“Black Snow” is a 2023 psychological thriller series that surrounds the mysterious murder case of 17-year-old Isabel Baker. Life in Ashford, North Queensland, is pretty simple for the individuals out there. Isabel’s murder took the small town by storm. Gradually, all the clues pointed to one thing, a blue wagon with a white door. It’s been 25 years since Isabel was murdered, and the whole town has already forgotten about her death. In 1994, Isabel and her classmates received a live project to compensate for their detention. They were given a box, which was later named the Time Capsule. Each one of them was supposed to work together and make videos of their memories and note down their dreams and aspirations on a piece of paper. It will be placed inside the box, and the capsule would open after 25 years, at which point all the students would read out their dreams one by one. Isabel’s note was very disturbing, and she shared metaphorical statements that hinted at her friends and family. Things were confusing until the case was finally transferred to Detective Sergeant James Cormack. Even though Isabel’s murder was a cold case, James was highly interested in being a part of this one. Somehow, he knew that he would crack this case, and towards the end, it becomes pretty clear that some friends are disguised as predators.
The best part about “Black Snow” is its slow-paced mystery, which highlights all the aspects of a murder case. The victim’s character goes through various phases where people around the town question her personality and dignity instead of finding out the true reason behind her murder. None of them empathized with Isabel or her family. Moreover, it is a Sian Davies and Matthew Saville directorial collaboration. Every character in this movie is complex and has had a difficult childhood or past. Either way, the changes in James Cormack and Hazel Baker’s personalities are the ultimate transition that one can expect. Somehow, James and Hazel’s pasts are interconnected, as they find peace and comfort in sharing the similarities between their lives. At first, both of them were extremely skeptical about each other, but they found a resemblance in their suffering.
James is a headstrong person and one of the best detectives in his department. There are several mysteries linked to his past, and this makes it difficult for him to do all the basic things, like falling asleep at night. James often fails to control his anxiety attacks and always opts for violent self-harm to calm himself down. In the first episode of “Black Snow,” James is seen paying a random stranger to beat him up. For some reason, he found comfort in feeling pain. He would always show up injured to his office, and his boss would have no clue about his fights. Everyone addressed him as a weirdo, but none of this mattered to James in any way. Every time James solved a case, there was extreme satisfaction on his face. When James was a young boy, he lost his mother and his brother Ritchie on the same day. James’ father was an alcoholic and often fought with his mother. On the day of Ritchie’s birthday, the trio had lots of fun until James’ father came back home. He started a fight, causing James to hit him back. Upon seeing this, James’ mother signaled for him to get Ritchie and hide.
Once James was free, his father’s sights turned to James’s mother. The next moment, James heard Ritchie crying and headed toward the closet door. Ritchie must’ve thought that it was their father, and he attacked James with his fishing knife. That night, Ritchie ran away from home and went missing, while James’ mother was brutally murdered by his father. He immediately lost consciousness, and despite all the pain, James couldn’t hear his mother’s voice. That was enough for him to understand that his mother was no more. Whenever his mother cried, James would be relieved since it showed that she was alive. This time James couldn’t save her and blamed himself for hitting his father back. James deeply resented his father and didn’t meet him even after he approached him multiple times. His father was in jail and wanted to share something important. When he first heard about his father’s message, he couldn’t control his anxiety and burned his chest with a cigarette lighter.
Then, James had a strained relationship with his father, but despite all their differences, he agreed to meet him. After 25 years, James and his father had a face-to-face conversation, and he revealed that Ritchie had come to see him. James wanted to know more about his brother’s whereabouts, but he refused to share any. Isabel’s case attracted James to the small town of Ashford since Isabel was murdered on the same day as Ritchie’s disappearance. He tried his best to gain the trust and assurance of Isabel’s family and realized that Hazel Baker was suffering from the same pain and agony he was. James and Hazel hated themselves for not saving their siblings, and for 25 years, they’ve held on to their guilt. Even though James was a pretentious man, he felt the suffering of others and acted accordingly. In the final scenes of “Black Snow,” James recognizes the murderer as Anton’s father, Victor. All these years, Anton was brutally abused by his father to hide his secret.
James had similar experiences so he questioned Victor about his abuse. He was ashamed that a father would hurt his son to hide his dirty deeds. On the other hand, Hazel has always been there by his side. Hazel and James became good friends and she often asked him to share the painful details of his past. Hazel suffered in the same way. On the night of Isabel’s disappearance, Isabel had tried to communicate with Hazel. At the same time, Anton arrived on the scene, and Hazel cut the call, thinking that she was drunk. Hazel kept this secret in her heart for years, and it killed her every day. Isabel and Hazel were very close to each other, and her death changed Hazel’s personality completely. Once a cheerful young lady, Hazel was now a person who suffered from severe anxiety. Isabel and Hazel grew up in a strict household, and since their father, Joe Baker, was a pastor, he believed in all manner of superstitions around him. Despite everything, Hazel shared the darkest secret of her life.
After Isabel’s death, Hazel and Anton started seeing each other, and the two eventually grew closer. Isabel became a reason for them to meet every day. In this process, Hazel became pregnant with Anton’s child, Kalana. She couldn’t share this secret with anyone since Anton was about to get married at that time, and she didn’t want to ruin anything. Moreover, Hazel was ashamed of this secret since Isabel and Anton had dated each other in the past. After 25 years, Hazel finally opened up to her mother and Aunty Rosa. They didn’t blame her for anything; they understood her pain and accepted Kalana for who she was. Meanwhile, Anton blackmailed her into revealing the truth to Kalana. He even kidnapped her and confessed everything. Kalana was shocked by this revelation since Hazel told her that Kalana’s father was a backpacker who had lost his life. In the end, things didn’t resolve as they were supposed to. But Kalana chose to forgive her mother and accept Anton as her father.
“Black Snow” represents the dark past of all the characters, and it indicates that every person goes through various changes in different phases of their life. Eventually, things were sorted out for Hazel in the end, but James still had to figure out the outcome of his future. A secret parcel was found on James’ desk, and it contained a pen drive that showed the CCTV footage of Ritchie’s arrival in the jail. All this time, James’ father hadn’t lied, and it was true that Ritchie arrived to meet him. Even though James was happy to have his brother back after 25 years, he was still skeptical about his intentions. James will have to figure out Ritchie’s true motive to approach their father after all these years!