This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
Marcella Season 2, Episode 4
Marcella series two is so unrelentingly grim that in place of the News at Ten, ITV should air palate-cleansing repeats of Animals do the Funniest Things. Only safari park monkeys pulling the wing mirrors off a Mitsubishi Shogan can relieve us of the discomfort of this grubby story.
Episode four was so lacking in hope or kindness that watching it felt like being kicked down the stairs. Every plot development was a new boot to the gut. Brave Little Adam got away!And was immediately hit by a train. Some good Samaritans tried to help him! And were summarily smashed to bits. Teenage Edward was tied up and threatened with rape by Phil Dawkins, the most cartoonish, scornfully unpleasant character on TV since Skeletor. “You’re not even my type,” Phil sneered as he undressed. No, he wasn’t able to carry out his nasty plan, but it all made for very dubious entertainment all the same.
Episode four must have overheard me pondering last week whether life could possibly get any worse for Marcella. ‘You bet!’ it answered cheerily, ‘look!’ Poor Anna Friel must be exhausted portraying all that woe. Not only does our lead currently have more fugue episodes than lightweight knit jumpers, she’s also being gaslighted about them by her ex.
What’s going on with Jason? He’s been so unreasonably, baselessly horrible to Marcella that he must be trying to break the world record for most unfair treatment of a wife. It’s mere months since he broke Marcella’s heart with that three-year affair and she saved his life from a serial killer. As she rightly told him this week, “it’s me who should hate you.” Just goes to show – never trust a lawyer.
Never trust anyone is Marcella’s rule, who has not a single confidante or humanising friend (what’s happened to Nina Sosanya’s DCI Porter?). When she realises that Techy Mark is spying on her through her webcam, she doesn’t ask why or thank him for saving Edward, just smashes his head against a table and uses it to blackmail him into finding blackmail material on Jason and Becky. Marcella’s still forgotten that she already has the perfect dirt on Jason in the murder of series one town planner Andrew Barnes.
This series is full of frustrations of that sort. Little Adam’s medically induced coma is an overused stalling tactic in detective drama. “They’re not going to wake him up, not yet,” said Rav, his eyes silently adding ‘We’re only on episode four of eight.’ Little Adam will wake up when the time is right, namely, just before an ad break, in time to drop a bombshell about Discman’s identity.
Or should we say… Discwoman? At the halfway point, Marcella series two has introduced two new characters: a vet and her girlfriend in need of cash to start another round of IVF. Vet Jojo (Bodies’ Tamzin Malleson) is desperate for a baby, but her girlfriend is worried about the strain it’s putting her under. We meet Jojo wearing blue surgical gloves and drawing liquid into a needle from a vial, two things we’ve also seen Disc-person do. She also has a connection to Kidscall, where her partner works, giving her access to the already-being-abused victims.
That could all be a red herring of course, but something tells me that Marcella wouldn’t necessarily be above the tedious cliché of making its serial child abductor a woman driven mad by infertility. That said, because of Joel’s scar, we can assume Disc-person has been in operation for a good few years. Would Jojo be old enough to have started with him? Perhaps not.
A better bet might be Alan Summers (Bodies’ Keith Allen. Have you watched Bodies? It’s brilliant). You need only look at his candlestick choices to know that he’s into the occult. And when Reg wanted to confess all to the police, Alan told him he wasn’t prepared to go to prison and gave him a silent look that said ‘Tsk. I’m going to have to smother you to death with a cushion in the next episode, aren’t I?’ I wouldn’t put stabbing a lorry driver in the eye past him.
Or could Disc-person be spiralling millionaire Vince Whitman? He took an unusual shine to fourteen-year-old boxer Karim this week. Is Vince’s interest in the boy that of a bereaved father seeking a replacement for his affection, or that of a lascivious child-abuser? In the mucky world of Marcella, you just never know.
Seriously ITV, Animals do the Funniest Things. Please. The news can wait.