This review contains spoilers.
There was a certain element of stalling for time during The Tunnel this week. After the Truth Terrorist seemingly wrapped up his final loose end with the execution of Danny Hillier at the conclusion to last week’s instalment, we’d have expected The Tunnel to be all business from now on, rather than trying to wrong foot us with red herrings that wouldn’t fool anyone.
It’s highly unlikely that anyone watching The Tunnel was ever as convinced as Elise Wassermann was that former Policeman Fabian Vincent could be TT. Vincent, who’d been investigating ZP Holdings, the company the Police connected to Policeman Laurent Delgado, whom TT had used and then gunned down a couple of episodes back, didn’t ever seem like a viable suspect from the moment we met him. Nowhere near athletic enough, the real nail in the coffin of this suspicion was when he revealed himself to have an accomplice. Thankfully, Elise restored our faith in her by also realising at this time that Vincent wasn’t the Truth Terrorist, as TT worked alone.
Despite tying in Alain Joubert – the guy who got pushed under a train in episode two, remember that? – the Vincent sub plot didn’t lend very much to the overall arc of The Tunnel at all, and it did feel as though the programme makers were trying to pad out this episode to fill the hour.
Elsewhere though there was some good stuff in this week’s Tunnel, which helped lift the episode away from the rather pedestrian Vincent storyline, though that did at least bring us the wonderful sight of Clemence Posey discharging her firearm at an oncoming car for an exciting opening scene.
Still not feeling as though it’s thrown enough characters into the mix, we had the arrival of Andrea, an anti-terrorist operative drafted in by the powers that be to help apprehend TT, and with a history with Karl Roebuck. Well spoken but with a fondness for dropping the F-bomb, the Andrea character provided some amusement with Elise, who summed up that she was “rude”, which in turn was highly amusing to Karl, given who the judgment came from.
The most interesting plot strand this week was by far Roebuck’s investigation into journalist Danny Hillier, though it did make you wonder why they hadn’t done something like this while he was alive. With the revelation that Hillier’s name had previously been Giles Haddock and the further reveal that he’d been involved in the accidental death of the wife and child of former Policeman (now the prime suspect group) Kieran Ashton who’d then committed suicide, and whose wife had also been sleeping with Karl (seriously Karl?, you need to see someone about that!), this had all the markings of a story development that was going to matter. This, of course, made the Vincent stuff seem even more distant so while it was a very nice twist, it didn’t do this episode total favours.
With the subsequent twist thrown in towards the episode’s end that Ashton was still alive, The Tunnel seemed to be dropping anvil-heavy hints that this man is going to turn out to be the Truth Terrorist, rather than keep us in the wild guessing game that it has done for the past eight weeks. If that wasn’t enough, a final scene seemed to suggest that the final two episodes are not going to be the whodunnit that we’ve been expecting to unfold, but perhaps something altogether more sinister, and personal.
Before we get there though, no weekly Tunnel review can be complete without checking in on the progress of the relationship between Detectives Roebuck and Wassermann. For much of the first half of this episode it was a few nice moments between these two personally, or on the phone together, which kept it moving along. There’s been a definite warming to each other that’s evident now. When the anti-terrorist lady arrives, Elise shows a much more united front with Karl than she may have previously and there was a really nice moment when she makes what might even be approaching a joke to Karl behind Andrea’s back.
Karl still can’t resist an odd sly dig at Elise and her ways, asking her if she had to write on her hand to remember to ask him how his wife is but whereas at one time this was done with frustration, it now seems laced with affection. We’ll come to Karl in a moment, but Elise did seem to have something of a breakthrough this week when after she was abducted by Vincent, the cops hauled in her sometime overnight friend, Gael, for questioning. Upon finding this out we saw Elise actually show something that may have been compassion for Gael and an awkward conversation between the two.
Gael isn’t giving up on Elise despite her insistence that “People don’t change. Ever”. While Karl wishes Gael “Good luck with that”, it seems that via Roebuck and Gael, Elise may finally be letting her defences drop a little, even if she doesn’t want to. The series has seen an interesting change in the character since the beginning which Clemence Posey has portrayed so well.
Karl has also undergone a transformation since the start of the series, though this one is arguably not for the better. Stephen Dillane and Angel Coulby have been excellent in the last couple of episodes, dealing with the fall out from Karl’s infidelity. A bit of progress was made this week when Karl rushed to his wife’s bedside after a pregnancy complication but later she showed she’s far from forgiving him. There was a hint that Laura had in the past been one of Karl’s indiscretions, as though she’s been waiting for this to happen. That would certainly be in keeping with how quickly she became suspicious of his actions.
He may not know it yet, but it seems like Karl is going to have a pretty big problem soon with charming, computer game addict John Sumner, whose been hanging around Laura like a bad smell since “accidentally” driving into her car. James Frain who is playing Sumner is carrying that lovely balance of quiet charm with disarming self deprecation. In a lot of ways, the character is very similar to Karl Roebuck. It’s no wonder then that Laura is falling under his spell.
It was a little surprising when The Tunnel dispelled with some of the mystery behind the Sumner character in this week’s cliffhanger, when it was revealed that he’s been posing as Karl’s son Adam’s ex-girlfriend online. While this was a nice twist, the episode did foreshadow it by having Adam explain to his father all about his online friend in a scene which felt slightly out of place. The surprise was more that they hadn’t saved this for next week’s penultimate episode finale.
The Tunnel pussyfooted about a lot this week but came good in the end to deliver some story that posed a number of new questions. With only a couple of weeks to go, we can probably rest assured that these questions will matter. Is Kieran Ashton the Truth Terrorist? Is John Sumner the Truth Terrorist? Is Kieran Ashton John Sumner?
By now it’s 100% clear that the series is going for the same final resolution as The Bridge, so I have a good idea of the answer to all those questions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about seeing how The Tunnel is going to play out though. The series has delivered enough quality moments to make me believe that there should be a gripping conclusion.
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