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Didn’t really do it for me tonight. Great concept, but the execution just didn’t work.

I think I’d gotten too bored with the “just a drama about a couple with a failing marriage” to be properly snapped out of it at the big reveal

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That wasn’t as overtly clever as some episodes (such as all the others so far this series) but the writing and performances of the two main characters was outstanding. Between the

joyless, futile role play and the two basement reveals

 I think that might be the bleakest thing they’ve ever done.

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I thought that was amazing. The big reveal was outstanding, spine tingling stuff for me when we saw the door.
 

(A dark thought, but amazing timing with that Turpin family revelation in California for people thinking "stuff like this doesn't happen".)


For those criticising the writing / execution - please direct me to something you can recommend as i would love some new stuff to watch. :)

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Great performances, particularly by the wife, but it got really contrived and on the nose at the end. Some of the dialogue was also howlingly bad. 

 

 

'It feels like it was just yesterday'

 

'it wasn't yesterday, it was 8 years'


CLUNK!


We're told that nearly 4 months have passed since the husband 'died'. This is not a conversation you would be having 4 months after freeing them. Frankly it's poor expository dialogue no matter how you slice it, but the timeframe involved makes it even more artificial. They're better writers than that.

 

Also I really didn't buy the husband's actions in those closing moments. He's kept this up for 8 years and just throws himself down the stairs clutching the key within a couple of minutes of the situation arising? Nah, I don't believe in it other than as an easy out to get him vulnerable and to alert the wife in one convenient swoop. 

 

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That was the first episode this series that I've not felt was amazing story wise so far. I agree with the comments about some of the dialogue not being great at the end but my god Steve Pemberton was utterly outstanding throughout the episode. 

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5 hours ago, kerraig UK said:

Also, you totally wouldn't want to have sex with someone who has been chained to a bed in a windowless basement and fed a diet of only pot noodles for 8 years, no matter how deranged you were.

Normal people wouldn't, no. But those addicted to the absolute control over another human being probably would.

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13 hours ago, Majora said:

Great performances, particularly by the wife, but it got really contrived and on the nose at the end. Some of the dialogue was also howlingly bad. 

 

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Also I really didn't buy the husband's actions in those closing moments. He's kept this up for 8 years and just throws himself down the stairs clutching the key within a couple of minutes of the situation arising? Nah, I don't believe in it other than as an easy out to get him vulnerable and to alert the wife in one convenient swoop. 

 

 

 

Wait, was he supposed to be trying to kill himself? I thought he’d cocked up attempting to cause an injury just severe enough to cancel the trip, but now that you mention it, why was he holding the key unless the idea was to die and for his prisoners to be discovered in the aftermath?

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43 minutes ago, MrPogo said:

 

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Wait, was he supposed to be trying to kill himself? I thought he’d cocked up attempting to cause an injury just severe enough to cancel the trip, but now that you mention it, why was he holding the key unless the idea was to die and for his prisoners to be discovered in the aftermath?

 

I also found this confusing

 

 

Before throwing himself down the stairs, he asks his wife whether the trip is insured. This surely is meant to lead the audience to believe that he was looking to cause a minor/moderate accident that would cancel the trip, but that it goes wrong and he ends up injuring himself far more severely than intended. However, it makes no sense for him to continue holding the key while all this is going on. I guess you could argue that he's in a mad panic etc, but it's all just one contrivance too far for me, and I reckon you could set up a minor, trip cancelling accident without resorting to throwing yourself down a big flight of stone steps.

 

I did wonder whether he intended to kill himself and for the key to be found in order to save the people he imprisoned, but the insurance line seems to null that line of thinking and it feels like less likely a motivation.

Either way, I also don't buy the wife's actions; we're meant to believe that, suspecting nothing, she runs downstairs, finds her husband severely injured with blood gushing from his head, barely conscious (or was he unconscious? I can't remember) and instead of immediately calling the ambulance and looking after her husband like any normal person would, she finds the key in his hand and instead investigates while he appears close to death? If she has no reason to suspect him of anything, as I believe is the intent, it's completely implausible.

 

 

Basically the last five minutes or so just didn't work for me at all. They didn't work hard enough to set up the final outcome.

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I assumed he was damaging himself enough to not go on holiday, maybe stay in bed for a few days, with the insurance question relating to their already tight finances, and the fact they might not be able to afford him missing work for the days it would take him to recover. Why he is holding the key? I have no idea.

