As a self titled expert on Jason-Momoa’s-face, of course I binged his new Netflix show Frontier – even if it is about the Canadian fur trade. And I’m sure if you’re like me you noticed the similarities to his last series The Red Road. Because you know fans of Sundance Tv’s The Red Road AND Discovery Canda’s Frontier – there are dozens of us- DOZENS. So I have compiled a list of all the similarities I noticed between the two shows.
SPOILERS for both series below.
Jason Momoa plays a moody outcast on the wrong side of the laws
In The Red Road Momoa plays a criminal named Philip Kopus who blackmails the other protagonist a cop, Harold Jensen, into looking the other way. It’s implied Philip started down his criminal path after the whole town blamed him for the death of one of his friends. In Frontier he plays Declan Harp a man with a reputation for having gone ‘savage’, now working against his former employer and using very violent methods in the process. Harp’s tragic backstory is that he’s an ex-company man who went rouge after the death of his wife and son. Declan also forces the ‘protagonist’ to work with him but I don’t see this as a sub heading worthy similarity because A) Its the concept of every show staring more than one dude B) Harold and Philip have a more I-hate-you-but-I-gotta-work-with-you-thing, while Declan and Frontier‘s insert character Michael starts out as a you-work-for-me-under-pain-of-death thing but in less than the entire 6 hour run of the series their like BROTHERS FOR LIFE I’LL DIE FOR YOU BUDDY.
… And he has a mysterious connection to a Red Headed Lady from his past
The Red Road slowly revealed that Kopus is in fact the guy that Jean (wife of blackmailed cop Harold) dated in her teens and blames for her brother’s death . See, the pair were in love as teens, until Jean’s beloved twin brother drowned (actually committed suicide) and Kopus got the blame. Jean went on to marry the other main character Harold (who actually was kind of responsible by the way and actually basically tricked this poor woman into marrying him and the show never really dealt with this before it got cancelled and I could write a whole post on how much I HATE HAROLD ARGH – this show is F-ed up). In Frontier we eventually see that Harp has some kind of ambiguous relationship that involves a lot of eye lingering with enterprising tavern owner Grace Emberly. The show doesn’t reveal much in it’s first season but we know she nursed him back to health after his family’s death, but whether or not they ever had a romantic relationship before or after his family’s death remains to be seen. (I’d vote no on an affair between the two btw as Harp seems like he was a pretty devoted family man and theres no awkward resentment between Harp and Grace)
… Also they spend barely any time together:
In both shows there’s an odd disconnect, in which for two people the show is definitely pushing as romantically inclined they never spend any time together and have little impacts on each other’s plot. This is definitely more enjoyable in Frontier where Grace is always off being a badass and plotting her own schemes in her own plot. This disconnect is so strong in The Red Road however, that at one point Philip actually threatens Jean’s daughter and she never finds out, because it appears this scene belongs in the Howard-and-Philip-are-enemies plot line. By season 2 maybe Philip’s love interest in Lisa Bonet’s Sky but then also she runs against his mother and then the show got cancelled and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE SHOW RUNNER’S INTENTIONS FOR THIS SHOW WAS.
There’s also a real disconnect in the violence of both of the show’s protagonists, and their odd gentle scenes with their lady friends. Also in both of these shows Jason Momoa NAILS the intimidating-man-is-oddly-gentle-with-the-lady-he-likes style scenes.
Zahn McClarnon dies
He’s never long for this world and always Momoa’s BFF. In The Red Road he’s offed in the season 1 final by a regretful Philip after he discovers his BFF is a traitor. In Frontier his Samoset goes out a little more nobly but lasts significantly less amount of time. Loyal to his BFF to the end ,he gets taken out in the 2nd episode in a fight against soldiers.
Also I just remembered maybe in The Red Road Philip felt really guilty about killing him, tries to provide for his girlfriend and then ends up having sex with her? This thankfully does not happen in Frontier.
And oh look it’s Kiowa Gorden
The Red Road‘s Junior makes an appearance in Frontier as the chief’s grandson Kitchi. He doesn’t last long.