The Gloaming Season 1, Episode 1 recap: The Dying of the Light

The Gloaming Season 1 - Courtesy of Starz/Bradley Patrick
The Gloaming Season 1 - Courtesy of Starz/Bradley Patrick /

The Gloaming is the latest Starz import and another series that follows along with their recent #TakeTheLead initiative as it was created and written by a woman, Victoria Madden. An Australian murder mystery with supernatural elements, The Gloaming Episode 1 introduces a fascinating central mystery and complex characters each with an abundance of secrets.

An older, unidentified woman is found brutally murdered near a waterfall in a small Tasmania town where things like that don’t happen. As if the woman’s grisly death isn’t disturbing enough, her body is wrapped in barbed wire with a mysterious wooden instrument shoved into her hand. Also discovered at the crime scene is the student ID for a teen girl named Jenny McGinty who died 20 years earlier, in 1999.

Jenny’s death plays out the opening of The Gloaming Episode 1. Two decades prior, young Jenny (Milly Alcock) takes her friend, a teenaged Alex O’Connell (Finn Ireland) through the woods to a creepy, seemingly abandoned manor. But unfortunately for the teens, the building isn’t as empty as they’d hoped. A man confronts them with a gun and shoots Jenny.

In the present, Alex (Ewen Leslie) is now a full-grown homicide detective based in Melbourne. He’s assigned to the mysterious new murder case in his hometown despite, or perhaps because of, his ties to Jenny.

Alex resents being forced back to the town. He’s still traumatized by what he witnessed in 1999, even his hands start shaking every time he starts to remember. Adding to Alex’s discomfort is his partner on the case Detective Molly McGee (Emma Booth). Molly and Alex were once romantic, and both are shaken by the other’s assignation to this case. Molly seems to know what happened between Alex and Jenny all those years ago, as she carefully breaks the news of Jenny’s ID being discovered at the scene.

Molly is an eclectic detective with a steel-trap memory who might be obsessed with cunning businessman Gareth McAvaney (Martin Henderson). When we first meet Molly, she’s seen breaking into his lavish waterfront digs just to carefully readjust a few items in his meticulous setup and even steal at least one item.

Later we learn that Molly has a young daughter named Lily (Josephine Blazier), who primarily lives with her dad, Toby (Ditch Davey), and his new wife Angela (Lisa Gormley). Apart from Lily, Molly also keeps tabs on a foster teen and recovering addict named Daisy (Markella Kavenagh).

The Gloaming
The Gloaming Season 1 – Courtesy of Starz/Bradley Patrick /

The Gloaming Season 1, Episode 1 recap: What did Daisy witness?

Daisy witnessed something traumatic with another guy around her age named Freddie (Matt Testro). We see brief, hazy flashbacks but it’s hard to discern what exactly Daisy saw that left her so rattled. It appears she might have seen Freddie kill the murdered woman, who we learn is named Dorothy Moxley. This is further substantiated later when Freddie’s mother, a local fish and chips shop owner named Shelly (Nell Feeney), finds a reel of barbed wire in their garage.

Whatever Daisy saw, she tries to talk to Molly about it at the police station, but Molly is too busy with the case to chat. When she tries to find Daisy again later to find out what happened, Daisy is nowhere to be found.

It’s not until the final seconds of the episode that Molly finds her — hanging in her backyard shed, seemingly the result of suicide.

As you can see, The Gloaming Episode 1 packs a lot into one hour, and that’s not even touching on the creepy dance teacher Grace (Rena Owen) and her connection to Gareth, or the supernatural elements. When Dorothy’s name is released by the media, it shocks Grace, Gareth and Freddie. And speaking of Freddie, he’s obsessed with Lily — who is secretly (I assume) a cam girl. Freddie regularly watches Lily’s online performances.

As for the supernatural happenings, there’s a lot of freaky stuff happening around Freddie. It’s hard to go into detail about some of the things that happen in this first hour because The Gloaming maintains a surreal, murky quality throughout that blurs the line between fantasy and reality. I imagine it will become easier to find out the truth as the season unfolds.

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What did you think about The Gloaming Season 1, Episode 1? Will you keep watching? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

New episodes of The Gloaming air Sunday nights on Starz.