Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.
Well, then. The Bay. To begin with, there was plenty about this six-part ITV1 series to make us all think we were in for something of a Broadchurch rip-off. We certainly thought so initially. Daragh Carville’s crime drama had all the hallmarks of a lazy take-off off the Olivia Colman smash hit. How wrong we were.
There was the eerily similar plot, strong female lead, coastal setting and the whodunit nature of events. But it didn’t take much before us viewers saw there was more to The Bay than a simple northern rehashing of the popular Dorset-set show. This had more than enough about it to set itself apart. Thankfully nothing here in this sixth – and final – part is likely to make any viewer think otherwise.
If there’s something that the majority of modern television crimers are, it’s bleak. Cynicism reigns supreme. Everyone is out for themselves and extreme violence is in almost every character’s arsenal. Not so in Morecambe, though. Even by this superior drama’s final scene we’re left fully aware that sometimes – just sometimes – chaos and sadness and horror just happens. Because life happens. There doesn’t always need to be design behind Bad Things.
For those of you yet to watch this finale, we’ll spare you the specifics. Suffice to say that there’s no real ‘bad guy’, as such. Sure, there’s a killer. But it’s not straightforward. That’s life, though – grey areas exist. Tragedy and culpability don’t always make for natural bedfellows.
Our main antagonist, DS Lisa Armstrong (played by Morven Christie, who was hugely impressive throughout the entire series) isn’t an entirely innocent figure herself. Personally and professionally compromised by her affair with Sean Meredith, she was rarely a sympathetic character. But again, that’s life. People are complicated and sometimes difficult to side with. But mostly? They want to do good.
To the plot (which we’ll carry on trying not to spoil). The main arc was resolved in a pretty satisfying manner, even if not having a twisted psycho to jeer at is somewhat unsatisfying in itself. Most peripheral plot threads were tied up in nice neat little bows too, although Rob’s online dare thing – as it had been all series – went nowhere. It was a rare misstep in what was an otherwise classy affair.
Altogether, this was no generic run-of-the-mill thriller. To casual eyes it may have seemed to have been, but The Bay’s Broadchurch-lite veneer was just that – a veneer. In reality, it was more interested in people and stories and issues. It asked more of its audience than just a simple ‘who’s guilty?’ It posed moral questions about modern society in a realistic context.
We won’t lie, the pay-off here lacked a certain something. While grounded and believable, there was little in the way of palpable tension in this finale. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the high drama of programming like Line of Duty of late. Maybe not all TV needs to constantly pull the rug on us. Even so, you can help but leave The Bay a smidgen underwhelmed. But just a smidgen.
This was mostly quality television though, all three hours of it. There’s very little scope or need for a follow-up second series and what a great thing that is. Not everything needs a sequel.
Did you tune in for The Bay episode 6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…