The Driver: Episode 3 Review
In the final episode of Danny Brocklehurst’s Manchester set neo-noir, taxi driver Vince’s poorly constructed web of lies comes crashing down.
A number of events occur in quick succession, bringing Vince to the edge of disaster. His wife has thrown him out of the house after discovering his illegal moonlighting. The victim of the botched gangland ‘hit’ he was dragged into has awoken from a coma. Best mate Col, recovering from the beating he received for botching the hit, is beginning to suspect that Vince may have helped their target escape. The icing on this unsavoury cake comes when a fellow cab driver refuses to provide him an alibi.
Vince’s desperate attempts to explain his actions to his wife are interrupted by the arrival of the police. Suddenly he is looking at ten years for attempted murder. He has seen how little Col gained from criminal loyalty and Vince hasn’t the stomach for prison. Still desperate to win back his wife and daughter and deal with the unresolved issue of their estranged son, some hard choices await him.
This final episode brings simmering ingredients to a quick boil as Vince and his family face the potential consequences of his actions. Vince can only avoid jail by turning informer and going undercover. If he agrees and then reneges on the arrangement, he could face life inside – but if he agrees and Horse and his associates are arrested, Vince’s family will be forced into witness protection. They will be unable to contact friends and family, including their son Tim, who is a member of some kind of commune or cult and refuses to speak to them.
Will Vince be able to go through with this? Will the family be able to accept losing all hope of a reconciliation with Tim?
While this final episode did ultimately answer these questions and once again allowed David Morrissey to play Vince’s anguish and inner pain to perfection in a demonstration of why he is one of the UK’s best actors, the episode did not quite reach fifth gear. The story could have stretched to four rather than three episodes easily, and the constricted running time meant that the climactic robbery scene came late and was over in a flash. While it may have been a little too much to expect an epic action sequence given the budget limitations of licence fee financed drama, the finale lacked the impact of the car chase that opened the first episode. Colm Meaney’s Horse was never given quite enough screen time to become a properly threatening character, and the welcome humour supplied by his henchmen in episode 1 never really resurfaced. More time could also have been used to flesh out the situation that led to Vince’s son leaving the family.
Despite these flaws, The Driver was still a welcome and interesting British television drama. It was a breath of fresh air – despite smelling of oil and gasoline – to see a crime drama from a perspective other than that of the well-worn detective hero.
Director: Jamie Payne
Writers: Danny Brocklehurst
Cast: David Morrissey, Claudie Blakley, Sacha Parkinson, Ian Hart, Colm Meaney
Review by Stuart Barr