Those of you out there who watched the first series of ITV1’s 2016 crime drama Marcella will know that the lead detective – DS Marcella Backland, played with coiled spring intensity by Anna Friel – isn’t the chirpiest of characters. And nor is she all that fun loving or easy going, either. In fact, it’s a small wonder anyone in her life likes her at all, really.
Actually, come to think of it… No one really does. Her soon-to-be ex-husband Jason has now moved out properly and is due to marry his new girlfriend. Her children seem to tolerate more than love her. And she still runs about her place of work, barking at colleagues, undermining her boss and harassing suspects. Even her on/off boyfriend, colleague Jamie Bamber, seems to have a few issues with her behaviour.
In a way, it’s kind of reassuring to see that Marcella the person is still just as thoroughly brusque, surly and uncivil as ever. Just as reassuring as it is to see that Marcella the TV programme is still just as thoroughly dark, distressing and downright depressing as ever.
If you thought the first run was mean and moody and more than a little violent and grim, then be warned – things don’t lighten up in this second season. But, hey – that’s good news to most of us, isn’t it? After all, we don’t tune into TV crime dramas to feel uplifted.
The action in what’s now the ninth episode of Marcella begins at night, on a rooftop. Our antihero walks up onto the ledge and leans forward. Before we find out if she jumps or not, we’re taken to twelve days previous and the rather grim and unexpected discovery of an ear in a wall. It turns out to belong to a nine-year-old boy who is recessed into that wall. The killer? Quite possibly the same man who’s also just abducted, tortured and more than probably killed a teenage boy in a quite horrific way.
See? Not exactly keeping things light, are they…?
Now, you may well remember from the first season that Marcella has a habit of becoming involved rather personally with her cases. It wasn’t long into her last investigation that it became clear that she knew half the victims. And suspects. At one point she could even have been the killer herself… So it should come as no surprise to us that she knows the first victim here as well. It’s Leo Priestley, a school friend of her son’s (again, this would once again mean that she couldn’t work the case, but let’s not getting into pedantry, eh?).
The suspects then start to appear, crawling out of the woodwork like violent, creepy, scary-looking termites. They’re not thrown at us with quite the intensity as in the previous series, thankfully. But we’re still given plenty to think about.
● Phil Dawkins (Peter Sullivan) – A registered sex offender who is not as ‘inactive’ as he likes to make out.
● Reg Reynolds (Nigel Planer) – A 70s rock star suffering from the after-effects of a stroke, who lives in the house next door to where the body was found.
● Alan Summers (Keith Allen) – A famous record producer who’s helping Reg with the police and providing him with a slightly suspicious alibi.
● Eric (Josh Herdman) – A rather angry young man looking after his sister and niece who has a grudge against the married man who fathered his sister’s child.
The suspects won’t end there, don’t worry. If there’s one thing Marcella is particularly good at, it’s red herrings. So next week we’re expecting plenty more of those landed onto the boat and gutted in front of us.
We’re also expecting to hear more about the dissociative states that Marcella has that get her into so much trouble. With the violent blackouts still occurring, she freaks out after thinking her son had been snatched and attacks a woman in the street, causing quite the scene. She’s then forced to admit to the fugue states to Jason who demands that she seeks medical advice for them. An upcoming episode will surely have to delve into what exactly happened with the Backland’s daughter Juliet that damaged Marcella’s psyche quite so much.
All in all, this first fifty minutes was an encouraging return and we’re looking forward to what the rest of the series has in store…
What did you think of Marcella series 2 episode 1? Let us know in the comments below!
Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 2? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.
If you thought that the first series of Marcella was a rather bleak and sombre affair, you won’t be too shocked to find this follow-up series taking a rather similar tone. Similar, but somehow even darker. In fact, there are points in this second series of ITV 1’s Scandi Noir-esque crime drama where things are almost pitch black.
Dead children, kidnapped boys, exploitation, sexual abuse, torture, mutilation, child prostitution… DS Marcella Backland and the team’s latest investigation is starting to make the last case of hers we saw back in 2016 look like a snoop into some unpaid parking tickets.
