Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 8? Read Steve’s review of episode 7 here.
The following review contains spoilers
‘What’s that old saying? “It’s the hope that kills”?’
‘Blunt force trauma and strangulation kills, Rosalind.’
‘Well, if you’re going to be pedantic…’
The confident, mature and thoughtful first series of Dublin Murders was all about identity, facing the traumas of the past and moving on from them while retaining a true sense of self. Okay, it was also about a little murdered girl and the lives of some police detectives and locals, but eight hours allow for more than a little subtext and storytelling, doesn’t it?
With the finale now aired, viewers who prefer more linear and neatly-packaged drama may have been left a little wanting as the end credits rolled. But those of us that are happy to draw a few of our own conclusions, read between the lines and accept that life rarely spells out everything in detail, it was a near perfect ending to what’s been essential viewing these past four weeks.
So it was a resolution that didn’t quite resolve everything. Some things are never entirely clear, no matter how much we’d like them to be. What happened to Jamie and Peter back in 1985 wasn’t fully revealed, but there was an implication. Had those ’80s detectives figured it out originally, they’d have had to work out how to write up a report that concluded that ‘an ancient tree god sort of ate them’.
Why we’re dealing with mysteries – specifically the enigma of who the murdered ‘Lexie Mangan’ was – there were no firm answers there, either. She was either a lost soul who was never meant to be found or the actual personification of the Irish folklore ‘fetch’ mentioned earlier in the series. If she was the latter, again, that’s a tricky conclusion for Cassie to type up for O’Kelly. Probably best she sticks to the more straightforward ‘Jane Doe’ explanation.
‘Shane used to say it was our fault,’ Jonathan Devlin tells Rob near the end here. ‘We raised the darkness with what we did to Sandra. And we did… Rosalind.’
There were firm answers to the question of what happened to Katy Devlin…
Episode 7 revealed that archaeological dig assistant Damien was responsible for her murder. We were a little sceptical about that being the full story and we were right to be. Only it turns out that Damien was driven to kill Katy by her scheming older sister Rosalind – played here by an excellently off-key Leah McNamara.
Not to blow our own trumpets too much, but we (rather tentatively) called the killer(s) back in our review of episode 2, when we said:
‘There’s something a little fishy about student archaeologist Damien. And maybe even Katy’s sister Rosalind.’
Okay, so we also eyed up a few other suspects in later write-ups, but never mind any of that.
Why would Katy’s sister manipulate a vulnerable young man into killing her much-loved sibling? Well, that’s exactly it – it was all about the love. As the unwanted and unloved one, Rosalind hated her parents and wanted to take away the one person that they truly did adore. It was an act committed purely out of spite. Poor Katy was merely collateral damage.
Rosalind wasn’t going down without a fight, either. Not content with ruining her family’s lives, she decided to take down Cassie and Adam too. Calling the former in to interview her, Rosalind confessed in full before dropping the Adam bomb on everyone.
Rob’s true identity – and Cassie’s complicity in his covering it up at work – saw both of them pushed off the team. And probably for the best. Cassie took the ferry to England to end her pregnancy and ended on something of a sweet note, with her head on ex Sam’s shoulder. While Rob/Adam simply left.
Adam left the Knocknaree woods while they were being flattened, off to a nothing job in the middle of nowhere. Like his lupine spirit in the hour’s final seconds, he’d been forced to run off and leave the trees behind. It was at least a relief of sorts for him and a touching and fitting end.
So, then. Where does that leave us for a second series? Well, earlier in our coverage of Dublin Murders, we pointed out that Tana French and Sarah Phelps’ world seems to exist in the same metaphysical universe as True Detective. Not only that but both detective series are anthologies too. At least Dublin Murders has the ability to be one, anyway.
This first run focused on French’s opening novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods and The Likeness. The next novel, Faithful Place, doesn’t see Rob or Cassie heading up an investigation – it’s Cassie’s unorthodox undercover boss Frank that’s the focal point. So are we gearing up for a second series? Well, it would explain Tom Vaughan-Lawlor’s Frank hanging around for the final scene here…
Let’s hope so, anyway. Even if it is the hope that kills. Well, that along with blunt force trauma and strangulation, of course.
Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 7? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Dublin Murders series 1 consists of eight episodes and available to watch on BBC iPlayer.