Strike: Lethal White Episode 2 Review – I Love You’s and Historical Clues

The Green Dress returns in the second tangled episode of Strike: Lethal White. Spoilers in our review…

Strike: Lethal White episode 2
Photo: BBC Pictures

This Strike: Lethal White Episode 2 review contains spoilers. 

There goes that revenue stream. With Strike’s wealthiest client’s head plastic-wrapped like a fridge-ready ham, how will the agency afford somebody to answer the phones now? The more pressing question, of course, is who killed the old badger? There are more than enough people – including but not limited to his own wife and children – who’d presumably be happy to see Jasper Chiswell breathe his last. Not least among them Geraint Winn, the Labour MP whose fraudulent charity finances were exposed in episode two, giving Chiswell what he needed to shut down Winn’s blackmail. 

Thanks to Strike and Robin’s patented ‘Can I just use your loo’ trick (every series, never fails. If you ever need to keep a secret from these two, for goodness’ sake direct them to the nearest public convenience), we now know that there’s a link between Chiswell and Winn’s two dead children. The odious Freddy and the tragic Rhiannon had beef so posh you can’t even buy it in Waitrose: she took his girlfriend’s place on the fencing team, so he abused her at his 18th birthday ball. Was Freddy’s abuse a factor in Rhiannon’s suicide? Was it really a suicide? 

So many questions, and none of them as important to Strike fans as the first real outing of The Green Dress. If you’ve jumped straight in to series four and skipped The Cuckoo’s CallingThe Silkworm and Career of Evil(no excuse, they’re all on iPlayer), then the significance of The Green Dress requires some explanation. In short, it’s a symbol of Cormoran’s thoughtfulness and raging horn for Robin, being the dress he tried not to notice she looked a total bombshell in and clearly coveted while she was working undercover at a posh frock shop in series one. Strike bought it for her as a thank you, which is why a jealous Matthew didn’t want her to wear it at their housewarming party. The reason Matthew tore the dress when ignoring the definite ‘no’ of a rape survivor this episode, was less to do with jealousy and more to do with the fact that, from his Instagram doorknob photos to his continual belittling of Robin’s professional life, Matthew is awful. 

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And from the look on her face throughout their anniversary weekend, Robin knows it. Unlike Strike and Lorelai, Robin may have said ‘I love you’ back to Matthew this episode, but her eyes said different. Specifically they said: the only reason I didn’t leave you on our honeymoon was because you contracted beach syphilis, you loathsome cheat. I resent you and the prison of our marriage when my true happiness clearly exists only in the office and arms of one Cormoran Strike. 

I’m editorialising, but that was the gist. She has expressive eyes.

Case-wise, episode two was mostly a search for Billy Knight, who’d been locked up by his brother Jimmy to stop him spilling the murder-beans. Billy’s the key to this whole mess, and fingers crossed Cormoran found him and his stab wound in enough time to save his life. Billy recognised the photo of missing-from-care 12-year-old Suki, but said she wasn’t the one he’d seen strangled. Could that mean there are multiple victims? (That answerphone message said ‘They say they piss themselves when they die’) Or could Suki still be alive and in possession of important info?

Raff Chiswell continues to hang around on the pitch but not interfere with play, which is about as suspicious as a character can get halfway through a detective mystery. Does he have it in him to have suffocated his hateful dad to death? Or could Izzy have finally tired of Daddy’s criticism and snapped? And then there’s the wife (Peep Show’s Big Suze!), and the menacing Jimmy Knight, and oh, far too many suspects to put someone in cuffs at this stage.

Speaking of wristwear, by the looks of Charlotte Chapman’s, she’s still hung up on Strike. She may be pregnant with another man’s twins, but that was the bracelet Cormoran bought her on her arm. Between Lorelei’s wistful looks, Charlotte’s lingering desire and Robin dabbing at his wounds with cotton wool soaked in sexual tension, Strike’s allure is working overtime this series. Talk about lethal.

Strike: Lethal White continues on Sunday the 6th of September at 9pm on BBC One.