WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3.
In our review of episode 3 of ITV1’s newest drama Cheat, we ran through the main questions we wanted to be answered from its climax. Thankfully, there were no cliffhangers and we ran into the credits fully satisfied…
It was touch and go for a while as to who really killed Leah’s lecturer husband and who would end up in prison for the crime. While it seemed obvious that Rose was responsible, things are rarely as they seem in TV crime dramas. So there was every chance that the rug was going to be pulled from under us. But, alas, no. It really was Rose.
In the end, she served two years in prison after convincing everyone that she had acted in self-defence. But it wasn’t until the end of this last slice of the Cheat pie that she confessed in full to Leah that it was flat-out cold-blooded murder. She did so behind glass in jail, so she’ll have been hoping no one was recording the conversation…
As for the final scene…? Sorry to bang this drum YET AGAIN, but what is it with all the pet killing in TV crime dramas at the moment?! It seems almost par for the course that the bad guy will stab a dog or cat at some point. Cheat’s first episode saw Rose killing Leah and Adam’s cat. And the very final scene here had Rose’s infatuated uni porter henchman Ben Jarvis (Game of Thrones’ Burn Gorman) knifing Leah’s non-biological father’s Labrador, Hunter – before presumably doing similar with the man himself. Someone needs to get the RSPCA involved in these things… We might start a petition.
So, then. ‘Cheat’. Adam was a cheat. Michael was a cheat. But did Rose cheat on her dissertation? Okay, so it doesn’t really matter all that much. Calls us pernickety but we quite wanted to find that out. Ah, well. Never mind.
All other loose ends were tied up nicely here in the final episode. But with the big reveal coming in Wednesday night’s Cheat, there was a vague feeling here that a little of the tension and drama had been lost somewhat. The quality was still there, though, so very few viewers will themselves have felt cheated by the events of this conclusion.
That said, there’s an argument to be made that avoiding schlocky twists-for-the-sake-of-twists lends a drama a certain air of assurance and maturity. Surprise endings can be fun, but they can often veer into the ridiculous and betray the previous hours viewers invested in the thing. There was none of that here though as we got a resolution that made sense, even if it may have resulted in a slight lack of wow factor. So kudos to Cheat – and its writer Gaby Hull – for that.
So we’ve seen more tense and dramatic finales on television before. But overall? This was another solid week of high-end drama from ITV. Much like Matthew Arlidge and Chris Lang’s 2018 4-nights-in-a-row Innocent, Cheat’s tale of obsession, betrayal, infidelity, manipulation, revenge and murder kept us gripped all week.
Keep up the good work, ITV.
Did you catch Cheat episode 4 on ITV1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…