There are major spoilers in this review if you’ve not yet seen this episode.
Has everyone who wants the episode’s big reveal to remain a secret gone elsewhere? Good.
So, Lucy is Professor Jaggat – did anyone see that coming? I certainly didn’t, although perhaps that’s just because I’m not very clever. If you did see it a mile off – my wife certainly ‘wasn’t particularly surprised’ – then you’ll at least have been happy to note that it came out in the open so early on (we are only at episode three of eight after all). A well executed reveal anyway, right at the episode’s death, although it does leave some questions unanswered for me.
Does she know Mitchell is a vampire or has he blissfully walked into her world of redemption? Is she, in fact, genuinely trying to help these poor unfortunates that she promises to save or is she actually a little more like her key stooge, a little less enamoured with demons and ghouls and decidedly keen on all things God? Certainly the glimpse of her cross around her neck would appear to suggest that religion could have a major role to play in the final reckoning for all concerned.
On one level, I’m pleased that the show’s creators have gone down this road and have potentially created yet another multi-layered character that could really complicate Mitchell’s life further still. On the other, I’m torn the other way, as I actually rather liked the idea of Mitchell juggling a relatively normal, human love life with his own many, many troubles. And, boy, are they beginning to mount up.
If we thought Ivan presented a possible stumbling block, that was nothing compared to this week’s fevered ranting and chanting by the vampiric faithful. Trying to keep the peace and get things back on track – there needs to be an order to how the vampires go about things or all hell will break loose, goes his theory – he found himself heralded as the new replacement for Herrick. Lord of all he surveyed, Mitchell seemed to take some form of pleasure from the rampant table banging and looks of awe but we’ll find out more next week. One thing is for sure: he’s attempting to cover up too many tracks and going down so many dark paths that he’s bound to come unstuck by the series end.
Hopefully, his story won’t come unstuck as harshly as it did for the dumb but oddly endearing female vampire with a Cornish glint who was dealt the most severe of punishments. Mirroring the periodic flashback at the start of the episode (which weaved humour into the horror with great aplomb) as to how suspected vampires were dealt with in the 1600s, Mitchell showed no mercy and showed just how strong he can be when push comes to shove. Is he moving increasingly away from his human life? Undoubtedly, and all bets are off for how far he’ll fall in the episodes to come.
A quick mention must also go to the new police constable on the block, played wonderfully by Ian Puleston-Davies whom I recognised from Alan Partridge (the old school friend with the cock drawn on his back). In what is a role so far removed from the pure comedy of Coogan’s work, he demonstrated smarm, intelligence and genuine threat in his brief appearances here and is obviously going to play a large part in the development of this series.
George and Annie were handed the secondary, more light-hearted story of the episode as Annie felt it was her duty to put things right during her, now probably, limited time on earth. Back to being neither seen nor heard, she set about matchmaking publican Hugh with his old girlfriend (he got over Annie quick enough).
Using recently dumped George as bait, the sequences were funny, yet often cringeworthy and, while I like Russell Tovey doing funny, I still feel that the show fell back on its treatment of Annie once more in this episode. Lenora Critchlow will be given more to do, I’m sure (last week’s episode was proof of that), but for the moment I’ve yet to be convinced that her character will play anything more than the third wheel for the bulk of this series.
George, on the other hand found, himself on a very touching journey this week in his quest to get over Nina leaving him, culminating in an emotional breakdown that will have warmed the coldest of hearts. To see Tovey crash like that following Nina’s phone call was a marvellous slice of dramatic acting that wouldn’t be out of place on the big screen. Gut-wrenching stuff.
One thing I haven’t really touched upon thus far in covering this series is the visual flair it’s exhibiting. With a new series has come increased confidence in realising Toby Whithouse’s vision, wide angle shots of Bristol juxtaposed with tight close-ups of vampire kills for maximum effect. Lighting played a huge part in this episode, too, the darker recesses of Bristol’s underground caves offset with the bright lights of the shopping centre for the Cornish killer’s next move. It’s intelligent programme making and keeps me entertained week after week.
Next week’s preview saw Nina complaining of a nosebleed. If Prof. Jaggat’s past ‘clients’ are anything to go by, things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Check out our review of episode 2 here.