored. So Black Summer again struggles to balance action and storytelling. Nevertheless, White Horse packs a lot into its final 10 minutes or so – tense action, creepy horror elements, and powerful character reveal. That final scene on the dock is emotionally weighty and shows Black Summer’s potential. It’s a also a reminder that Spears is arguably still the show’s most interesting character.