What began life as a case looking into the murder of nine-year-old Leo Priestly, a friend of Marcella’s son, has quickly spiralled into something much wider and even more nefarious. It’s still rather early to piece together just yet, but it appears as though a child abuse ring may well be involved in the snatching, torture and murders of quite a few other young boys.
A web is also beginning to join up with some of the suspects. In this second episode, we learn that the convicted child molester Phil Dawkins – who we discover has a girlfriend who carrying his child – and the ailing 70s rock star, Swiss Coast drummer Reg Reynolds, are pals. Reg – we also learn – is also connected to the historic disappearance of a young girl…
The story behind the constantly fuming figure of Eric and his well-meaning sister Gail is yet to be fully explored. We saw him stomping around with a gun this week, but we’re being drip-fed their story. So it’s likely we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out their involvement in the case.
One thing we did learn about Gail is that she’s a carer for a disabled man called Joel who has the same scars as the children being abducted (from, rather grimly, where the killer forces in wooden discs with occult symbols carved into them). Joel appears to be trying to tell Gail something. Could he hold the key to the case?
Series 1 saw a rather off-putting propensity for Marcella and her team to bully the more technologically-minded member of their team, DC Mark Travis. Thankfully, all that seems to have stopped, and they’ve actually started respecting him a little. Which is good as he’s an extremely competent police officer. Trouble is, it turns out he could well be a creep of the highest order. We discover this week that he’s watching Marcella via a secret camera installed in her home.
We like Mark, though. As one of the only sympathetic characters in Marcella, we’re hoping it turns out that he’s just doing a wee bit of spying for police top brass. Instead of, y’know, being a colossal perv.
After being forced to admit her dissociative amnesia to her ex-husband Jason last week and the legal eagle threatening to take full custody of their children, Marcella is left little choice but to look into her past to discover the root cause of her mysterious and violent episodes in a bid to cure herself. The cause, she seems ready to admit, being the cot death of her child Juliet.
It says something about the grimness of Marcella that scenes of a woman dealing with a traumatic death of her baby daughter are some of the more uplifting we’re treated to.
Don’t get us wrong, we like our crime drama gritty and uncompromising. And programming about murder and violent crime is seldom light-hearted. But this latest series of Marcella seems intent on pushing the viewer to their very limit. Men holding babies in one arm and guns in the other… Primary school children being cut open and stuffed full of foreign objects… Paedophiles disinterestedly groping their heavily pregnant girlfriend’s breasts… It can all get a little, well, much at times.
Things wrap up in a comparatively cheery way with Marcella’s stroppy son Edward demonstrating his rather ardent dislike of rodents. The final scene sees his squeezing the family’s pet mouse to death in his hand, a classic proto-psychopath move from the lad who seems to know more about his friend’s disappearance than he’s letting on.
What with her ex marrying a new woman, picking up a new stalker, continued unexpected blackouts caused by the death of her baby and children frequently turning up dead all around her, worrying that her son has severe violent tendencies is the last thing Marcella needs.
It never rains but it pours, eh?
Did you tune in for Marcella series 2 episode 2? Let us know in the comments below!
Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 3? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
We’re three episodes into this second series of Marcella now, the grim London-set murder mystery drama from the twisted mind of The Bridge scribe, Hans Rosenfeldt. The first run of six parts fired suspects at us thick and fast, even into its third and fourth episodes. It was like that final challenge from – for those of you old enough to remember it – The Generation Game. The conveyor belt whizzing past with a seemingly never-ending parade of would-be murderers.
Thankfully this follow-up series is limiting its line-up of potential killers somewhat. But, that said, the list of suspects isn’t exactly short. Marcella has, once again, got her work cut out for her solving this increasingly disturbing case. Can she track down who’s abducting young boys, ritualistically stuffing them full of occult-tinged wooden symbols, murdering and then dumping their bodies in a heap of cheap neon teddy bears…?