 

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The best interpretation I could come up with is that he confessed to his wife off-camera, after she found him. Doesn't he say 'sorry' just before that scene ends? So he was aiming for suicide, with the key as a pretty vague clue, presumably hoping the door would be discovered before his captives starved. The insurance question is baffling, perhaps just meant to be a character moment. But he shows no signs of remorse prior to this - they've had plenty of time to work remorse in if they wanted to - and it's an unnecessarily extreme reaction, so it does seem fairer to say that it simply doesn't have a very good ending, which I think has been a problem with this season in general; they're setting 'em up, but they can't knock 'em down.

 

The jigsaw dialogue at the start made me wonder if there was some clever structural element to this episode that I hadn't seen, but if there is then I still can't see it. Similarly, I was trying to work out if the Flying Scotsman might hold some meaning, but I've got nothing. I think this one would have been bounced out of a Tales of the Unexpected pitch session, particularly the lacklustre (and expected) twist at the end.

 

Someone will come along and explain the whole thing now and I'll feel terrible.

 

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10 hours ago, barkbat said:
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I assumed he was damaging himself enough to not go on holiday, maybe stay in bed for a few days, with the insurance question relating to their already tight finances, and the fact they might not be able to afford him missing work for the days it would take him to recover. Why he is holding the key? I have no idea.

 

 

I thought the insurance question was just desperate searching for an excuse not to go. “No travel insurance?We can’t go without travel insurance in place!”

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But that's a jump in behaviour so large I can't rationalise it.

 

 

He's spent 8 years carrying this out, with no sign of remorse, and deliberately kills himself within several minutes of an awkward situation arising? Like you say, he could have just cut his hand or staged another minor accident to cancel the trip. Why go straight to deliberately killing yourself? You have to earn that outcome through the character writing and there was nothing in the set-up to make me think he would suddenly kill himself with other avenues clearly open to him

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I think it was simply that

he was enough of a monster to keep them chained up for years, but not to let them die while he went on holiday. Probably just realised the game was up and thought he'd try and take the easy way out.



 

It didn't bother me as much as some, but it doesn't quite explain his thought process well enough to make proper sense. The insurance question seems to muddy the waters a bit, because it does suggest he was trying to injure himself instead. But then why would he have the key in his hand? Unless you're just meant to think he panicked.

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Regarding the key.

Spoiler

I just read it that he couldn't let it out of his sight. Moments earlier he was panicking when he couldn't find it despite it being in the drawer. He was behaving like an addict, or like Gollum and his ring. Basically he was finding it hard to continue this lifestyle and carry on lying to his wife. One way or another he was looking for a way out. Either by buying himself some time to put off the holiday, or by actually killing himself. I think it's as deliberately unclear and indicative of how he was losing it. 

It was very dark and I liked how there were barely any jokes. You just knew something wicked was coming.

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8 hours ago, Stanley said:

Regarding the key.

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 Basically he was finding it hard to continue this lifestyle and carry on lying to his wife. 

 

 

Was he? The episode gave no indication of that whatsoever. The marriage was miserable, and they both knew it, but I didn't get the impression he was 'losing it'. He seemed fairly comfortable with the misery to me, in the same way that many long term marriages became routine and loveless but both parties just put up with it. Nurse scene aside, he was very cold and aloof. Detached rather than struggling in any way. 

 

Anyway I'll probably stop picking it apart now because there's not much more to discuss and my aim isn't to ruin the episode for others. I just felt like they knew what they wanted the ending to be, reverse engineered it, but didn't really put the effort in to make it all stack up - from either the wife's or the husband's perspective. 

 

Despite all that I still enjoyed it more than Zanzibar so that's something. 

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He was also under increasing pressure from his wife, who was definitely showing signs of losing it. We clearly read it differently, to me he looked liked he was struggling internally. 

 

Although if I was to be picky:

Spoiler

How would the wife have explained her husband's disappearance? She told that couple he had died but there'd be no record of that. 

 

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Why not:

Spoiler

She rang an ambulance and he went to hospital. She took the key off him and while he was still in hospital finds the dungeon. When he returns in a wheelchair she simply dumps him in the dungeon.

 

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1 hour ago, Pete said:

Why not:

  Reveal hidden contents

She rang an ambulance and he went to hospital. She took the key off him and while he was still in hospital finds the dungeon. When he returns in a wheelchair she simply dumps him in the dungeon.

 

Yeah that's obviously what happened but how would she explain

Spoiler

His death, when there's no record of it.

 

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Are random people going to be searching records to make sure she’s not lying? If there were some legal issues in the future, sure. But a couple she met once before and probably never again won’t be checking. 

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