Low Winter Sun Season 1 Review “Ann Arbor; Surrender”

Low Winter Sun Episode 9 & 10 Ann Arbor;Surrender (1)

And so ends the first season of Low Winter Sun. In the two part finale “Ann Arbor; Surrender,” the investigation into McCann’s murder finally came to a close, as did Damon’s battle with Skelos. Unfortunately, while there were few plot threads left dangling, there was also very little in the way of satisfying plot development as well.

Though they were aired in a two-hour block, these were definitely two separate episodes, with the first hour dedicated entirely to the crumbling mental health of Agnew. Early in the episode, I was wondering if Agnew’s behavior was too over-the-top, particularly when he blew up in the bank scene. However, as things went forward, it became clear that Agnew might just be certifiably insane. In fact, when he visited his ex-wife’s house, there was a moment where I thought she could instead be his former therapist.

I feel as if this was supposed to be a big reveal, that Agnew had a history of mental health issues, but it just felt extremely random. It was an hour watching him resolve himself to losing Katia and preparing to turn himself in. Of course, this all led nowhere, as the first hour ended with Sean confessing to the murder using Agnew’s notes on the case.

If nothing else, I can give Mark Strong praise for his performance in “Ann Arbor.” He captured the essence of a man going off the deep end, to the point that I was wondering if he might actually pull the trigger on himself, if only for a second. The episode’s content may have come out of left field, but Strong worked well with the script he was given. The blood damage in his eye was also a nice touch, helping up the sense that he no longer cared what happened to him.

As “Surrender” got started, however, Agnew managed to pull himself together and act like a rational human being again, though not a consistent one. At first, he had no intention of letting Sean take the fall. Then, he just changes his mind, without any kind of legitimate reason from Sean. I suppose it’s possible that he saw the futility in trying, with the whole department willing to see Sean take the fall, but there was a lot left unsaid in this final hour.

In the end, despite Boyd’s best efforts, the DA was also glad to see the murder pinned on Sean. This led to another great scene, in which Boyd went off the deep end and started slamming his laptop into the conference room table. A well-acted scene doesn’t excuse the depressing end for the character. All he was doing was trying to find the truth, and instead corruption won out.

At least Damon’s death provided some satisfaction. I’ve noted in just about every episode just how incompetent a criminal Damon is, so it made sense that he would ultimately just be a pawn in a larger plot to kill Skelos and weaken a rival gang’s control of Detroit. Unfortunately, even this conclusion was poorly done, as the gang leader responsible for Damon’s death has barely had a presence in the show. It seems he would have a larger role if the show gets picked up for a second season, but as it is, the entire Damon plot running through this season has been proven as pointless as it always felt.

Overall, Low Winter Sun failed to live up to the promise of its early episodes. Instead of watching Agnew and Geddes participate in a tense game of cat-and-mouse, they were ultimately saved by convenient confessions and office politics. They didn’t earn their victory, instead coming across as two killers that lucked their way out of paying for their crime. Given how well the show started, it’s a shame it ended on such a disappointing note.

What did you think of the Low Winter Sun finale? Let me know in the comments!