If she’s going to find the responsible party, she’s going to have to continue to fight plenty of her own personal demons. The fact that her colleagues all hate her and the one that doesn’t – her on/off lover Jamie – seems more interested in chasing after another woman than helping her, certainly doesn’t help. But Marcella’s issues run much deeper than those petty concerns.
We open episode 3 with her ex-husband Jason enjoying breaking the news that he’s planning on taking their two children with him for a two-year work sojourn, with his new wife, to Singapore. The bad news causes Marcella to have one of her blackouts again, this time she awakes to Jason nursing an injured arm and bloodied nose. His ultimatum? See to the dangerous fugue states or he’ll see her lose her job ‘as well as her kids’.
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed a distinct lack of blood on the ex-Mrs Backland, though. Might that suggest that these violent incidents are actually being caused or induced somehow by Jason? Is he poisoning her in some way in order to turn her into a demonstrably unfit mother and police detective?
We’ve been led to believe that the blackouts are trauma based and caused by the cot death of her baby Juliet. But as we learn this week that Marcella’s kid Edward has a penchant for killing family pets, could it actually be him that caused Marcella’s third-born’s death?
Maybe we’re just being a little paranoid. That’s what all this TV crime drama does to you, you see.
Back to the case and we learn that the boy found in the boot of the car was a 15-year-old who was caught up in child prostitution. We also learn that the boys are killed by botched lobotomies, Jeffrey Dahmer-style. And those symbols? From Salem, apparently. Used to ward off evil. It seems our nutjob thinks he’s helping the children he’s kidnapping, torturing and murdering. Funny bunch, serial killers.
Meanwhile, there’s further chin scratching by viewers as washed-up rock star Reg’s wafer-thin alibi somehow gets even thinner and the self-made millionaire type behind the exploitative Amazon Lite Red Cow Gifts shines the spotlight on himself by letting us catch him watching a video of some young teenage boy training in a boxing gym. Watching it at night. Alone. Suspect.
Young Adam, the latest victim proves to be pretty industrious as he breaks free from his shackles and escapes into a forest. Has he broken free entirely? Or will he end up back in the killer’s grasp?
The episode ends with the convicted child molester Phil Dawkins, in tears, following Edward. After Marcella tipped off the media before another routine arrest of him and it indirectly leading to his girlfriend miscarrying their son, it’s fair to say that Phil isn’t best pleased with his investigating officer. This either puts him firmly in the picture as the killer (snatching a child and all) or it doesn’t (he’s lashing out as he’s so annoyed by repeatedly being put in the frame by Marcella). Either way, things look ominous for young rodent-crushing Edward.
These middle sections of drama runs can often be a little testing. The initial excitement, character introduction and exposition is firmly out of the way and we’re still a good few hours away from the frenetic action of The Big Reveal. It can sometimes be a little confusing or leisurely-paced. That’s kind of where we are with Marcella at the moment, but we’re pretty sure episode 4’s Phil and Edward plot thread is going to reignite the action.
If we’re honest, we’re just glad to see that the conveyor belt of suspects has stopped before we had to wonder whether or not a cuddly toy could be the killer.
Did you tune in for Marcella series 2 episode 3? Let us know in the comments below!
Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 4? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
It seems as though we say this every week with Marcella, but if you thought things were bleak and harrowing last week… Well then, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Except you probably have seen this fourth episode (which is why you’re reading this review). If you’ve not long turned off the latest instalment of the Anna Friel-starring ITV1 crime drama, there’s a very good chance you’ll still be reeling from another fifty minutes of tonally pitch black and unrelenting gloominess.
So dark and joyless is Marcella at times that the closing credits almost come as a relief. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy following the grim events on show, it’s just that it can almost be too much to bear at times. Especially with it going out on a Monday, the internationally agreed-upon Most Depressing Day of the Week™.
The closing scene of episode 3 almost left us on a rare high with the kidnapped kid Adam escaping the clutches of the demented serial killer at the heart of the story. Running for his life through a wood, he was picked up by an elderly couple, desperate to help. Finally, some good news!
