The Kettering Incident is a mishmash of a mystery. The Australian TV series, currently streaming on Amazon Prime, is loaded with supernatural elements and strange events. It’s a big budget production, set in a dramatic, lush landscape. As well made as the show is, it’s also intentionally hard to decipher. We were intrigued from the beginning and continued to watch, but some viewers may get frustrated after the first few episodes when it feels like questions are not being answered.
A theme of isolation runs throughout the series. Tasmania is a remote location, an island off the south coast of Australia. The town we see is small and rural; everyone knows everyone else and many people never leave. As in TV series such as Top of the Lake and Hinterland, the residents don’t like outsiders prying into local secrets.
Anna Macy (Elizabeth Debicki) is a doctor living in London. She was present during the strange disappearance of a young girl, her close friend, many years ago in Kettering, Tasmania. The incident rocked and split the community, and when Anna inexplicably finds herself back at home, she is not particularly welcome. A young environmentalist, Chloe – one of the “greenies” that are protesting local loggers – befriends Anna, but things do not go well. The mystery from years ago is all too present.
Reviews of The Kettering Incident typically mention Twin Peaks. It’s a valid comparison. The Tasmanian landscape and presence of the logging industry bring to mind the Pacific northwest. The eccentric characters and hallucinatory incidents have a David Lynch influence. There is a stronger sci-fi element at play here, though. A lone scientist is investigating strange phenomenon in the area, possibly tying together events that span years and continents. Lights and noises appear that may be from UFOs. A twin moon is present in later episodes, but no one seems to think it unusual.
Some of these things may be side plots that have no relevance. It’s hard to know how much weight to give to the various elements of the story in The Kettering Incident. As the story unfolds, we also wonder who is on whose side. Motivations are unclear, and there are some strange alliances. It’s all part of the mystery.
The Kettering Incident was created by Victoria Madden and Vincent Sheehan and first aired on Australia’s Foxtel network in July, 2016. There are eight episodes, each about 50 minutes. It is now carried by BBC Worldwide and – though it’s the kind of series we expect to find on Netflix – it’s on Amazon Prime.
The Kettering Incident Trailer
Note: Spoilers ahead! Stop if you have not seen the series.
The ending of The Kettering Incident has been a point of some discussion. It was definitely a “what the hell?” moment. Not the strange final scene itself, but that so much was unresolved. Though it appears we know who killed Chloe, that’s about all we really know.
They are very different shows, but this was similar, if not worse, than the first season of The Killing, which left many unhappy viewers in its wake. Though there has been no word as of yet, we assume the door is wide open for The Kettering Incident season 2.