After peaking somewhat early last week, Identity tried valiantly to keep the momentum going in Reparation, but overall this episode was a mixed bag.
On the upside, the Bloom arc gets more mileage, creating an interesting subtext to the main story and events, which is good because that story seemed, to my mind, to have more plot holes in it than a bullet-riddled wheel of Swiss cheese.
Bansi Dutta (Ramon Tikaram) is on the verge of signing a deal to buy a UK car maker with the backing of the government, except they want to make sure that he’s the person they think he is. Why this is actually important isn’t really covered because, based on his history, you’d think they’d be keen he was someone else. The Identity team is called in to find the truth, although, when they do work it out, nobody in the government wants to actually know.
The entire story is based around the idea that you can have plastic surgery and be made to look identical to someone else, which I had a very hard time accepting. Yes, we’ve seen body doubles for Saddam Hussein and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, but they were people picked for having a natural likeness to begin with. That was a tough sell, but when they started to mix the Bloom story we were expected to swallow some bigger problems than that.
Having been told to kill one of his former crime family associates last week, Bloom actually decides to let him go, but he ends up dead at someone else’s hand, very conveniently. And then driving around with his body in the car (which would surely smell given the length of time it got left in there), the only person who sees it is someone who doesn’t want to garner any extra attention, and so, doesn’t tell the police.
Talk about the luck of the Irish! So, having put Bloom in two very difficult situations he gets out of both by actually doing almost nothing, which I found highly unsatisfactory.
But I’m going to come back to my old chestnut about Identity: character development, which appears to have been entirely forgotten.
With the exception of Aidan Gillen’s Bloom, all the Identity team seem to be purely name place markers, about which we know very little more than their title. Because of this, there’s no edge to their involvement, as we’ve no insight into how they might react in any given situation. This issue all goes back to the scene-setting first episode, but there is little sign that it will be fixed before the season is done.
As if to highlight the character-lite aspect, Keeley Hawes’ boss reappears in this story and spouts the same cliché drivel that he did in the very first story, calling Bloom a “loose cannon”! No shit, Sherlock.
When this show works, it can be quite exciting and tense, but the lack of three-dimensional characters is becoming impossible to ignore. This is a shame, because the whole Bloom story looks like it’s heading to an explosive conclusion that could be given more gravitas if it was supported by a more realistic backdrop.
Read our review of episode 3 here.