Hard Sun: 8 questions for the finale to answer

Ahead of the Hard Sun finale, we count down the puzzling questions this series has yet to answer…

Warning: contains spoilers for Hard Sun episodes 1-5.

There’s an easy method of finding out whether or not the Hard Sun finale contains answers to the questions below: just, you know, watch it.

As is its wont, the BBC released all six episodes at once on iPlayer back on January, so there’s really no need for any of this. No need for speculation or anticipation, no need for week-by-week discussion or elaborately concocted theories. Watch it, find out what happens, shrug, move on. That’s the modern way. Many of you have already done just that.

If however, you’d like to join us in a collective game of ‘sticking our fingers in our ears and going la la la’ faced with the modern way, then step right along. Let’s pretend we have to wait the customary week between episodes, and must sit still in between with only our imaginations to entertain us. Let’s do something pointless, because, as Hard Sun reminds us, we’re all just going to die anyway.

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No spoilers in the comments please, folks. Thank you kindly.

1. Why did Charlie Hicks kill Alex Butler?

In episode four, Charlie watched an interview with his squeeze Mari Butler talking about what a fine fellow her husband Alex was. Popular, good at sport, kind… According to Mari, Alex Butler was a gentleman right out of the top drawer. And yet, bang bang, Charlie Hicks shot him down. Why?

Perhaps Alex wasn’t the all-round good guy Mari said he was. Perhaps he was abusive? That would explain Mari telling Charlie in episode five, “I do know what you did for us and I know what it cost you.” Although, there are surely easier ways to deal with that kind of thing. And also – what explains Charlie’s insistence on telling everyone how roundly he loved Alex?

No, it’ll likely be something to do with the Nicholson firm and the dodgy dealings in which Charlie and Alex were involved. Charlie’s big thing is looking after people, so perhaps the only way to look after Mari and her son was to kill Alex. Unless…

…Alex Butler isn’t really dead? Was his death faked? Has he been hiding out in Mari’s cupboard-under-the-stairs all this time, wondering why his best mate and wife keep locking the bedroom door?

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2. Why did Charlie rob Felix Nicholson in episode one?

The first time we met DI Charlie Hicks, he was forcing a man named Felix Nicholson to empty his safe at gunpoint minutes before Felix was arrested in a police raid Charlie obviously knew was coming. Charlie then handed the money he’d stolen over to Alex Butler’s widow, Mari. Was it an opportunist robbery to help set Mari up following her husband’s death, or did that money belong to Alex somehow in the first place?

3. Who on high wants Charlie Hicks defenestrated?

DCS Bell told Renko in episode five that the order to bring Hicks down by charging him with the murder of Alex Butler came from “on high”. Someone important wants Hicks out of a job, but seeing as their machinations were already in place when Elaine joined the team and therefore before the end of the world deal began, it’s not MI5. So who? And why are they so keen to get Hicks out of their way? Could it be that he and Alex weren’t really on the take, but undercover and investigating corruption higher up in the force?

4. To whom did MI5 Grace make a promise?

Nikki Amuka-Bird’s Hard Sun character is like the wind. She’s here, there and everywhere, waiting in the ether to waft into Charlie Hicks’ car and deliver her latest set of calmly voiced instructions. Why though, if the world is really coming to an end, is she bothering with it all? As Charlie asked her in episode five, why care about the flash drive and the story being exposed if they’re all dying in five years anyway?

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Because she made a promise to try to hold onto reality as long as it was possible, she explained. To whom? A higher-up? A family member?

5. Why did Elaine not prosecute her rapist?

The facts as we understand them so far tell us that Elaine Renko was raped and impregnated by Daniel’s father at the age of fourteen (she told Daniel that in episode three) and that her former English teacher Noah Underhill was Daniel’s father (despite lying about it in episode five, by the end, she’d confirmed it to Hicks). So why, when Elaine’s parents tried to have him prosecuted for the sexual assault of a minor, did she withdraw the complaint? Why protect a man who raped her?

6. What is Hard Sun?

This is the biggie, the question everybody’s been asking, and spray-painting on surfaces around the city: what mass extinction-level event is on its way? Should we be thinking, as Will Benedetti suggested, solar flares? A meteor? A virus?

MI5 Grace is the only one with an answer so far, and she simply says it’s “the end”. Something a bit more specific would be nice. Unless this whole thing really is a hoax. 

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7. How did Elaine learn the French for “industrial mincer”?

Her Year Nine French exchange trip must have included a visit to une zone industrielle. Perhaps that was where she picked up the knuckle duster too.

8. And the most important question of all: why did the police sketch of the Good Samaritan Killer look exactly like popular actor Danny McBride?



Hard Sun concludes on Saturday the 10th of February at 9.30pm on BBC One. 

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