This article comes from Den of Geek UK. This Hard Sun review contains spoilers.
Hard Sun Episode 3
Hard Sun. Hard Sun. The sun from the sky, but hard. What is it? What does it mean? What makes a sun hard? Black holes? Saturn’s ring? Milky Ways? Has someone left the lid off the sun, making it go hard? Could it even be a typo – is the world going to die in five years all down to an especially hard sum?
Whatever it is—and apart from “the end” nobody here seems to know—it’s a siren call to the planet’s biggest tossers. Hard Sun is activating sleeping serial killers in ordinary men, flipping all their bastard switches to ‘on’ and inspiring them to commit bloody murder. Last week it was the turn of ousted patriarch Slashy McRedpill, this week it’s a priest who’s gone bad.
What turned Father Tom bad? Doing good things. Specifically, doing good things and then seeing bad things happen to good people. Drowned babies. Families floating face down in the Mediterranean. The sort of stuff that would cause anybody to lose their faith in a loving God. Why would the Lord let such cruelty exist, asked Tom. Why won’t He show himself?
Revved up by the Hard Sun conspiracy and clearly off his rocker, Tom set about enticing God out of His hidey-hole with a game of ‘stab the kind’. By selecting only victims who least deserved punishment—a suicide helpline volunteer, a courageous and compassionate bus passenger—Tom became Dexter in reverse. “If He’s there, let Him stop me,” was the challenge. Like a teenager shoplifting a bottle of Bell’s Original, he was just acting out to get attention from his Father.
Never fear though, because DCI Charlie Hicks and his shady priest radar are here. (All senior police officers inside the M25 were fitted with them, for, well, understandable reasons.) At the scene of the crime, Hicks spotted a rum sort in a dog collar among the crowd (“I dunno, he seems… wrong”) so trailed him and bingo! He turned out to be the killer’s pal.
But not a pal of lifting a finger to save lives, it seems. Father “call me Dennis” Chapman might be so clean he’s minty-fresh, but when it comes to stopping evil, he’s afraid his priest hands are tied.
Now, I’m no expert in religious doctrine (despite being able to do all the actions to The Animals Went in Two by Two), but I’d have thought that the sacred bind of the confessional doesn’t apply to sins you go on to commit outside the confessional? Not fake sins like masturbation or coveting oxen, but honest-to-goodness crimes like strangling a priest and stabbing a nice young man on a bus. (Also: graffiti.) It can’t be that the deal is that going in the box just the once immunises you for anything you go on to do within a window of 28 days.
No. Father Dennis knows who’s going around murdering people. He has the killer’s name and mobile number and is absolutely allowed to tell the police, yet he still won’t. Bad Father Dennis. You deserve whatever it is that happens to you in the ‘Next Episode’ trail.
Hard Sun on the March 2018 Sci Fi Fidelity podcast:
Meanwhile, Grace from MI5 is still on the trail of Renko’s flash drive. Leaning on young Daniel for information turned out to be a dead end (Hard Sun has yet to specify what Daniel’s psychiatric diagnosis is, but he certainly likes attacking women. Though given that his mother dresses up like him in a long-sleeved white tee for every visit, maybe he thinks he’s punching a mirror?). Sensitivity around mental health issues clearly isn’t Hard Sun’s priority; keeping our eyes busy with pulp action and showing us all the blood splatters is (hence the white tee).
By the end of the episode, Richard Coyle’s disillusioned priest, now calling himself the messenger of the Hard Sun, was still at large. Renko had lied to her boss about Hicks being innocent, and Grace and Hicks had made a deal—he gets her the flash drive; she ensures protection for his family. Why any of them would trust the others based on the events of the previous two episodes I have no idea.
Are we to trust that Hard Sun is leading somewhere? Now at the midpoint of the series, it still feels as though the creators have gone mad at the thriller Pic ‘n’ Mix stand and filled their bags to bursting with conspiracy foam bananas and random-car-shag fizzy coke bottles. If the show’s many plots and identities don’t coalesce soon, there’s a real risk we may be left with nothing but terrible reviewer analogies and a sugar headache.