The Tunnel episode 6 review

Sky Atlantic's The Tunnel is moving into its end-game. Here's James' spoiler-filled review of episode 6...

This review contains spoilers.

Although there was much to like in this episode of The Tunnel, it has begun to feel like the show is settling into a routine for some of its instalments. The Truth Terrorist makes another threat/truth, this week involving injustice within the law’s treatment of young people by setting them on fire. He communicates this to journalist Danny Hillier. Hillier acts like a bit of a dick and Detectives Roebuck and Wassermann race against time to stop TT from completing his latest statement on society and hope to catch him.

It makes for some dramatic TV, of that no one can argue, but after six episodes, we’re beginning to wonder if TT actually has an endgame? The points he, and the show, are making are all valid, even if his methods are extreme and The Tunnel is becoming quite the expert at making us question what we may do put in situations with similar choices facing us but as the series approaches its final episodes, it might be time to move on and give us more of an idea what TT actually wants. Of course, having seen The Bridge, once again I’ve already got a good idea of what he wants, and events this week did nothing to persuade me that the motive in The Tunnel will turn out to be any different, but we’ll do our best to ignore that for now.

There was a very good sequence this week though which brought the whole Stephen Beaumont storyline to a conclusion. It might have been The Tunnel’s equivalent of any story involving Dana Brody in Homeland (i.e. pointless) but it served up a tense showdown on a cross channel ferry for Karl and Elise. Trying to bring in Beaumont after tying him to Gemma (one half of the tunnel body), Elise and Karl tracked him to a ferry where after a stand off in the on-boat restaurant, Beaumont killed himself rather than turn himself over to the Police after he murdered his sister’s boyfriend last week.

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The Tunnel seemed to previously setting up Beaumont to be a potential candidate for The Truth Terrorist but in his final scenes, the show went out of its way to prove it wasn’t going to be him. Beaumont’s shambling attempt at a getaway in no way resembled that of TT’s highly organised manner. Stephen’s exit from the show was at least a better outcome than his equivalent in The Bridge though, where the character’s resolution didn’t ring true at all. Even so, having him shuffle off before Karl and Elise could properly get their hands on him felt a little disappointing. Perhaps Stephen Beaumont may still have something to offer the story in death.

So with that avenue bloodily closed off, Karl and Elise had no choice but to pursue TT’s latest, youth orientated lesson. The setting on fire of youths who have been possibly unfairly treated by the justice system was certainly a harsh lesson. Again, TT showed an extraordinary measure of intelligence with a phosphorous mixture that ignites when it makes contact with oxygen to create the effect of spontaneous combustion. Yes, this was once used on an episode of Midsomer Murders but maybe TT is a fan? These horrific acts take place in CCTV covered areas; once again lending credence to the idea that this is a media show which The Truth Terrorist is performing.

The Policeman kidnapped at the end of last week’s episode was here brought face to face with the brother of the boy he claimed he was manipulated to kill. This week’s moral conundrum was what would you do if you had the opportunity to kill someone who had done such harm to your family?

We got lots of lines like “No one can be made to murder” as Laurent Belmont protested his sort of innocence to a boy being manipulated by TT into dousing a man in petrol and threatening to light a match. These were some really excellent scenes between Belmont and Medhi Chiffri’s brother and then father. The background music in these scenes, a just audible piano lent them a really eerie quality. Dimitri Rataud, who portrayed Belmont, gave one of the show’s most powerful moments so far when he couldn’t give Chiffri’s father a reason not to kill him. Belmont was suffering far more in life for what he’d done than he would in death. Chiffri’s father saw this and TT’s plan was foiled, for a moment at least. Fleeing the scene of his captivity, Belmont was promptly gunned down by a man wearing Police riot gear. A man we can safely assume was TT.

This week’s big reveal was that The Truth Terrorist might well be a Policeman. The knowledge he displayed on the youths in his latest “truth” contained classified Police information. We’d had hints of this before, the stun gun used to abduct Jean Claude was Police issue and he hacked into the Police network to broadcast his online show, and now he can seemingly lay his hands on a set of riot gear threads. When Karl and Elise worked this out, you finally felt like it was TT’s first mistake, although given the meticulous nature he’s planned his scheme with so far, you wonder if it’s all by design.

No episode of The Tunnel would be complete without a bit of time spent with our leads, Karl and Elise, and their ongoing troublesome understanding of each other’s way. Karl is definitely on edge this week after his infidelity during episode five and the revelation that wife Laura was expecting. This part of the story does feel a little bit rushed really. Laura jumped to the, admittedly the correct, conclusion about Karl extremely quickly before kicking him out, and Karl didn’t seem all that bothered. Then again, he did just find his son in a state of undress at Elise’s apartment.

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The in car conversation that followed was skin crawlingly awkward. Elise was unable to comprehend why Karl was so upset about finding Adam with her and why it was any of his business what she did in her private life. She actually had a really good point. Elise had never asked what happened when Karl visited Charlotte, thought we suspect she knew.

The change we’ve seen in these characters in the last couple of episodes has been a joy to watch. Karl has revealed himself to be a slippery, double standards liar while his partnership with Elise has mellowed her closed off persona somewhat. At this stage we’re verging on Elise becoming the more normal of the two. Okay, well that might be stretch but she’s certainly the more logical of the two at this point in the investigation.

As The Tunnel moves into its final phase, it seems to be assembling its players and pieces for the big finish. Though at times it’s been frustratingly crowded and wouldn’t have suffered with a character trim here and there, episode six while formulaic in part, had some great moments and felt like a small but definite step forward to seeing the whole picture of this complex puzzle.

Read James’ review of the previous episode, here.