Except it didn’t last. Mere minutes after taking the kid in and planning a dash to the hospital, the trio’s car is nudged onto a train track and they’re all smashed to bits by a couple of hundred tons of speeding train. Typical, isn’t it? You rescue you a child from being tortured by a mad occultist child murderer and then you’re all but obliterated by the 3.45 to Oxford.
Firmly back into the realm of nightmare, the next scene took us to the peeved child molester Phil Dawkins, determined to get some baby-related revenge on Marcella. His not overly nice plan? To break into her home and rape her son. Luckily for the Backlands (sort of), Marcella’s colleague Mark has been spying on them and notices Phil in the house. He then puts in a call that saves Edward from being attacked, but tips Marcella off about his creepy webcam snooping in the process. Her reaction? Not to thank Mark for rescuing her child. Or even to report him to HR for inappropriate conduct. Nope, Marcella deals with the situation in true Marcella-style and assaults him. Then forces him to dig up blackmailable material on her ex-husband and his seemingly whiter-than-white new missus.
Speaking of the ex, Jason, you may remember we theorised last week that he could be behind Marcella’s violent blackouts and attacks. And, well, we could just be onto something. Only this week we discover that he faked his recent ‘post-incident’ injuries in order to make his former wife appear to be an even worse mother than she already is.
In our last recap we also praised this second series for keeping the suspects to a comparative minimum. Unfortunately, we may have to rescind that applause a little as this fourth episode introduced two new characters that could be up to no good. A young lesbian couple, one of whom works for a children’s charity we’ve already seen could be involved somehow in the children’s disappearances.
Continuing to throw fuel on the already flaming suspect-y fires are Nigel Planer and Keith Allen’s washed-up rock n’ roll types, as well as the self-made millionaire-in-trouble type, Vince. This week sees him sniffing around a boxing gym where he shows a young teenage boxer a lot of interest before driving off with him. Is he a Phil Dawkins-style pervert? Or, as we assume, is there something else going on?
We’re no closer to an answer as to the killer’s identity yet. What we do know though, is that it seems as if they may think they’re actually helping the child. The weird wooden discs being symbolic of warding off evil and all.
Was the killer abused themselves? Will Adam be able to identify his kidnapper when he finally wakes up? And will next week’s episode feature a single smile from anyone…? We’ll have to tune in to find out (although we probably already know the answer to that last one, don’t we?).
Did you tune in for Marcella series 3 episode 4? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below…
Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 5? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.
Five episodes into Marcella series 2 and we were gifted a rare week away from the horror, vitriol, blackmail, spite and general murder-y gloominess we’ve come to expect. It was all still there, obviously – this is Marcella we’re talking about. It’s just that it wasn’t quite so pronounced, gratuitous or disturbing this time out.
True, we uncovered a house of horrors where 17 children were murdered. Yes, we watched a man drown his best friend and lover of 40 years. And okay, we were reminded of Marcella’s blackmailing of her colleague Mark. As well as our anti-heroine’s 2016 corpse cover-up. Oh, and we were treated to two extended scenes of young Edward poking the decomposed body of a fox. But by Marcella’s standards? That’s a positively light-hearted 50 minutes of entertainment.
A particular highlight though was that, for the very first time in some 13-odd episodes, we saw a rare glimpse of Rav as an actual human being. Instead of his usually grumpy and bearded figure stomping about the place ordering people about, we saw Anna Friel’s boss behaving as many might when confronted with one of the worst scenes of child murder the UK has ever witnessed. But apparently even putting your hand to your mouth and leaving the room briefly is enough to earn you a ‘man up!’ threat from your boss, though. It’s a tough world is Marcella’s.
Speaking of Rav’s boss Tim, his Kids Call fancy lady – the in-control and feisty Maya – certainly pointed a rather bright spotlight on herself this week. We found out that all the dead children had been killed in the past decade and all had been abused (and used the Childline-esque Kids Call service). Maya’s scoping out of a similar house of horrors towards the end of the episode certainly left us wondering as to her involvement in the case. Is she selling information to a child sex abuse ring? In this ITV crime drama, no vile depravity is off the table.
