River must first confront Tom, who he knows was the other number on Stevie's burner phone. Tom tells him that he uses his own secondary phone for client contact and to conduct his seedy private life. River pushes him and he admits that Stevie was trying to help her friend get permanent leave to remain. Urging self professed "Shit" to confess his infidelities to Chrissie, river warns him if he doesn't he will tell her himself.
Ira and River begin their investigations by tracing Mr Jamal Abdi to his immigration lawyer and the hostel where he had stayed until learning of Stevie's Murder.Something just does not sit right with them about the whole set up. The woman's caseload is too light and her clear up rate too favourable to the applicant's.
When he had gone to speak to Tom at court, River had seen him talking rather anxious and furtive young blonde lady who is also present at the immigration centre. She is an interpreter and through conversation, river learns from Chrissie that she already knows her husband is a philanderer having caught him embracing said, blonde interpreter and fed some implausible reason for his "comforting" her. Sadly Chrissie's general apathy and world weariness after so many years has prevented her doing much about it.
Ira is a dab hand with CCTV footage and soon identifies a young man on the Library feeds who is cleaning the floors, but not actually employed there. This man is present at the hostel where Mr Jamal Abdi was lodging. Ira goes to talk to him with violent results. Poor Ira gets a good kicking for his pains. This is so much more disturbing as he is such a sweet gentle soul, whose acceptance of some of River's more eccentric behaviours has been nothing short of heroic, I would have asked for a transfer, but it is testament to his affection for John that there is not a trace of recrimination when River finally arrives at the hospital.
A hilarious scene follows, Ira's wife scolds River into submission, his guilt already high at leaving him to his fate, he is easy prey for her neurotic passive/aggressive assault leaving him promising to dine at their house the next week. I loved her on sight. Ira's utter helplessness to prevent the confrontation is a treat to behold.
Why was it that River had not got his back like a good partner should? Well he has had a bit of a night of it too, plagued incessantly by the devil on his shoulder, the ever more present manifest of infamous serial murderer Thomas Cream, River completely loses his cool at his group counselling session, telling all the gathered sufferers exactly what he thinks of them and insulting Rosa his work appointed psychologist in the process, which to me was a foolish move seeing as she is the sole thing keeping him out of the Dole queue. The only person not affected by his tirade is the giggling man living in his own world.
He has another episode at the train station with Cream after Stevie warns him that he is coming for him and that John has to shut him out. When hallucinations get the better of him, he ultimately ends up taking Rosa home for a light bite and some heavy revelations about when he first started seeing people.
It is a strangely fairytale like story , lonely child has a winter playground all to himself, sees elderly man waving at him and waves back. He plucks up courage to go meet him, with no answer he runs home through the playground to find the old man dead in the snow. He runs to tell a policeman, but now has a friend to talk to as the old man is now with him all the time as a manifest, his very first. This imagery put me in mind of a Burton film.
One wonders whether John had a psychotic break, any child would after finding a dead body. He ignores his phone whilst finally opening up to Rosa, resulting in the assault on Ira.
It is these scenes where we explore a River's affliction and his interaction with Cream and Stevie, the kind of yin and yang of his manifests experience, that this show really excels. Stellen Skarsgard is a master at expressing rage and despair within milliseconds of each other and the ever wonderful Eddie Marsan is mesmerising and utterly terrifying, literally filling the screen with his insidious and genius attempts to push River Into a pit he will never crawl free from.
Arresting Ira's attacker, who ultimately admits to being paid to silence Haider Jamal Abdi, it soon becomes apparent that a cash for Clearance to remain in the UK scam has been in place for an age. Stevie had been investigating. Tom is in it up to his neck, Chrissie herself realising that he had had much too much disposable cash at his fingertips when paying for home improvements. His arrest for perverting the course of justice is a harrowing experience for all concerned as it so directly impacts the team and friendships that were long held.
With a whole episode yet to come, I suspect that things are not as simple as they seem and my worry is River's mental stability might not extend to the full hour and Dr Cream's Dire predictions might come to pass.