WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
That’s more like it. After an intriguing start, BBC One’s thriller-across-four-nights The Victim almost slowed down to a complete standstill in Tuesday night’s second episode. Thankfully here, in its third instalment, it revved back up and put the pedal back down to the metal.
Have we found out who Eddie J Turner really is? The final scene here seemed to suggest that we have. Although there may well prove to another reason why Craig Myers’ shifty lothario pal Tom (John Scougall, Unforgotten) met up with Turner’s social worker, fingers certainly seem to be pointing to the fringey friend of Myers at this point.
Playing Craig, James Harkness continues to impress. There’s a scene here where, after yet another threat is made against his family, his partner Rebecca tells him she’s leaving him and taking their daughter with her. Harkness’ reaction – and tears – are genuinely moving. This has been a truly affecting performance from the the 29-year-old Glaswegian; the man has a big future ahead of him.
This third episode was all about Kelly MacDonald’s acting chops, though. Part of what makes this such a standout series is the fundamental question it raises about how society expects a victim to act. McDonald’s Anna Dean is a fundamentally unlikeable character. A bitter presence, she oozes resentment and simply cannot let go of the past. Her hatred is beyond toxic and has poisoned her entire life. It’s twisted her and made her – ironically – really quite unsympathetic.
She’s still a victim, though.
Investigating officer DI Grover (John Hannah) feels like a victim too. He has his own accused victim, a former sex worker called Cathy with whom he became attached. She claims he harassed her, he denies it. This feeling of aggrievement seems to motivate his character. That’s why he’s been so keen to prove that Anna Dean has targeted Craig so unfairly. In fact, so keen is he that he rather forcefully interrogated the drug-addicted patient of Anna’s that he suspects of carrying out the attack on Craig.
Before the episode’s big final reveal, there’s a mini shocker unveiled. That tall, slightly shifty older boyfriend of Anna’s daughter Louise, it turns out, has good reason to be shifty. Only we discover that Danny Callaghan (Andrew Rothney, Shetland) has intentionally ingratiated himself into the household to be close to the family on purpose. He has an unhealthy obsession with them because… It was him that discovered Liam’s body all those years ago.
It’s impossible with these twisting and turning thrillers not to cook up your own theory, isn’t it? We’re currently simmering an idea that Craig Myers really is Eddie J Turner, but that he didn’t actually kill Liam. He went to prison for the crime and was assigned a new identity, but was the fall guy for someone who got away with the murder. Perhaps Tom? Or, more likely, Danny.
Making Craig yet another victim…
Whatever the resolution of this classy drama is, we’re looking forward to it.
Did you tune in for The Victim episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!