There is a scene about two-thirds of the way through “Foe” wherein Junior rants about how grossed out he is about humanity, and recalls, in detail, a time when he witnessed a co-worker blow his nose and discard the tissue on his used meal plate. Junior is so disgusted that he begins to question the very function of the human race. Mescal plays the scene with sweat and nerves and jitters, quivering with barely controlled violence. He then begins pounding the wall with his fist, leaving bloodied knuckleprints on the quaint country wallpaper. I suspect Davis wanted this scene to communicate Junior’s status as a passionate outsider, a man unwilling to bear the filth of the “normal world” and aching to flee into connubial solitude with his wife. But this scene, and a few other mysteriously violent moments like it, make Junior appear to be on the brink of physical abuse.
Into this gumbo of misery, Davis stirs in a nonsensical sci-fi plot that makes less and less sense the more one thinks about it. A mysterious government agent named Terrance (Aaron Pierce) arrives at Hen’s and Junior’s door, and Junior immediately assumes he and Hen have been having an affair. Terrance informs the couple that Junior has been conscripted into the space program and that he will be living in space, incommunicado, for two years.
Over the next year, Terrance will come to their home repeatedly to conduct deeply sinister tests on Junior without telling him what they’re for. Junior begins behaving more strangely than usual, doing things like running into burning barns and having conversations with beetles. What is Terrance doing to him? And who are those mysterious Men in Black lurking outside the windows?