Scott & Bailey: S03E04 + S03E05 (Cradle + Witness).

Previously on Scott & Bailey: Episode 3.

Oh. Oh. That… was amazing.

I really enjoyed that Scott and Bailey got the chance to pull a proper two-parter with this one. Since I’m very busy at the moment, I didn’t get to view and review the two episodes separately, but what I remember thinking in between episodes that Episode 4 did a great job of leading the way for Episode 5. With two-parters, there must be the urgent questions that the audience want answers to, but at the same time, not leaving itself entirely too wide open. There’s only so much you can tie up in roughly 45 minutes.

Anyway, Helen Bartlett is back, and everyone’s in trouble. Unearthing lifeless remains in her parents’ cellar and floorboards (underneath their bedroom, oh for the love of—that bit creeped me out so much—well, the entire story creeped me out) forces DSI Dodson (Pippy Haywood) to bring in another syndicate, and the plot may have gone teetering on the edge of a narrative knife for second if not for the excellent handling of several lines of inquiry and subplots by head writer Sally Wainwright. The case was well-structured and well-narrated, what with more bodies turning up, plus Phil Cairns, a victim who survived the ordeal, as a crucial witness to the case; who also helps drawing a more conclusive statement out of Helen.  It’s still not clear who’s kidnapping Gill at the beginning of Episode 1, and I’ve still got my money on Helen, who wasn’t happy that CPS decided to charge her with preventing a proper burial after all. Nicola Walker is magnificent returning to her role as Helen, she gets to show her more out and about, and there are just so many nuances and little mannerisms to her Helen that are brilliant to watch. It’s a joy to have her back, not only as an actress, but for the character to form part of a series arc is great. It seems more and more likely that the resolution of Gill’s abduction will have to wait until the series finale, and I’m looking forward to seeing whether Helen will be a part of that full circle.

Now to the subplots:

At work, there’s the introduction of the new Sergeant (and Janet’s disappointment with herself at not having spoken to Gill sooner about eventually wanting it after her mother moved in with her and the girls), Rob Waddington, who seems to be a genuinely lovely and smart bloke, if still green behind the ears. I’m sure he’ll make a great addition to the team, though; I like him. What else there is: a mole hunt is underway. Someone has been leaking information to the press; and I know that the writers probably want us to think that it’s Kevin, for all his mouthing off to Rob, and he would be my first suspect, but that’s likely too easy. I can’t see either Mitch, Pete, or Lee taking backhanders, though. (It did say in the press pack that Kevin’s bitterness over having failed his sergeant’s exams would set him up for some bad behaviour…) Pete’s got other problems, too: Sharon, Rachel’s mum, is unashamedly blackmailing him. Well, just the once so far, but who’s to say that she won’t keep that going? I’m reasonably sure she didn’t shag him with that in mind, but the opportunism is… infuriating.

A bit that I love-love-loved in Episode 5: Mitch bursting into the bullpen, excited up to his ears that Rachel finally caught Joe Bevan out in a lie. He’s not just glad that they can finally close the case, but his praise of Rachel’s work warms the cockles of my heart; especially after Rachel thinking she’d screwed up in Episode 4 (though that, actually, yielded a surprise confession from Bevan; except not the no-holds-barred one they’d been hoping for).

Rachel herself is in big trouble at home: after spending four nights in a row sleeping at the station, she’s finally explained to Sean that she doesn’t want to be married anymore. Well, ‘explained’ may be a euphemism, she didn’t exactly go into her reasons, except for wanting to be on her own. I think Sean would have understood better if she’d explained why she married him for the wrong reasons—or at least he might have forgiven her a little more easily. Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator, and Rachel was terrified. She did the wrong thing and she messed up, but she was also terrified of being alone. Then again, Sean probably would have stayed with her if she’d called it off early enough and explained that it’s too soon; but she couldn’t have known that for sure. The fact remains that Sean changed his life for her while she knew that she wasn’t doing right by him, and he’s got every right to be angry. (I just don’t want to see him become vicious or vindictive, I hate that; and I’ve seen enough of it from Andy last series.) In extreme situations, however, people make mistakes and stupid decisions. Rachel knew what she was doing, she knew on her wedding day that she shouldn’t go through with it, but once you’ve dug yourself that deep, how do you find the courage to throw the shovel away? Not making any excuses, not offering anything else besides, ‘I messed up,’ is also her way of punishing herself. She knows that, if she gave Sean the ‘My brother just got sent down for murder,’ he’d be sure to soften at least slightly, and she doesn’t want that. She feels she deserves his unreserved scorn, and she’s got it. He also says he’ll still be there when she changes her mind—Sean, she won’t; quite possibly because you made one crucial mistake. Telling Rachel that what she perceived your marriage to be—in short, a mistake and a failure—was only in her head was a bad idea. Of course sometimes people get things wrong, sometimes things are just in their heads, but… realising that you yourself do not want to be in that marriage, of course that has to do with your own head. Sean can’t have believed that everything was going perfectly fine until then, can he?

Next: Episode 6.

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