Further suspicion is pointed towards a number of other dodgy characters too, not least of all the narcissistic corporate type Vince Whitman. He’s now directly linked to two of the missing boys and his involvement in the boxing gym is looking more and more perverse every week.
We also found out that Keith Allen and Nigel Planer’s characters are keeping more than one secret. They also had an affair (as well as covered-up a young girl’s disappearance decades ago on tour). But there’s an even bigger secret now in Alan’s pocket now… His old pal is now at the bottom of a West London canal.
As is the wont of Marcella’s writers’, even at this advanced stage we’re being tempted by new red herrings. The house of horrors has a shady and uncommunicative neighbour. A ‘rural’-looking man called Nigel who teases Marcella with a clue before disappearing off, all shifty looking. That list of suspects is, as with the first series, almost impossibly long.
We managed to work out who did it in the first run of Hans Rosenfeldt’s series, but this time out? We’re struggling somewhat. We’ve a hunch it may be a woman, but it’s still too early to really call it.
It was quite nice to have a week of the show where the violence was dialled down a little, we have to say. And we’d love to see more of Ray Panthaki’s Rav, especially since he’s let his guard down. He even bought Marcella a beer this week. He’s definitely softening, bless ‘im.
Will the pair of them strike up a friendship? And can they track down the killer? We’re not overly sure on that first one – Marcella’s not the friendliest person you could hope to work with. But we’re fairly certain they’ll find the man (or woman) responsible. Only, however dark Marcella is, surely they can’t let a serial child murderer get away with it, can they?
There are three episode left and theories are starting to form. What’s your hunch? Who do you think might be behind this nefariously occult-tinged string of bizarre and really quite horrible child murders? We want to know!
Did you tune in for Marcella series 2 episode 5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 6? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.
Last week we let you into our hunch that the child killer at the heart of the second series of Marcella was a woman. And, while we don’t wish to brag too much, we must say that we’re fairly smug that we reached that conclusion a full episode before our lead detective did.
That’s right, at the end of this sixth episode, DS Marcella Backlund had an epiphany. After another full fifty minutes of suspicious behaviour and shifty goings-on, she realised that the serial killer the team is after isn’t the ‘he’ they’d all been assuming…
But why? Well, Marcella is smart. Smart but still deeply unhappy.
Yet again it was another miserable week for Anna Friel’s character and her troubled personal life. That’s par for the course, though. This time the woe befalling her focused on her love life. Or her now complete lack thereof. The relationship between Tim, Marcella’s on/off lover, and Maya, the Kids’ Call boss, is now out in the open – and it’s threatening the case. The team now potentially have a serious conflict of interest what with the boss carrying on with the wife of one of the main suspects, Vince Whitman.
Not only that but Tim’s fancy lady is seemingly trying to frame her husband. And likes to sniff about weird murder houses. And takes delivery of large consignments of creepy cheap toys found at murder scenes. Is Maya responsible for the string of bizarre child murders? She’s certainly high up the list of potential suspects.
Also up there is Keith Allen’s Alan. Fresh from offing his best pal last week, he attempts to pass off a confession letter of Reg’s to Marcella, but she sees through his ruse. Is he connected to the case or just covering his tracks for the dead girl back in the day? His moody looks and mantelpiece full of occult tat certainly make him look like a wrong ‘un, anyway. And, well, he kind of is.
Back to the female suspects and care home manager Dr Tracey Lewis seems now pretty well-linked to the case. Her reaction to care worker Gail’s disabled patient’s ‘NO ACCIDENT’ message certainly unsettled us here. Plus it transpires she was the sister of Debbie Canavan, the girl that Reg and Alan did away with at Reg’s house back in the seventies.
While we were at the care home, we saw the new girlfriend of Jason, Marcella’s ex (keeping up with this…?). She politely questioned Gail about her work with the patient who seems to be a survivor of the killer(s) – and then rather impolitely appeared to snatch her, leaving her mobile phone ominously ringing on the ground.
