Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.
Ah, second episodes… Like those much-fabled ‘difficult second albums’ you hear about on BBC Four music documentaries, they can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Tuesday night’s follow-up to the previous evening’s barnstorming opener of The Victim was, as you can tell from our introduction, ever-so-slightly disappointing.
There was nothing shockingly awful about it, by any means. This wasn’t the TV equivalent of The Second Coming by The Stone Roses or anything quite that bad. It just kind of plodded along, adding very little to the debut episode, presenting itself almost like a hour of drama that couldn’t quite remember what it had laid out to its audience the evening prior.
Showing across four nights this week, this legal drama has a clever premise… A man is accused of being an infamous child killer and is viciously attacked in his home because of it. The mother of the murdered boy goes on trial for apparently facilitating the assault. Is she responsible? Is the victim really who he says he is? And who – crucially – is the real victim…?
Craig Myers’ true identity was very much the focus throughout here. We discovered that it was a private investigator called Mo (Pooky Quesnel, Thief Takers) that leaked Myers’ details to Anna, after she received a tip-off from a fairly unreliable ‘screw’ at the local prison. The slow burn of Craig’s partner Rebecca (Karla Crome, Misfits) questioning Craig and his past continued. But, as with the rest of Tuesday night’s ‘action’, we didn’t really learn a whole lot more than already knew.
The stand-out performance here so far comes from relative newcomer, James Harkness. Kelly MacDonald plays her part with conviction, but it’s Harkness’ portrayal of Craig Myers that really shines. He lets just enough out to really keep us guessing… Is he a victim of circumstance and bad luck? Or is he, in fact, Eddie J Turner reborn? At this halfway stage, few viewers would be prepared to bet their house either way.
Are there other candidates for who Eddie J Turner might be? Well, he could just be a red herring, but there’s Danny Callaghan (Andrew Rothney), the rather intense boyfriend of Anna’s law student daughter Louise (Isis Hainsworth). He certainly seems fond of his mother-in-law, admitted knowing about the Turner case and even went to school with the murdered boy.
Then there’s Craig’s friend Tom (John Scougall), a loveable rogue type that seems just a little too invested in the case and interested in what’s going on.
There was a tiny amount of plot development concerning John Hannah’s DI Steven Grover. We discovered that his secondment to Inverclyde was related to ‘allegations’, presumably of a harassing nature. Which would make sense, given the overarching theme of The Victim appears to be how damaging gossip and – perhaps – unfounded accusations can be.
This second instalment meandered more than just a tad. So we’re very much hoping for a return to form in episodes 3 and 4, recapturing the tension and drama of Monday night’s launch. There’s more than enough to the story and characters to suggest that it will.
Did you tune in for The Victim episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!