Review: ‘Home Before Dark’ Season 1 Episode 1

Home Before Dark Season 1

Apple TV+ brings ‘Home Before Dark,’ a murder investigation drama headed by one of the youngest child detectives we have ever seen. This fictional drama borrows its inspiration from Hilde Kate Lysiak, who made a breakthrough in journalism when she was just nine years old.  This investigation series brings to the front Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) who follows up on what she thinks is a possible murder case based on her journalistic intuition, which she solidifies through facts. SPOILERS AHEAD.

‘Home Before Dark’ Episode 1 Recap

The first episode begins with an introduction given by Hilde about her life-long long obsession with journalism that started with her father, Matt (Jim Sturgess), who recently got fired from the NewYork Sentinel. The family packs up as a result and goes to Erie Harbour, where Matt grew up. They settle into Matt’s dad’s house, and some kind of nostalgia begins to bother Matt the minute he is there.

Hilde’s instincts kick in when she notices a yard sale without customers, and two boards in front of a house that says, “Re-elect Frank Briggs Sheriff,” and “Re-elect Jack Fife Mayor.” Later, during the day, she pays a visit to the yard sale to investigate and get acquainted with Penny Gillis, who is later found dead that night. Regardless of Hilde’s persistent questions, the Sheriff tells her that it was just an accident. Nonetheless, Hilde picks up some clues and publishes an article about her findings. Matt drowns further into reprieve upon receiving his old bike from Gillis. He also tries to dissuade Hilde’s claims that Gillis’s death is not an accident.

In school, Hilde receives much criticism for the articles she writes. Hilde’s mom defends her actions to Principal Collins. In an attempt to find out more details of the murder, she befriends a lady police officer who helps her out by letting her go through the case files. They form a pact. Hilde finds out that the VCR player from the yard sale is missing in the evidence photos. She puts two and two together to find out that Principle Collin’s shoe print matches the one on the crime scene. Soon enough, through snooping around, Hilde finds the VCR tucked in the back of a wardrobe in Principal Collin’s office. Hilde and her sister watch the tape in the VCR payer as their father is now almost distraught with the memory of his past. As a result of what she sees, Hilde decides to solve this murder at any cost.

‘Home Before Dark’ Episode 1: Review

The protagonist, Hilde, has a knack for observing people, events, and objects. Her photographic memory helps her make significant associations between things that seem irrelevant to regular folks. She knows that the VCR player went missing because she found it quite peculiar at the yard sale. She is also able to piece together that the footprint found at the crime scene matches uncannily with that of Principal Collins. Principle Collin’s presence at Penny Gillis’s place the night she was found dead is sealed when Hilde finds the VCR player in her office cupboard locked away.

The VCR tape in the machine reveals that her father was present when the Mayor’s son, Richie Fife, got abducted many years ago. They were all kids at the time. The culprit who was arrested in lieu of Richie’s murder was Penny Gillis’s brother. Hilde finally begins to see the many reasons that might have lead to there being enough motive to murder Gillis. As an investigative drama goes, there are many clues that are not necessarily picked up by the protagonist but the viewers. On that note of dramatic irony, the audience may also be able to trace the link between Sheriff Briggs and Mayor Fife (Richie’s father) and the timing of their re-election. This fact is made known if one observes the many objects in the frames Hilde notices. In addition, also how apart from a lady officer who is relatively new to the town, nobody is willing to entertain the notion that Penny Gillis was perhaps murdered. 

The second episode could provide more details as to how Principal Collins is related to this issue and if Matt will finally find the courage to step forward and work towards uncovering the truth of what happened many years ago.

‘Home Before Dark’ Episode 1 Ending Explained

The last moments of the first episode show Hilde riding her father’s childhood bike set out to uncover the truth of what happened. Her father finally gives her the encouragement she needed from him. He gives her the additional tool of a camera so that she can capture pictures of whatever she deems important that will further aid as evidence. The similarity between Hilde and a young Matt is shown in shifting frames to make the viewers understand that she is indeed her father’s daughter on a quest for truth.

As for Matt, he is finally able to go to the location where his friend Richie got abducted. The bridge which was under construction then and which now lies in perfect serenity may finally bring forth some more insights as to what is really going on in Erie Harbour.

Read More: Is ‘Home Before Dark’ Based on a True Story