Why YouTube's Wayne Season 1 Episode 5 is probably the best TV you will see this year
Wayne, the YouTube Original series, is one of the best shows out there, but for some reason has flown so far under the radar it's well on its way to becoming an underground classic
YouTube Originals made its mark last year with 'Cobra Kai', the acclaimed follow-up to the seminal 1984 film 'Karate Kid'. But this year, while all eyes have been on Netflix, Showtime, HBO, NBC, etc, YouTube has delivered arguably the show of the year, so why the hell is no one talking about it?
'Wayne' follows its eponymous hero (played superbly by Mark McKenna) as he travels on punk rock-fuelled road trip from Massachusetts to Florida to take back his father's car, 'stolen' by his mother and her boyfriend when Wayne was a young boy.
In tow is the 15-year-old object of his affections, Del. On the way there's violence, loons, sociopaths, and a never-ending yearning, on Wayne's part, to do the right thing. This is a morality tale where knocking the teeth out of a bully with a trumpet is considered a "cry for help", and burning one's dead father in his home an act of kindness.
'Wayne' is splattered with bizarre characters who would be more at home in an asylum than walking the streets, in fact the motley troupe personify the saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They mean well, it's just that they're really bad at expressing it.
While the series does focus on Wayne as he navigates the choppy waters of chainsaws, broken teeth, and hands nailed to vans, the episode in question here doesn't feature him at all. It's about Del (Ciara Bravo). At first glance you could be excused for thinking Del's quiet demeanour signals a timid nature, but over the course of the series she proves herself to be every bit as volatile and violent as Wayne.
Episode 5, in essence, is Del's Origins Story. What happened to the book-loving insecure girl, hoping to be class president that turned her into a foul-mouthed cynic with a penchant for cutting snakes in half with the sharp end of a shovel? Her mother did, or rather it's what her mother didn't do...live.
Del's relationship with her mother, whom she adores, is central to the build-up to eruption. The catalyst that would spark a change so fierce as to make the episode's 'Carrie' moment not only apt, but seem perfectly normal.
But while Bravo is the true star of the episode, her father (simply known as Daddy and played by the sensational Dean Winters) is the revelation. Up until that point he's painted out to be a yob; a bonehead father to two equally boneheaded sons. But in episode 5 the thick ne'er-do-well slime that coats him sloughs off, to lay bare a man who loves his wife and daughter to distraction. A man coming to terms with loss and his own failings as a father and husband. Winters excels as Daddy-in-Despair, turning perception on its head and making the remaining 5 episodes and exercise in loathing-restraint.
And that's the beauty of 'Wayne'. There are no heroes, there are no stars, there are only lumps of rock burning up in life. But every one of the characters is a mirror of such clarity that even the over-the-top violence and outrageous plot seem to fit right into the bloody montage.
'Wayne' maybe the YouTube stone that sinks without a trace, but trust us, if there's only one episode of TV you plan on watching in 2019, then this is it.