In one of Aesop’s most well-known and well-loved fables, a determined tortoise beats an arrogant hare in a running race. The moral of the story being a mixture of ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and ‘don’t get too cocky’. Now, imagine if you will that TV crime dramas are in a race. A good percentage of those taking part take the hare’s approach – showy, all pace, no plan and giving off a very definite air of unearned confidence. Whereas the programmes that ultimately win the race, and the critics’ and public’s affection, are the clever and slow plodders that pace themselves and provide consistent entertainment.
Basically, what we’re saying is that BBC Four’s new Welsh crime drama Hidden is a tortoise. But in the most complimentary way possible, you understand.
We can’t help think that the deliberate and unrushed approach that the show takes could come across as more than a little dull or uninteresting in the wrong hands. Luckily for us though, co-creators Ed Talfan and Mark Andrew’s hands are more than capable of creating a tense and engaging drama that not only works as a crime thriller but also resonates as a realistic and adept family drama as well. Episode 3 proves that point from the off, luxuriating assuredly in a good ten or fifteen minutes of non-murdery action.
We start with Cadi having a sit down with her frosty sister Elin, exchanging barbs and digs as they try in vain to discuss their situation, given their dad’s rapidly declining health. Resentments bubble under the surface but ultimately stay there. We then cut to victim Mali’s family as they continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened to her. That’s a quarter of the third instalment without even mention of the central crime or search for the ma responsible.
The police procedural elements soon kick back into life though and remember we’re dealing with a determined female detective in a picturesque rural location tracking down a twisted criminal because Cadi puts on a thick piece of knitwear right out of the wardrobe of Sarah Lund from The Killing. The kind of chunky pullover that screams ‘no-nonsense woman looking for a nutter!’
Before DI Cadi John and her partner Owen track down the man behind the kidnappings and deaths, the rangy and sallow figure of Dylan Harris, there are a few red herrings to deal with first. Nurse Lowri – the young woman who narrowly escaped a snatching attempt at the end of last week’s episode – leads them to her rather unpleasant ex Marc Lewis – a man who, in one three minute scene in his cell, manages to refer to three separate women as ‘bitches’. As you can imagine, this didn’t go down well with Cadi, who was only too pleased to restrain Marc with some force before carrying on her investigation.
Soon, Cadi and Owen realise that the Lewis lead is a duff one – albeit one which eventually leads them to stumble across Dylan Harris, who we later find slumped asleep in his car post-failed Lowri attack. In an eventful day for the oddly sympathetic abductor and killer of young women, Dylan then gets sacked for appearing late again, punches his truck window in with his bare fist, gets it patched up at hospital (by Cadi’s sister Elin, no less), runs over Megan on his way home and then takes her home to ‘look after her’. It’s all go in the world of psychopaths, isn’t it?
We’ve been waiting to see how Megan fits into Hidden and it seems that she is indeed the next captive of the twisted Harris family. Besieged by her own mental health issues, how will she cope? Will she draw upon some mental fortitude and use her smarts to escape or even stay alive? We’ll have to wait and see. We won’t get any answers soon, though. Hidden’s the tortoise, not the hare, remember.
Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 3? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!