This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
Hard Sun Episode 6
You can sympathise, really. The sun, bored of hanging around in space waiting for this series to start making sense, decided to leak itself to the public by turning up early, all massive, with a tail. The sun was here for answers. Answers it wasn’t going to get.
Answers to questions like: why did Hicks kill Alex Butler? Why did Renko protect her rapist? Why did ‘they’ lie to MI5 Grace about the apocalyptic timescale? And what had distracted the planet’s meteorologists from spotting the fact that the sun was off on its holidays to Earth, all massive, with a tail? Accepting that Renko and Hicks were too busy playing The Sweeney with Grace to notice that London had turned into Mordor all of a sudden, surely other people must look up occasionally.
Forget logic and surelys. They don’t apply in the world of the pulp TV thriller, where mysteries are strung out indefinitely and cliff-hangers are delivered in lieu of satisfying finales.
Hard Sun had to take special measures to ensure its mysteries stayed mysterious for a potential second series. That involved making Renko and Hicks speak with all the specificity of a ‘some people…’ passive aggressive Facebook update. This episode deserves the Bafta for vaguest dialogue in a continuing drama. “I saw what you did,” Hicks told Alex Butler in flashback, “in a video on that laptop you just lied about, reflected in a mirror in that horrible bedroom.” In a dark, dark town, in a dark, dark street, in a dark, dark house.
Renko was little better. “The way you thought things were between you and me, Daniel? They were never like that. You were wrong.” Way to clear things up for an exceptionally troubled lad.
It didn’t give us many answers, then, but the Hard Sun finale did deliver spectacle. There was the sun of course, all massive with a tail (a coronal mass ejection, apparently, but let’s not embarrass the lad). There were the show’s characteristically cool locations—a Gothic mansion and creepy mausoleum. There was MI5 Grace in action-mode, fighting off three spies at once. There was a creepy Mormon-looking fella who, if he’d been in the episode of The X-Files he’d clearlyb been cut from, would definitely have turned out to be a suit full of worms. There were lobotomised zombies in surgical gowns shuffling around a disused pile like a lost level of Resident Evil.
There was no shortage of action. Renko shoved a pencil up a narc’s right nostril and made him wet himself. A man hammered a spike through his own brain. A child was presented with a context-free tarantula. In many ways, the finale had it all. Except coherence or a sense that there was anyone in the cab of this full-steam-ahead train.
Plot-wise, Hicks’ finale began with a waft of bacon and familial bliss, but ended with the bitter scent of the truth. Mari, incensed that Charlie might not have killed her husband—what was Alex doing on the laptop in the video reflected the mirror of the horrible bedroom? Drugs? Arson? Child abuse? A jigsaw?—told Simone and Hailey about the affair.
MI5 Grace’s day too, began in the bosom of her family (spooking obviously pays a few bob – did you see the quality finish on that kitchen island?) but ended with her staring into the face of God. Nikki Amuka-Bird’s considerable talents have so far been restricted to low-voiced, poker-faced sardonicism, so it was satisfying to see her given the opportunity to show some range and emote in front of her firing squad. Not just an ice-spy, we learned that Grace is also a nice mummy and a bit kickass to boot. If there is a series two, kit her out with a riot stick and make it a trio: Renko, Hicks and MI5 Grace against the apocalypse.
Now that Hard Sun is here, an alliance of foes is as likely as anything else for the future. After all, it’s not as though the flash drive is still in play. Grace may think Hicks is a moral abomination, but she has to admit that he’s in good company with her and Renko. Between the lies, the plots, the ‘trying to kill vulnerable teenagers and letting murderers go unpunished’, the fitting up of gangland crims and threatening to waterboard priests, they’re hardly choirboys.
It’s been a non-stop conveyor belt, this series, of action, heightened intrigue and visceral scrapping. It’s had a good eye and a tin ear. It’s shown us that Agyness Deyn is a decent bet as an actor. It’s had outrageous characters and ambitious themes.
It’s difficult though, to see quite what it all added up to. Perhaps series two, if one arrives, will tell us that. For now though, we’ll award the final words on Hard Sun to Alex Butler, possible arsonist, drug addict, child abuser or doer-of-jigsaws: “It went out of control. But now it’s over.” For the time being, at least.