When Melissa George was first offered the role of Margot Fox — the long-suffering yet steely and determined wife and mother in Apple’s drama The Mosquito Coast — it was the kind of invitation that briefly gave her pause. “If you’re game to play Margot …” she was told, in such a way that made her wonder, wait, hold on … what am I getting myself into here?
That is to say, it wasn’t readily apparent to her the extent to which This is the showThe 10-episode second season of ‘The Foxes’ premiered on Apple TV Plus. It was filmed on location in Mexico’s harsh jungles and small towns. Nor the hardcore nature of the narrative, which sees the Foxes (Melissa’s Margot, plus Justin Theroux’s Allie, along with their two kids) living off the grid and on the run, dodging a cartel, US federal agents, and much more.
The Mosquito CoastApple TV Plus
Nevertheless, there it was — the offer to George: “This’ll be a very hard journey. A very hard role.”
She didn’t say no — for reasons that actually make this show a little difficult to write about. That’s because The Mosquito CoastIt is actually a drama about a cartel within a family on the run story that is wrapped in turn in a basic fish–out-of–water narrative. That multi-layered dynamic holds true for both the characters and the wider world of the show (Episode 2) Least Concern Species, just hit Apple’s streamer on Friday).
“With this woman, it was one of the most colorful, misplaced yet perfectly put-together characters of not just one thing but so many things,”George spoke to me about Margot’s character. There are no spoilers, by the way. But Episode 1 (titled) contains all of her information. The Damage Caused) there’s a huge reveal by way of a flashback that will change a good bit of what you thought you knew about the show during its inaugural season.
Apple TV has never missed any of my shows. Ptolemy Grey was a great show. Next, s2 of The Mosquito Coast.
— Pyrex (@iLikeIke_) November 10, 2022
George also adds some thoughts about the Foxes themselves: “It’s a dysfunctional family on the run. You see most family dramas, but this is not The Brady Bunch … this is so dysfunctional. Also, you’re seeing a show from the male perspective, the female perspective, and the adolescent perspective from the male and female sides. That is fascinating to me.”
‘You can bet something bigger’s coming’
The major narrative arc of Season 1 saw the Foxes make a mad dash to the border. Allie, a brilliant inventor, is pursued by shadowy government agents for an unspecified reason. This leads him to pack his family and leave Dodge.
Throughout the entirety of the season — which critics and fans largely seemed to be unable to make heads or tails of, based on the Rotten Tomatoes scores — the Foxes, with a nonplussed Margot in tow, sneak their way into Mexico. The Foxes spend the whole season trying to figure how to survive, and not being killed by cartel goons.
Season 2 subsequently does a curious thing, which George told me was a function of episodes getting moved around as opposed to a calculated decision on the writer’s part. In the new season premiere, we learn that it’s … a thing that Margot has done in her past which seems to have driven everything that happened to the family. This revelation is so big that it reminds of a warning one of the federal agents gave to his superiors about the fugitive Fox family Fox at one point in this season.
“You can bet something bigger’s coming,”He also warns of the potential involvement of Foxes. “Something big, and something noisy.”
“What I loved is if you look back — if you get through Season 2 and then look back at Season 1, you see (Margot) in these librarian glasses and that she’s a very loving mom. And then … you see how fast she packed those kids’ bags, and got into the car like a ninja. And you start to see — oh, wow, she’s a really good driver. Oh, wow, she’s severe. Oh, wow, she can get them out of that situation — how come? That’s what I loved about the role.”
As the family travels down a river through the jungle, Margot informs Allie, ominously, about the children. “We need to tell them the truth.”
What the kids didn’t know at that point — and what you and I didn’t either — is that Allie had created a computer program that could make sense of and derive patterns out of huge data sets. Useful for everything from predicting climate and weather patterns to … well, whatever else a shady government agency that wants to get its hands on that software could think of.
Margot, meanwhile, is an environment activist who’s not afraid to, shall we say, flirt with the dark side. Needless to say, there’s a lot of truth they kept hidden — both from the kids, and from us.
I have now watched Season 2 and the entirety of Seaosn 1. The Mosquito CoastContains elements from shows like LostAnd a Narcos-style cartel drama, though it doesn’t commit fully to a single approach or a single genre. Some critics find the result scattershot and confusing. As for myself, the storylines involving, for example, the teenaged Fox children aren’t as interesting this time around and slow things down a bit. These stories seem to be evidence that the show is eating more than it can eat, according to critics.
Nevertheless, The Mosquito CoastIt has too many things going for it not to be so easily dismissive. Ian Hart’s cartel enforcer with a Southern accent is malevolence personified. Theroux completely surrenders himself to the role of the perpetually ballcap-clad Allie — and, similarly, George is not playing a role here. She IsMargot Fox for better or worse. The show’s visual are sumptuous, the soundtrack is sublime, and while the narrative might be a bit weak in places it’s certainly no fault of the actors who all turn in fine performances. Don’t think about it too much, just let the show take you away and it’ll do the job.
More Apple TV news: The 4 must-watch Apple TV Plus movies of November 2022