Harrow: S02.E05. “Ab Initio”

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Screen Capture: Robyn Malcolm as Maxine Pavich in in the Grant Brown directed Harror episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: Robyn Malcolm as Maxine Pavich in in the Grant Brown directed Harror episode “Ab Initio.”



The latest episode of the Australian drama series, Harrow, hit television screens Sunday, 9 June 2019. Directed by Grant Brown, “Ab Initio” picks up immediately after the events depicted in the closing scenes of the previous episode. For people not familiar with Latin, the title of this episode means ‘from the beginning.’

“Harrow” promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb

Bad World

Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

In the opening scene, there is a body floating in the Brisbane River. There is only one person the body can be. It’s Simon Van Reyk (Remy Hii). At the end of the previous episode, “Aegri Somnia,” Simon could be seen calling Dr Daniel Harrow (Ioan Gruffudd) but his call went to voicemail.

Harrow’s cell phone battery was dead. The forensic pathologist had forgotten to take his cell phone charger with him when he and Dr Grace Molyneux (Jolene Anderson) were sent to investigate a possible shark attack in North Queensland.

The last time we saw Simon alive, he was standing face to face with Francis Chester (Grant Bowler) on one of Brisbane’s ferries. Simon, one of the drama’s main characters, is a forensic pathologist who’s not only Harrow’s assistant but also his protégé.

It’s a Wonderful Morning for a little Tai Chi

Screen Capture: Darren Gilshenan as Dr Lyle Fairly in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: Darren Gilshenan as Dr Lyle Fairly in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

Dr Lyle Fairly (Darren Gilshenan) likes his privacy. Interestingly, the only takeaway coffee place in the entire city where there happens to be across from where Harrow’s colleague does his morning tai chi. It is possibly not a coincidence Harrow is there. Because he has more than a professional interest in Grace, Harrow wants to know why it is Fairly never thought to mention he has a niece.

Screen Capture: Remy Hii as Simon Van Reyk in in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: Remy Hii as Simon Van Reyk in in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

The episode pre-opening title sequence closes with both of the senior forensic pathologists receiving a notification from Maxine Pavich (Robyn Malcolm) to meet Detective Bryan Nichols (Damien Garvey) at Gateway Bridge. On their arrival at the scene, Nichols tells the two men to prepare themselves for bad news.

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Screen Capture: Damien Garvey, Ioan Gruffudd and Darren Gilshenan as Bryan Nichols, Dr Daniel Harrow and Dr Lyle Fairly, respectively, in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

When they realise the dead body is Simon, their facial expressions are more reflective of anger than they are of grief. In the first season finale, Harrow himself was shot. Because of certain inconsistencies with the case, even though the case had officially been put to bed by both the local police and the pathology unit in which he worked, Simon continued to investigate the shooting.

What was Simon doing on a Ferry?

Harrow questions why Simon was on a ferry. After explaining to Nichols, he got home from Port Astor last night, the pathologist realises there is a message on his phone from Simon. Simon tried to call Harrow around 8 pm. In the message, Simon said that there was something important he had to discuss with Harrow, but he did not specify what it was.

Simon’s sister, Karina Van Reyk (Sarah Thamin), visited QIFM. Karina asked if Simon’s death was a result of his epilepsy. Harrow was unaware Simon had a sister. Further, the senior pathologist did not know of Simon’s epilepsy. Simon, according to his sister, was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child. Maxine knew of Simon’s condition but, because of hospital guidelines, did not share this information with other people working alongside the now late forensic pathologist.

A New Case for Harrow

Harrow is sent to investigate an apparent accidental electrocution. When Harrow arrives at the residence, Turua Parata (Emily Havea) from police forensics is working the scene.

Screen Capture: Brad McMurray as Ross Moran in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: Brad McMurray as Ross Moran in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

Ross Moran (Anthony Standish), in and out of the Australian correctional system his entire life, was apparently listening to the radio while he was taking a bath. It is suggested the radio fell into the water and subsequently electrocuted Moran.

