WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rūmī
It’s not often that we get to start our TV reviews with quotes from 13th century Persian poets, but then it’s not often that the dramas we cover end by quoting 13th century Persian poets. A bit pretentious? Perhaps. But flashing up on our screens after what was an incredibly powerful final fifteen minute scene, it felt well placed. What we had seen was deeply moving and thought-provoking drama of the most affecting kind.
We had been confronted with a series of ethical posers surrounding the notions of justice, hatred, revenge, guilt, blame and the idea of forgiveness. It was a lot to process.
The extended final scene of this four-part crime/legal/moral thriller was everything: gripping, tense, touching, unpredictable. It saw a face-off between The Victim’s two principal characters, Kelly McDonald’s hate-driven grieving mother Anna Dean and James Harkness’ Craig Myers/Eddie J Turner…
Oh, yes. We should probably get to that. Craig was Turner. He did kill Anna’s son Liam all those years ago. It all comes out during the climactic quarter of an hour which simply demands your attention. As the two sit opposite sit each other, on upturned milk crates under an underpass – in a staged repeat of an earlier aborted restorative justice meeting – we were treated to a true acting masterclass on both sides.
In truth, the episode up until then had lacked spark and kind of limped along for three quarters of an hour. There was a feeling – as with episode 2 – that this was a fascinating and vital story, just not one that quite justified its running time. A two-parter would probably have suited The Victim better. It would’ve been a tight, lean and much more impactful series.
Not that we wouldn’t recommend it. Its skillful way of handling tricky themes showed remarkable restraint and maturity. It never felt preachy and managed that rare feat of keeping us guessing while never once feeling cheap or hokey.
Suspects were presented and alternative paths laid out, each of which received their own satisfying explanations and conclusions. Danny wasn’t quite as creepy as he seemed. It was young drug addict William who attacked Craig. Tom really was a good friend of Craig’s. And DI Grover was, well, he was suspended. But he was hardly beyond reproach, was he?
We left The Victim with Anna stepping in front of Craig/Eddie to stop her ex-husband Christian from attacking him with a kitchen knife. It showed at least an indication that she could begin to forgive, if not forget her son’s brutal murder. Whereas Craig would probably never get over what he had done and never shake the guilt.
It wasn’t a field where the two explored their wrongdoing and rightdoing, it was an underpass. But that’s where they met. And in doing so, created perhaps the most dramatic scene we’ll watch on television this year.
Did you watch The Victim episode 4? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!