Well, this was a bit odd, wasn’t it?
To be fair, I watched the two episodes back-to-back a week later; but if I’d been confined to watching it on telly at the time it aired, it probably would have irked me to have my usual Lewis format cut in half and taken away from me.
As it is, I don’t really mind much.
What I do mind, however, is that Hathaway’s bout of existential flu is getting worse. His unhappiness and dissatisfaction from last series linger on; and Lewis isn’t quite sure what to do, except to sit with him when he asks. That Hathaway is more open about wanting to stay with Robbie, but away from the station, than he was the last time they did this is a good sign for their companionship—but the fact remains that James won’t be able to do this job much longer. While Lewis seems to be getting better, James seems to be getting steadily worse. This is the second witness in the span of a few episodes that he loses, he specifically. After losing Briony in Generation of Vipers, he now orders the CCTV footage playback to be stopped before having to watch himself watch Vicky die, unable to help her. He won’t be a copper much longer, he can’t—we know that this is the last series, Lewis will be leaving soon. It’s abundantly clear that James’ declaration of “If you go, I go,” still holds true; for complex reasons. He doesn’t want to keep doing this job without Lewis anyway, and it’s only Lewis who prevents him from chucking it in right now. But it’s not just about not getting along with anyone else but Lewis, it’s not just about knowing Lewis is the only one who gets him and who can guide him; it’s about the fact that James cannot do this job anymore. He keeps losing other people and bits of himself, and he needs to get out. And if Lewis doesn’t find the right words, he will leave the Thamesvalley Police believing himself to be a failure yet again.
All that talk about losing someone, though—I just noted how Lewis seems to have gotten better; but I’d rather not imagine what losing James to that syringe would have done to him. Whenever Robbie unpacks the cop humour towards the end of the episode, we know he’s properly upset.
Was that one twist too many, one turn too far ’round the corner? I’m not entirely sure. There seemed to have been a lot of sidelines, and one or two may have been unnecessary filler. Frank attacking Justine, did that really have to happen? Normally, I love the tangents, they’re just what Lewis does, as a show—maybe I just couldn’t stand the guy and kept getting angry when he turned up again and again. Also, good God, there’s red herrings everywhere!
This case is a mess of ego and pride tipped against loss and revenge, all bundled up in monstrous anger. People are very angry everywhere you look, lost hopes and dashed dreams all over the place; mostly parents’ ruined dreams for their children. There’s Poppy and Josh’s mum, wanting her kids to be exceptional in ways they have no desire to fulfil, and no duty to. Over that, she grew bitter, and her self-centred reaction to Poppy’s refusal to accept her help is a result of that. On the other side of that scale, there’s Katherine Dutta, vengeful protector of her daughter’s legacy. (At which point I could leisurely launch into a lecture on the Monstrous Feminine and the fact that her relentless and merciless killing of anyone who’s in her way is built upon motherhood and emotional motives rather than the financial and professional career motivations associated with suspects like Professor Clare.)
And it all converges on Reuben Beatty, also known as Randolph James; who could have saved himself and his family a lot of stress and misery if he’d just bloody well opened his mouth.
Next episode: The Ramblin’ Boy.