When soldiers returned home from Vietnam, many found themselves out of place. They weren’t entirely welcomed back with open arms. Many of these soldiers who fought in our country’s war had trouble finding work and their place in society which was once their home. Quarry tells the story of one such soldier and the work that he is trapped into doing.
The Show: 3/5
In Quarry, we get to know Mac Conway. Mac Conway was a Marine in the Vietnam War. As we learn in the show, he found himself amidst terrible events that leave him ashamed and haunted. He also comes home to find things much different from what he left. He can’t find work as a swim coach like he had before the war. His relationship with his wife has become strained since he chose to enlist for a second tour. And on top of all of it, he simply cannot find his Otis Redding vinyl. Life truly has been turned upside down for Mac.
It isn’t long until Mac meets the mysterious “Broker”. The Broker wants to hire Mac for some work. This work commands a rather hefty rate: a couple thousand per gig. It just so happens that these jobs happen to include killing people. Something that Mac has proven himself somewhat proficient at, but wants nothing to do with now that he is back home.
Unfortunately, the Broker convinces his best friend to work for him and take on the jobs that would have been Mac’s. As a result once his friend is unable to make good on the contract and fulfill the terms of his advance, the Broker holds Mac responsible. As such, Mac finds himself working off this debt one assignment at a time. During the course of the season, we see Mac grow more comfortable in this arrangement and in the rest of his life overall. Additionally, we get to learn more about Mac’s history and how it intertwines with the Broker.
I did rather enjoy the setting of the show in Memphis after the war. I also enjoyed many of the characters. Also I felt like the show did a good job of focusing on Mac while also keeping us up to date on the life of Arthur’s family. Probably the strongest part of Quarry’s first season is in the performance of Mac and the Broker. Both of them delivered strong performances and their interactions with each other and others elevated many episodes.
I believe Quarry also did a good job of letting scenes rest on moments and not rushing things. One of the best examples of this is at the end of the first episode. Mac’s wife wakes up to a song that hints at a secret uncovered. She comes out to the pool where she finds Mac swimming. He stops for a moment and locks eyes with her. The look that they share is the highlight of the episode with the same song playing in the background. Quarry lets this scene rest on the look without rushing it or forcing dialog into the scene.
Now that isn’t to say that there aren’t some negatives to the show. I found the action to be relatively lacking through most of the show. Only a time or two in the season did I really feel like the action held up to the rest of the show. Often times, it really just felt like those moments only exist to drive other parts of the story.
Additionally, the characters aren’t likeable and the story isn’t strong enough. And while unlikeable characters work in some shows like Breaking Bad, those in Quarry are nowhere near as engaging. I don’t expect to see as many layers or intrigue in this show as it progresses. As it is, these negatives really drag the show down for me. I enjoyed watching it once, but I don’t see myself ever putting this in for a second watch. Beyond that, this isn’t going to become a show that everyone says you need to see. Not bad, but not essential.
While I can’t think of any time where Quarry fails to deliver, it also does not impress especially. All scenes are pretty clear even in the dark. Everything looks good even with the dingy settings and colored filters applied. There is just nothing that blows the viewer away.
Unfortunately, there were several points where I had to refer to the subtitles because dialog was unclear. I understand that Mac’s character is supposed to display a Memphis accent, but the frequent mumbling requires a bit more audio fidelity to offset it. On the other hand, music in the show always sounded fantastic. And the track did well in presenting the action from scene to scene.
Special Features and Packaging: 4.5/5
Audio Commentaries: Episode 1 with Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller (Writers). Episode 4 with Jodi Balfour (Joni) and Greg Yaitanes (Director). Episode 8 with Greg Yaitanes, Kevin Koster (Assistant Director), Allen Marshall Palmer (Co-Producer), Patia Prouty (Costume Designer), Richard Burden (Stunt Coordinator), PJ Bloom (Music Supervisor).
Inside Quarry: Short featurettes for each of the episodes on each respective disc.
Car Chase Picture in Picture: Quick PiP behind the scenes on the car chase.
Behind the Scenes: Featurettes on creating the show and its setting as well as the music.
Music Videos: Musical sequences taken from episodes through the show
Love Letters: Audio letters between Mac and Jodi during his Mac’s deployment.
Quan Thang Inquiry Scenes: Interview footages with Mac’s company concerning the investigation in the village incident from Mac’s deployment.
Cinemax provides Quarry with quite a lot of material, especially for a show that I haven’t heard a ton of buzz about. The music videos don’t interest me, but really is a pretty cool inclusion. The military investigation is a pretty interesting piece that really enhances the backstory of the show. The commentaries are fairly interesting and informational as well. The additional and deleted scenes are pretty uninteresting to be honest. The behind the scenes featurettes are pretty enjoyable, but do feature a bit of overlap when consuming all of them.
The packaging is a bit less impressive as we just get a standard 3 disc case with a slipcover that matches the cover art.
Really, Quarry isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t rate against much of the competition. The audio doesn’t deliver what is necessary in this show. The Video looks good and so are the extras. But the problem is just the show. I’ll never have an itch to see it again. I don’t know if I really care about the second season. I’m interested in getting answers to what the end of the season put out there, but maybe reading Wikipedia is good enough. The performances are good, but I just don’t care much about the characters. The show isn’t bad, but it isn’t truly memorable. I recommend this only as a rent. Or catch it when your provider has a free Cinemax preview weekend. I find it lacking.
If you want to give it a go, you can do so here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.