Oh, and what is the desperate-for-a-kid vet JoJo up to? Apart from lying to her girlfriend and getting jiggy with some hipster in a filthy nightclub toilet in order to collect his seed? Well, that’s about it this week. But she’s still suspicious. And certainly has an unhealthy attitude to getting her hands on children.
And to round things off, we saw the mother of Samantha, young Edward’s ex-girlfriend, have the spotlight briefly shined in her face by Marcella. She revealed herself to have been involved in the disappearance of Debbie and know about Reg and the band’s historic misdeeds. She was best friends with the girl and partly blames herself for her death.
That’s almost half a dozen young blonde women as suspects…
Our theory? Not only do we think there’s a woman responsible, we’ve an idea it may be more than one woman – perhaps a cabal of victims of abuse that have ganged up to put children suffering abuse ‘out of their misery’ and ‘save them’.
The reason there are so many male suspects? We think the bodies are intentionally left places that the police will find, with the reason behind it being that the corpse points a metaphorical finger at one of the women’s abusers.
Let’s not forget how episode 1 opened, though, with Marcella teetering on the edge of her work building’s rooftop. What drives her to that? Her life’s not exactly great – but suicide? Could it be something to do with her son Edward…?
With two episodes left to go, we’ll just have to wait and see.
What did you think of Marcella series 2 episode 6? Let us know in the comments below!
WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 7? Read Steve’s review of episode 6 here.
Well, it’s all happening now, isn’t it? It looks as though we may just have found our killer. Or at least one of our killers, at least, if our ‘multiple murderers’ theory turns out to have any credence.
The final scene of Marcella series 2 episode 7 revealed what we’ve been saying for a few weeks now: the guilty party is female. And the motivation isn’t evil per se, it’s about – in a rather roundabout and admittedly pretty twisted way – trying to do good. To stop suffering, pain and abuse by killing abused children just as they begin to show signs of turning abusive themselves.
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? It looks as though the murderer that Marcella and the team have been searching for is school gate-dwelling Jane Colletti, the mum of the teenage girl that Marcella’s son Edward has been dating. We know this because this past Bank Holiday Monday’s instalment left us with her rather chillingly spiking poor Edward’s hot chocolate while delivering a rather frightening diatribe about the legacy of abuse. Is Edward destined to be the next victim or can Marcella and the team and crack the case in time?
If they do manage it, they’ll have done so without the help of one of their most useful members – the forever put-upon tech guy Mark. A bit of a favourite of ours (even after that whole ‘spying’ thing was revealed a few weeks ago), DC Travis is now furiously tapping away at a laptop in the sky after getting rather unceremoniously blasted away by shotgun-wielding rural simpleton Nigel Stafford at the start of this week’s episode.
The last thing Mark did before painting the bedroom of Nigel Stafford’s cottage red was hand over some ‘dirt’ on Jason Backland’s new beau, Becky, to Marcella. What’s so dirty about her?
Despite the big Jane-shaped reveal at the end, we’re sticking to our guns and saying that there’s more than one woman responsible for this grim swath of child murders. Jane is clearly involved, but is her role just to lure the victims in and immobilise them? Do the next steps require the help of some of the rest of the cabal? Like Becky? And maybe some others?
We opened episode 1 with Marcella about to fling herself off a rooftop. Next week’s show is the last in this gripping and tense second series. So what drives her to contemplate suicide? It must be Edward. Surely they can’t have the main character’s teenage son murdered by a gang of crazy serial killing woman?!
Well, this is Marcella. That’d actually be a fair tame and pleasant way to end things.
Let’s not forget that originally this series hooked on Marcella’s violent blackouts, which we discovered were caused by the trauma of her losing her baby daughter Juliet. Another theory? Edward killed Juliet – accidentally, perhaps – and Marcella blocked it out or never found out. He then confided in Kids Call like the other victims. And Sascha, who works for the Childline-esque call service, is part of the murderous group and it’s her that feeds the info to the rest of the gang…
We’re gripped and can’t wait to see how things are wrapped up in next week’s final episode. And should Marcella return for a third run in 2020, we can’t help but just hope things are a tiny bit nicer for everyone. Maybe Rav has a birthday party in the office that doesn’t end in murder. Or Tim (currently being framed for embezzlement by Maya and Vince Whitman) wins a raffle in an episode where no children are brutally murdered. Or Marcella smiles at something perhaps…
We can but dream.
