This review contains spoilers.
An old friend from Leighton’s past shows up in Lochnafoy and wants to relive their violent youth. Annie’s forced to investigate Leighton further when his alibi for Niall Swift’s murder proves to be a bit dodgy and Alan is dragged into the situation. Craig Petrie is invited back for further questioning when it is revealed that it is his handwriting on the newspaper, but manages to rile up Blake a little too much. A hair is found on the inside of the van that Jonjo’s body showed up in and the van itself appears with its driver on old CCTV footage.
The Leighton subplot spectacularly came to a head this week as his old in partner in crime, Oliver Tench, makes his way up to Lochnafoy and makes it quite clear he wants the pair to resume their old ways. William Ash has coped admirably with some stodgy dialogue so far and gets to go full tilt into the tortured ex-con act this week. Baffling and seemingly unrelated as this whole plotline was, it made for a tense finale as Leighton confronted Tench on a mountain as Alan bled in the background.
Alan’s near-confession to Annie was also something of a curveball. He’s been a pretty minor character thus far, seemingly there to be a bit cheery when Annie was trying to be serious and do her job. In the law of television murder mysteries, that puts him in the frame for knowing something about the murders, if not being involved himself. The Loch has stuck pretty closely to the genre rule book so far, so I would not be too surprised if this turned out to be the case.
Last week had a wobbly relationship with time, but this one seemed to suffer from everyone sort of forgetting that there is a serial killer on the loose. Everybody seemed remarkably lax about personal safety. Police officers are going around on their own, teenagers are still wandering about all over the place, and a generally relaxed attitude to the whole affair. I know life must go on and all that, but I can’t help thinking that such a small place with such a calculating murderer should probably be a little more on its guard.
Mostly, this episode felt like a detour from the main event, another way of throwing out a red herring in Leighton (again) and lining us up for the big finale. It’s a good showcase for Ash and Laura Fraser in particular, who are both adept at conveying a wealth of subtext about their friendship in a concerned glance. However, it still doesn’t feel like a plot strand that is particularly tied into what is going on elsewhere, other than positioning Leighton as a likely suspect.
As a result, apart from Craig Petrie (shout out to Alastair McKenzie, once again on fabulously nefarious form) who drags up something surprising from Blake’s past, none of the other suspects got much of a look in. Dr Marr has a brief encounter with Evie, but is absent for the most of the episode. The comatose-but-not-actually Jordan briefly appears again for an outdoor jaunt and it’s still not clear what importance he has in the ongoing events. There’s also a teenager wandering around shooting rabbits which again, with a serial killer roaming around, doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.
Given that we have two episodes left, it’s probably time The Loch started answering some of the questions that it keeps throwing at us. That poor man is still at the bottom of the loch and it feels like we’re no closer to knowing who put him there. Why did Leighton insist it was a community of lies? Where is Bethan and what did Dr Marr do? And can we please get more of John Sessions being grumpy?
Read Becky’s review of the previous episode here.