Warning: this Trigger Point review contains spoilers.
It was lucky they let Wash back to work early. As our point-of-view character, if she hadn’t been reinstated, we could have faced another half hour of lethargic dialogue and vodka dance breakdowns. Instead, it was thankfully on with the Ray-Bans and the ponytail, and on with the show.
Making Wash so central to this story has stymied it. She’s in almost every scene, which sucks the urgency out of the police investigation because any discovery has to be reported to her after the fact rather than made on the spot. Wash’s information gathering (attending briefings, visiting Sonya for the latest on Portland Down, walking through that room where someone’s always shouting “THIS IS YOUR TOP PRIORITY, LET’S GET CRACKING, I WANT RESULTS!”…) has turned into a repetitive, passive routine rather than the pacey series of breakthroughs other crime dramas sweep us up in. Had Trigger Point been an ensemble drama and shown us more from Thom, Karl, Sonya, Danny and the rest of them without Wash always having to be around, the whole thing might zing with more life.
Not venturing out of Wash’s limited perspective is obviously central to maintaining the mystery of who’s working with The Crusaders, but it puts a frustrating set of blinkers on the viewers’ detective work. We can’t say if Thom or Karl is the most likely candidate to be a wrong’un even at this late stage because all we ever see them do is make uninspiring romantic proposals to Wash. Let’s see Thom drop a mystery package off, looking shifty. Let’s see Karl walk past a synagogue or express a view on… anything. Show us John at home. Give us something to work with.
With one episode to go, the finger’s pointing at John Hudson as our inside man. He phoned the number to trigger the university bomb, legged it, and then HMX-319 was discovered at his house. (Imagine seeing that discovery made, rather than hearing about it afterwards. Trigger Point could have afforded to swap at least one of the scenes in which Wash looks mournfully out of a window to involve us in an actual investigation breakthrough).
There has to be more to it. To make next week’s finale at all satisfying, either Thom or Karl must turn out to have been pulling the strings. Can it really turn out that Wash suspected John, wasn’t believed, but was right all along, the end? If John was the one posing as a gas engineer in those houses, why didn’t the surveillance turn up anything? That A to Z could have been doctored to frame him. Perhaps he’s another of The Crusaders’ inadvertent patsies, or they have his mum tied up in a basement somewhere. It rests on who texted him as he emerged from the building, causing him to phone that mobile number.
If the investigation frustrates, then the action still delivers. Episode five gave us not one but two devices – more if you count all the ones hidden behind dusty paint pots in the gas meter cupboards of Caredale Road. That meant twice as many scenes of blue-lights-flashing, urgent radio comms, evacuations, cordons, and Expos looking at bombs and saying “shiiiit”, aka, the Trigger Point drinking game ingredients (drink if: someone mentions the pigstick or the robot, or takes out a tiny mirror on a stick).
Bomb-wise, Wash’s unlucky streak continues, despite the return of her lucky snips. That’s her partner, the mosque, her brother and a South London University auditorium that have all exploded on her watch, with only the Five Oaks device successfully disrupted. No wonder she’s feeling the guilt. As she told the occupational health therapist, her job is to keep people safe, and she hasn’t been able to. The sequence splicing Wash’s counselling session with her approach to the auditorium bomb was neatly done. When Trigger Point leans into its action genre with slick, macho voiceovers accompanied by Chris Roe’s tense musical score (“It’s me and the device. Me and the bomber. Me vs him,”) it really works. Less so the emotional moments. It turns out that Wash numbed by grief isn’t that different from Wash in any other mood.
The penultimate episode left Wash with a mini-mystery to solve, which she handled well, not falling for the bomber’s tricks and rumbling their meter plan. Now she just has to work out how to stop him from releasing the gas before she adds any other names to her guilt-list.
Trigger Point concludes on Sunday the 27th of March at 9pm on ITV1.
Trigger Point concludes on Sunday the 27th of February at 9pm on ITV1.