Collision episode 2 review

ITV's consecutive-night drama, Collision, arrives at its second episode, and focuses much of its time on law enforcement...

Paul McGann in Collision

“I think it’s time I visited the road,” said DI Tolin midway through this second episode, heralding a compelling sequence in the hour. Tolin and colleague Senior Investigating Officer Anne Stallwood (Kate Ashfield) took to the motorway for a walk-through of the collision, stepping over the actual ground and mapping out the crash according to the initial forensic findings, fleshing out the story that Tolin had so far only looked at through lifeless diagrams on a cold-hearted pin board.

Good, it was, almost like a little play-within-a-play, when Tolin and Stallwood stalked across the alarmingly silent road, with Stallwood narrating the events and Tolin coming over all Macbeth as though he was seeing ghosts of cars and lorries. Cut into this were super-short clips of each driver at the moment of the collision – distressed faces, shrieks and panics, loud engines – making sure we were thinking about the human impact as well as the crash of machinery. Washing over it all was a moving backing track and a general grey sheen. Motorway madness? Motorway misery, more like. It was really a rather moving ten minutes or so.

As for the bits around that, it was very much geared towards the police side of the collision tonight, where yesterday we were interested in the victims. We have gained a soupçon of information about a romantic history between Tolin and Stallwood. Can they maintain a professional distance during this case, or will Tolin’s evident emotional vulnerability pull them together again?

She is the backbone of the police team on this case, while Tolin is too tortured, at the moment, to make any actual progress. She’s proactive, hard-nosed, getting right to the nitty gritty, whipping out her magnetic board and zooming her little car magnets across it to plot out the crash. I loved that magnetic board; very impressive; very geeky.

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Not so sure about the romantic goings-on between Jane, the service station girl, and collision victim Richard Reeves (Paul McGann), a non-descript millionaire. It feels a little bit like the writing decided these two were a match purely on the basis of them both being exactly the same level of pretty and, as a pair, being too pretty for their grey motorway backdrop.

Reeves has already offered Jane a trip to Paris, for some reason, and she’s gone all gooey about him. Both are in rather unwanted relationships, so that’s going to be their sticking point. It seems like one storyline too far, this one; new romance is way down on the agenda.

There’s so much still to work out about what each of the people was up to and where they were heading before the collision.

Not least Karen, the PA (Claire Rushbrook), and the dodgy copied files that she was on her way to deliver to a journalist – or was she? Her twitchiness of yesterday turned into full-on panic today as she lost possession of the crucial files – we know not what they contain, just that they are all labelled ‘Locust’ – when her car was impounded after the crash.

She’s the most mysterious of all the characters, certainly, and it seems that the writing wants to focus on her; the episode rounded off with her being uncomfortably escorted from hospital by two men, Tolin having not managed to reunite her with the files.

We’re being teased through this storyline as it’s obviously got a great twist. It surely won’t be wrapped up until right at the last minute, once all the intrigue has been wrung from it.

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Read our review of episode one here.