Wednesday, 21 October 2015

River - unraveling both the case and within himself in seminal new BBC Show


John River has several problems to contend with as the series continues.

First and foremost, the boy he chased to his death is "manifesting" and adamant he did not do it. He says he has no reason to shoot a "pig" that in fact his skunk dealing business does very well from the Patronage of the boys in Blue. And so begins the at home evidence wall. 


The pregnant Girlfriend Tia  is not only grieving but possibly mentally unwell, her first child taken by Social Services after the admission of for drug induced psychosis. The poor girl is pushing around an empty pushchair which she uses to great effect to ram River with. She also gives him a cracking shiner!

The father of the child and the person who got  the car is revealed, a sweet boy who just wants to provide for Tia and the baby. He saw a man dumping the vehicle outside the garage where he squats.



Second, DNA evidence seems to suggest his dead partner appears to have been in the vehicle of that same dead boy. Sealing his fate in the eyes of the rest of the force  and besmirching the memory of Stevie.On top of that River sees with his own eyes that the  CCTV footage seems to show recognition in her face just before the shot is fired that kills her. He also discovers another phone in the footwell of his car that belonged to Stevie.


To make matters worse he has to attend Stevie's Wake at an Irish pub filled with every kind of undesirable and reprobate. The family are friendly to John even the tattooed older brother who freely admits to decapitating a man in a former life, to compound his woes his boss is there to witness his full fisted assault by  and Stevie's Mother's retort that she hopes she loses this baby too. 



Ira the new partner is gentle and kind to River and gradually they are making inroads to a reasonable working relationship. There is a real honesty to the way Adeel Aktar has played Ira King, he is both slightly bewildered by River, but intrigued and interested too which bodes well for the series as it progresses. He is unquestioning and  trusts him despite his peculiarities.




Eddie Marsan's star turn as serial Killer Dr Cream is just as disturbing this week, trying to goad poor River into throwing himself in front of a train. It is yet undetermined whether he like Stevie is a new  manifestation or someone he has been seeing for years as Stevie had intimated in the first episode that he had been talking to himself even while they were partnered.

Stellan Skarsgard  really is a tremendous actor and this show has gone great strides to prove just how good. When his introversion makes him at times almost incapable of actual speech, you can see River's mind pushing out what he wants to say in his eyes. Very few people can convey so much through so little verbal expression, but it makes it all the more powerful when he does get a sizeable piece to say. He is a character of contradiction, fiercely passionate and yet unable to express the smallest of emotion, when he breaks down towards the end, it is like a catharsis for both him and the viewer.



Nicola Walker is so well cast for Stevie, tough and yet also vulnerable and like an onion is revealing layers that may or may or may not mean she is as bent as a nine Bob Note which could go one of two ways, Dr Cream will succeed in pushing John in front of a moving vehicle or He will go totally the other way and join the serial killer's ranks. She makes Stevie sympathetic despite the revelations starting to become apparent.

Soundtrack and Music feature really heavily in this show and the eighties disco tunes become characters in their own right. Tunes featured actually play in my head hours after the show finishes!

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