6. Tomorrow Comes Early
Tomorrow Comes Early was probably the strongest Identity episode. But then, as it could rely on the groundwork of the previous five, it could get down to the unravelling of Bloom’s life without any preamble.
I think if I’d known from the outset that this show was entirely built around Aidan Gillen’s performance as Bloom, then maybe I’d have approached it in a different way, and wondered less why the other characters were getting almost completely ignored.
It starts the unravelling with DS Wareing (Shaun Parkes) observing Bloom finally making fridge space by unloading Atif’s body to some Kurdish hitmen, who then make a very poor attempt to get rid of it. And, within a very short length of time, he’s facing it again with his official hat on.
The underlying tension of this concluding story is just how crazy is Bloom, and will he, like the woman in the previous story, entirely step over into the gangster world he’s been part of for so long?
He’s forced to make that choice when DC Wareing confronts him and Adile’s father abducts Martha to extract from her the truth about ‘Brendan’.
By far, the best scene and acting in the story was the Wareing confrontation, with Shaun Parkes and Aidan Gillen providing some genuine tension, to the point where I wondered if Bloom would actually kill his colleague. They’re both fine actors, although it did seem slightly disappointing, in retrospect, that it took till the final episode for them both to be given the opportunity to show it.
But, having built the tension brilliantly, the ending of the story was something of a let-down, as all Bloom’s dirty linen was conveniently stowed by everyone concerned, each for their own personal motive.
Keeley Hawes’ character is eventually revealed to be a rather desperate and hollow person, whose affection for Bloom has clouded her judgement in the extreme. That doesn’t make her the ideal person to be leading the Identity team, but that’s never even suggested by her colleagues when it’s all revealed. And even when Bloom does the right thing, he doesn’t have Adile arrested for murder, leaving a subtle loose end for her reappearance, should the show get a second run.
The biggest failing of the story, after a very promising first half, was that it ended so neatly, implausibly so for me. I’d hope, if it does return, it can move on to be less Bloom-centric and give some of the minor characters more than walk-on dialogue.
I’m also really curious to see how these stories translate in the US version of the show, and if they subtly change any of the character dynamics.
Overall, Identity had its highs, Pariah being the best story, and its lows, Chelsea Girl, but it never delivered an especially gripping thread throughout. In terms of the subject matter of ‘identity’, it came down to the question of do we know anyone, really?
With the whole aspect of identity theft sidelined pretty early on, it became more about springing surprises on those who’ve bought an identity that turns out to be false.
I think the show’s creator Ed Whitmore can find much more interesting identity stories than we’ve seen so far, and perhaps we’ll get to see some of them in a second series here or an extended one in the USA.
Unlike some other ITV dramas I could mention, this wasn’t a complete bust, and perhaps it needs some more episodes to bloom, for want of a more imaginative pun.
Read our review of episode 5 here.