This review may contain spoilers.
7.4 Benny’s Funeral
After last week’s entirely jump the shark exercise in the casino, it was, perhaps, not a bad thing that there weren’t any huge Hulk-like leaps of logic in this story. After attending the funeral of a well respected grifter called Benny, Ash is somewhat confused when the same man runs past him, looking oddly like actor Denis Lawson (Local Hero), while he’s sitting in a traffic jam.
After catching up with Benny, he discovers that the grifter has fallen on hard times and owes money to the wrong people. Or, that’s the tale he tells, and soon Mickey and the gang are cooking up a scheme to get revenge on minor gangster Danush Larijani, and give their old associate some help.
It doesn’t take long before I began to smell a rat, especially when Benny can’t provide them with any solid information about Danush, and then when nobody seems to know or have heard of him. But embracing their long term relationship, the gang seem oblivious to these inconstancies, and plod on with their nefarious plan.
The issue I had was the acting that Denis Lawson did at this point rather gave away that he was lying. Maybe they’d have been better not giving him the last part of the script until he’d shot all the early scenes, because he ends up playing someone not telling the truth, rather than someone who’s actually convincing.
That said, they did hold the narrative flip until deliciously late in the day, and much later than I was expecting them to. I’m also not sure it was necessary to explain what happened in the level of detail provided, once they were onto Benny, other than how the cases containing the money got swapped. Hustle likes a fine sense of irony, and that Benny ends up in exactly the situation he claimed to be at the start falls very neatly into that category.
This show always makes me laugh, and the funniest bits were those where Mickey and Sean set up a fag selling business next to the one that Danush supposedly runs. It wasn’t anything they particularly did. It was the thought of Adrian Lester reading his street slag dialogue out loud for the first time at rehearsals that made me chuckle. It was also rather remarkable how putting a baseball cap on him seemed to take at least 10 years off his age.
Robert Glenister’s ‘Dutch’ accent didn’t do him any favours, but he was his usual high standard in other respects. And his reaction to being told the dangers of driving a HGV versus smaller trucks was classic Ash.
Overall, this was a nice counterpoint to the previous story, and while it didn’t provide any genuine shocks to regular watchers of the show, the narrative scam was reasonably well crafted, and the twist was executed late enough for some viewers to have second guessed themselves by then.
I can’t believe we’re heading for the penultimate story in season 7 already! The fact it’s gone so fast probably is indicative of how much I enjoy this show, or is it how few we get each season? Probably a combination of both, as it’s never around long enough to become wholly bored with.
Read our review of episode 3, Clearance From A Deal, here.
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