What did you think of Marcella series 2 episode 7? Let us know in the comments below!
WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up on Marcella series 2 episode 8? Read Steve’s review of episode 7 here.
Well, then. It’s finished. The second series of Marcella has come to a conclusion. And that conclusion is – it’s one of the craziest crime dramas you’re likely to ever witness on British television.
The first series of this dark and moody ITV series saw Anna Friel running about, blacking out and solving a twisting, turning serial killer case, despite its seemingly endless cavalcade of suspects and red herrings. This second series was more of the same, in essence. But with added madness. In both senses of the word.
Marcella has been tiptoeing a tightrope for some weeks now. Only just managing to walk the line of high drama and plausibility in these past seven weeks, the show finally plummeted in this last instalment, falling into a huge pit of absurdity and insanity so hard that the audience at home were left covered in it all.
We’ll start with our hunch from previous weeks. Previously we picked out that a woman was responsible for the killings – that woman being Samantha’s mother, Jane Colletti (played by Michelle Terry). We were adamant that a wider conspiracy would implicate other characters, but that wasn’t to be. We were firmly in Lone Wolf territory here.
DS Backland managed to save her son Edward from Jane’s evil clutches and, after a warehouse fight scene that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Liam Neeson film, managed to stop just short of beating and choking the child killer to death. Straight to a serious conflict of interest interview which Marcella would never be allowed to be involved in and we got the full manic killer’s grin and explanation of skewed logic from our murderer. Case closed.
There was still the pesky matter of why Marcella was toying with the idea of throwing herself off a rooftop in the opening episode’s flashforward, though. Having solved yet another serial killer case, London’s best – but most unstable and violent detective sergeant – headed to her hypnotherapist to get to the bottom of her trauma-based fugue states. In what turned out to a truly horrifying scene we all learned the root cause. Marcella had blanked it out, but she killed her baby Juliet. Presumably suffering from postnatal depression, she lost it and smothered her crying child. Faced with that grim revelation, Marcella headed straight to the rooftop to do some uncertain teetering.
Luckily for Marcella, Rav was there to save her. Unluckily for Rav, he was there to save her.
Okay, so onto the last few minutes of pure and unadulterated insanity. Fresh from talking Marcella down from suicide, Rav is treated to the full story of Juliet. Presumably fearing a murder charge or just plain blacking/freaking out, Marcella then treats him to a toilet cistern lid round the head. And we’re treated to the oddest three minutes of television ITV have probably ever aired.
Marcella decides to trim her hair a little. Well, actually – quite a lot. She manically cuts herself a rather rushed mullet. Then, for no good reason whatsoever – that we could tell – still clutching the scissors, she slices her mouth several inches. We’re talking a self-performed Glasgow smile. Well, 50% of a Glasgow smile, anyway. She ditches her ‘M’ necklace. She is, we’re left to believe, ditching her identity.
Cut to an underpass in London, some nine days later. The Full Monty’s Hugo Speer recruits a homeless person into his shadowy special ops police unit because he ‘could use a dead police officer’. That person is, rather obviously, DS Marcella Backland.
So we were left with a cliffhanger. Marcella fell off the tightrope but managed to stay on the cliff. Will we be in line for a third series? Why did she give herself that Billy Ray Cyrus/Joker look? How is enormous facial scarring useful for undercover police work? And what about the hundred-odd loose ends from the various different plot threads in this series that were left untied…?!
The biggest question we’re left asking though is this: how sympathetic will the audience be to Marcella’s return? Blackouts or no blackouts, can the public forgive her for killing her baby? It seems an awfully dark backstory to this new ‘undercover Marcella’ character we’re being teased with, doesn’t it?
Did you tune in for Marcella series 2 episode 8? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!