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Screen Capture: Emily Havea, Ioan Gruffudd and Brad McMurray as Turua Parata, Dr Daniel Harrow and Ross Moran, respectively, in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

A newspaper open to the Form Guide page indicates Moran may have been listening to a horse race at the time of his death. Immediately situated next to the newspaper is an open can, possibly beer. The removable can sleeve on the can reads ‘The Gunner’s Daughter.’ What is ‘The Gunner’s Daughter’ a reference to? Could it have any significance to the case?

After running the prints, except for a smudge, all the prints in the bathroom are those of Moran. That smudge could be from a latex glove, Harrow suggests. Since Moran was a gambler, Harrow indicates a good place to begin the investigation would be with the people he owed money.

At the Track

Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

What is Fern Harrow (Ella Newton) doing at the track? Her interest in a certain gambler, Tim Markides (Anthony Standish), is most strange. Is there any possibility Fern is at the racetrack because she is still trying to determine where the drugs came from? In a previous episode, “Abo Imo Pectore,” Fern was arrested for possession with intent to illegally distribute drugs.

Completing the Autopsy

As Grace finishes up Simon’s autopsy, Harrow questions whether his death could have been anything other than accidental. From the preliminary autopsy results, Grace tells Harrow the finding is death by drowning.

Simon’s death is having a deep emotional impact with everyone at QIFM. This is especially true for Lyle. Lyle has been working on dead bodies most of his working career, but it is significantly different when it is someone you are personally familiar with. Lyle is having difficulty with accepting Simon’s death. The last thing he said to Simon was “get back to work unless you’re ill.”

Grace is taking it personally that Harrow wants to investigate Simon’s death further. Even though Harrow is not questioning Grace’s findings, he merely wants to know what it was that brought Simon to board a ferry. Simon hated boats.

The Gunner’s Daughter

Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: A scene from the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

When Harrow goes looking for clues as to why Simon took a ferry to Duralong Point, the forensic pathologist discovers The Gunner’s Daughter is a pub. When the barmaid, Anita (Edwina Bishop), looks at Simon’s picture, even though she said she does not recognise him, there was something hidden within her expression that suggests that was not entirely true. After Harrow tells Anita of Moran’s death, she becomes a tad more forthcoming about Simon having been in the pub the previous night.

Is Harrow’s accidental electrocution death related to what happened to Simon? When Simon was at the pub, he and Moran had more than just a conversation. Words apparently turned into a fight.

Are the Two Case’s Connected?

Harrow believes the deaths of both Simon and Moran are somehow linked, but he does not have any evidence to support his theories. When Nichols asks Harrow about his own shooting, the forensic pathologist confirms he does not believe Brendan Skene (Erroll Shand) shot him. The person Harrow believes is responsible for everything that has transpired since his shooting is Francis Chester but unfortunately, he is inconveniently dead.

Skene knew Moran when they both were in prison together. Because Skene was dyslexic, Moran wrote all of Skene’s letters to his wife. For some reason, when Simon discovered this connection, he immediately went to Duralong Point. But after careful review of the letters, Harrow finds that there were letters not in Moran’s handwriting. Someone else must have written those letters for Skene.

Dream Sequence

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Screen Capture: Ioan Gruffudd and Remy Hii as Dr Daniel Harrow and Simon Van Reyk, respectively, in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

Harrow dreams of Simon. It is not until an image of Harrow’s car pops into his mind that he realises what he is experiencing is a dream. This is the care Chester burned. The car was important to Harrow because it had previously belonged to his father.

Looking for Moran

Markides is looking for Moran. He is unaware Moran is dead. Fern continues to watch Markides. It is surprising Markides has yet to see Fern following him from place to place. Even though Markides has yet not noticed Fern, someone else as noticed her presence. When at Moran’s apartment, Fern sees a framed photograph on the wall of Moran and Markides.

What is Maxine Pavich doing?

Screen Capture: Robyn Malcolm as Maxine Pavich in in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”
Screen Capture: Robyn Malcolm as Maxine Pavich in in the Grant Brown directed Harrow episode “Ab Initio.”

Pavich removed slides from the QIFM and destroyed them. What is she doing? Is she trying to protect Harrow from himself because she does not believe Chester is still alive? Even though a man resembling Chester works at the same restaurant as Callan Prowd (Hunter Page-Lochard), there is no evidence showing the real Chester is alive. Will the real Chester please stand up?