“It’s gonna take more than one ambulance to mop up this lot,” says paramedic Kay (Phoebe Fox) in an early episode of Curfew, Sky’s gripping street racing drama about an annual dash across a dystopian Britain.
With more than two dozen competitors driving in a way that, let’s say, would horrify purveyors of the Highway Code, there are casualties along the way. Quite a few of them, actually, helped along by the show’s infected ‘mooks’ – and most of the deaths represent seismic plot twists, because this is a series that doesn’t play favourites when it comes to who gets out alive.
With all eight episodes of Curfew available to binge watch now on Sky and NOW TV, we’ve collected the show’s most significant deaths in one place. From now on, just call us the ‘road killers’ – and, yes, expect massive juicy SPOILERS. Ready? Set? Let’s go…
It’s the first big shock of the series, and a hugely effective one because, for the majority of the first episode, we’ve followed dad-of-two Simon Donahue (Adrian Lester) as he prepares for the race. Nerdy and earnest, he’s a likeable guy we’re looking forward to following as he battles his way through mooks and wacky racers.
But when daughter Meg (Jessye Romeo) decides to bail, hopping in the car with boyfriend Zane (Elijah Rowen), Simon is forced to go outside during nightfall to try to stop them. First attempting to reason with them, he then resorts to jumping onto the car bonnet and refusing to let go until they agree to stay. He didn’t reckon with Zane slamming on the brakes to unhook him, though, and Simon is sent somersaulting into the middle of the road.
“I think I broke my glasses,” he says after getting to his feet – only to be tackled by a dark shape that proceeds to gut him by the roadside. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we’re introduced to both the show’s terrifying ‘mooks’ and its ‘spare no-one’ ethos.
In one of the show’s best bits of nostalgia casting, Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens) pitches up in episode two as the brilliantly named Roadkill Jim. We meet him in the holding bay before the race kicks off, where he then proceeds to tell Roman (Ike Bennett) the tragic story of his dog, Bob, who died when Jim was 14 years old.
It’s a hilariously tongue-in-cheek moment that winks at hangdog genre tropes and plays up Roadkill Jim as a cliche ‘bad boy’ who, we assume, will reveal hidden depths as the show progresses. And all seems well when the race begins, as Jim shoots off through London, immediately taking first place.
As he revs, he gazes adoringly at a photo of his old dog stuck to the dash, but then BAM!, something spider-cracks his windscreen. Jim looks down at his bloody chest and realises he’s been hit by a security sniper – roadblocks have been set up at all of London’s bridges to prevent racers from participating in the event.
Jim slumps forward in his seat, and his car ricochets across Tower Bridge, exploding into an impressive fireball. All that’s left behind is his scorched vanity license plate – ROADKILL. What a ride!
The General Falls
When you cast Sean Bean in your show, you’ve got to having something pretty clever up your sleeve if you’re planning on killing him off – this is the guy, after all, who’s memorably died in just about everything, most shockingly at the end of Game Of Thrones’ first season.
So it’s all-but-expected that his Curfew character, the General, will bite the bullet at some point. That moment finally comes in episode three, which cleverly plays with audience anticipation as the General attempts to pass through a police check point undetected, taking with him his pregnant girlfriend Faith (Rose Williams).
At numerous points, it seems the General is about to come a cropper, but the moment finally arrives when Faith decides she needs to ditch the General and race alone, because his fiery temper has already nearly got them both killed.
“You seriously think I would let you steal my child?” General rages. “I will hunt you down–” BLAM, the General takes a bullet in the head, as Faith demonstrates she really will do anything to keep her baby alive, even killing its father – what a twist! Jumping into the car, she revs off into the distance, leaving the General to bleed into the tarmac.
In the same episode, perhaps the show’s most jaw-dropping deaths occur. We meet Faith as a young woman as she babysits four children. This is a much younger, more naive Faith, free from tattoos and black eye-liner. Think Laurie Strode for the next generation.
When the youngest kid, Maxie, goes outside at night to fetch the family dog, Scooby, he’s scratched by something in the dark. Faith finds him in the garden, hurt and in shock. Freaking out, she takes him, his sister and two brothers into the basement, and tells them to lock the door after her as she goes off to check the house is secure. But then the kids start screaming…
We don’t see what happens to them, but anybody who’s watched a zombie film knows that if you lock people in a room with somebody who’s been bitten, they won’t be around for very long.
Worse by far is what happens afterwards. While the kids’ bodies are being removed from the house, their pregnant mother returns home and, discovering all four of her children are dead, shoots herself in the head in a dramatic twist.
At The Farm
Even when you know a character is guaranteed to bite it, Curfew executes them in a way that ensures you gasp out loud. Take this jump-out-of-seat moment.
Stuck with a busted engine, mother and daughter Lou (Miranda Richardson) and Hanmei (Thaddea Graham) seek help at a farm (Dead Water Farm, if you must know, which doesn’t exactly bode well, does it?). Turned away by the farmer, they’re instead helped by the farmer’s teen daughter, who lets them into the cow shed so they can take the engine they need.
In the middle of an emotional chat about the “wisdom of cows”, though, the young woman is unexpectedly jerked back through the shed door, and dragged away into the darkness by a mook, screaming for her life. It’s a great jump scare and a horribly unfair demise.
Every zombie story has that moment when a character is bitten and must choose between covering up the wound and putting their loved ones at risk, or doing the right (painful) thing and leaving their loved ones behind to face the inevitable transformation alone.
When Ruby (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) is used as a chew toy by an injured mook, she does the right thing and gets out of the car, wishing the other passengers luck.
Outside, the infection takes hold and she retches, her fingernails splitting as she screams in agony.
She uses her final moments wisely, though, apologising to her sister Kay (Phoebe Fox) for a past misdeed, making amends and revealing the truth of the situation. “Time for you to step away now,” Lou (Miranda Richardson) tells Kay, who takes Ruby’s gun and shoots her sister. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
We get an insight into just how unhinged the General (Sean Bean) is during a flashback to a bank heist, where he holds up the entire building at gunpoint.
Everything seems to be going off without a hitch until the General sneezes, and a bank teller makes the mistake of saying “bless you”.
“Bless me?” the General demands, “Bless me?!” Losing his cool as usual, he finds the offending teller and, after a tense moment, unloads his rifle into the teller’s chest. He doesn’t stop there, though, taking out the hostages still cowering on the floor in a brutal scene that’s perfectly in keeping with the General’s insane personality. Plus, it’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek spin on that “funny how?” scene from Goodfellas.
There are two of these in Curfew, but the best one takes place at a rain-drenched gas station in the series finale, where most of the surviving characters all butt heads, desperate to make it to the finishing line, except an in-labour Faith’s pulled a gun, prompting Meg to produce her own weapon, aiming it directly at Faith.
“You do not point guns at pregnant women!” says Lou, which is a lesson Meg learns the hard way when, in a moment of carnage, everybody’s guns suddenly go off.
Lou and Faith are injured, while Meg takes two bullets to the chest, and her hippy drippy boyfriend Zane also goes down for the count. It’s darkly funny and completely unexpected, which is something Curfew does right again and again.