Tamara Podemski shines in most powerful episode of Coroner yet

Coroner Season 2 -- Courtesy of Muse Entertainment Enterprises/The CW
Coroner Season 2 -- Courtesy of Muse Entertainment Enterprises/The CW /

Coroner brought its most powerful episode of the series yet

Coroner started with a mass shooting in a place of worship, but that wasn’t the focus for this powerful, thought-provoking, important episode. Tamara Podemski shined in an episode that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

It’s easy to hate someone who is involved in a mass shooting. That’s a natural reaction. After all, one person claims the lives of multiple innocent people. However, Coroner delivered a thought-provoking episode that wasn’t just focused on why someone would commit a mass shooting.

For Jenny and her team, it was important to treat everyone without prejudice. They needed to get to the bottom of the case, helping the police figure out who the shooter was and why. Little did they realize that it would touch on a subject that we are all faced with right now: institutionalized racism and abuse of the foster care system.

Anyone who pays attention to the U.S. news should know that systemic racism is a huge problem. Well, it’s not just America with the problem. Canada has a huge issue with systemic and institutionalized racism against Black and Indigenous people.

You just have to read books like Red River Girl and Seven Fallen Feathers to know that it’s an issue. Even Canadian TV shows can overlook the problem, although Burden of Truth touched on it well during the third season. Now it’s Coroner‘s turn, putting Podemski in the limelight.

Systemic racism against Indigenous people is a huge problem

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This episode finally gave Podemski the chance to shine as the actress she is. Her character, Alison, has been an upbeat, quirky character. I’ve loved her from her first appearance, but I’m so grateful we got this chance to gain Alison’s backstory.

We learned her mom died when she was younger. In fact, it was her mom’s death that pushed her toward the coroner’s office. Her dad never kept the truth from her, reminding us that Indigenous people don’t get to grow up not knowing the racism against them. They don’t get to believe the world will just accept them.

Alison tells Jenny the story of the night her mom died. Her mom went out for cereal and never came back. That night, the police say that her mom slipped and fell, dying from blunt force trauma to the head. That would be fine if it wasn’t for a split lip and bruises all over the face. Alison’s dad knew what happened, and he couldn’t shield his daughter from that.

It didn’t push Alison into a path to fight against the cops, though. Instead, she joined the coroner’s office, hoping to fight the racism from the inside. She joined the coroner’s office hoping that murders like her mother’s wouldn’t be covered up.

We know Coroner‘s Jenny wouldn’t do that. She’s proven to wanting the real answers, even if it means not getting the answers the police want. However, Jenny realized why this case would be so important to Alison.

Alison’s story broke my heart. She holds onto all this pain and anger, but it doesn’t overshadow her. It drives her to be a better person and encourage others to be the best people they can be.

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Abuse within the foster system

Throughout the episode, Alison bonded with a young boy who would turn out to be the brother of one of the shooters. Broken bones and burn marks on the deceased brother would lead to Alison needing to get answers. She wanted to understand why this young boy would shoot a church full of people.

Realizing the boy understood one of the Native languages, Alison has a way to connect. She understands the language, and it turns out both the boy’s and Alison’s mothers taught them the language of their people.

You can see the smile on this boy’s face. At first, he’s closed off, but he realizes that he has a friend in Alison. This is a person he can trust, someone he can confide in.

It leads to understanding more about the abuse this boy and his brother faced. The brother wasn’t after the entire church but the foster father who had abused them. He wanted revenge because nobody else was there to help them. The foster system is broken, something Burden of Truth Season 3 brought up, and this young foster child felt he had no other choice.

With this reveal, we did get the typical “we’ve figured it out” moment. Jenny and McAvoy told the foster mother that they knew the truth, but it wasn’t about that. It was all about helping this young boy, the one left behind by a brother who just wanted to protect him. There was no judgment against the shooter’s actions. Alison just wanted to help this Indigenous orphan.

She found a way to do that by using her connections in family services. She found the boy’s aunt and cousins, meaning he’ll be with his own family. And sure, there may be problems there, but there’s hope.

Alison is this character that silently carries so much. Sometimes, it can feel like she’s on her own, but she is surrounded by people who can help. And she’s given that chance to this orphan.

It doesn’t serve as a way to solve the racism and abuse within the police and foster systems. In fact, it just scratches the surface, which is all one episode can do. What it offers is an honest look at the problem with a promise that there is more of these powerful episodes to come.

While the episode itself was powerful, it wouldn’t have been as emotional without Tamara Podemski’s performance.

Next. Coroner gives us an honest look at PTSD. dark

Coroner Season 2 continues on Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.