Thursday, 19 November 2015

**Spoiler Alert** River learns the truth in the last in this tremendous series.

Well we have reached an end. River knows exactly who killed Stevie.

I think the best thing about this reveal was the way it was not signposted. Like a real police investigation the pieces came together randomly and through an awful lot of digging and laborious sifting through lists.

The sad thing is that the guilty and the innocent were equally going to be affected by what was discovered.

Tom, the philandering Judge was completely and utterly blatant in his culpability in getting immigrants fast tracked through the leave to stay process. He was blackmailed so as to avoid wife Chrissie finding out about his affairs. The Lives of a prominent judge, a high ranked police officer and three children ruined.

Who was the architect of everyone's misery and the puppet master behind the actual murder?

Family friend and businessman Michael. Ira's research revealed the scam allowing illegals to get fast track appeals and things started to add up.  Stevie had known he was up to no good and had given an edict that Frankie was not to be involved.  Poor Frankie, gopher and slave to an overbearing mother and criminal "uncle". When his sounding board and only comfort Stevie seemed distant, he became fodder for Michael's insidious manipulations.

Stevie had tried so hard to protect him from this and the deep dark secret the Stevensons had been harbouring since Stevie's teens that, she and not nightmare motormouth mother Bridie was actually Frankie's mum, that at fourteen had fallen pregnant.

This the secret Stevie could never tell. This the reason for the £10,000 entrusted to River for Frankie's welfare and this ultimately led to the drunken shooting by her beloved boy of his very own mother made this doubly tragic.

The revelation of who Frankie's father was left a sour taste in my mouth and causes a River utter revulsion. The ultimate betrayal of trust. The whole truth might never be revealed, but the family who rallied around Frankie had obviously written Stevie off even before her loyalty to the police left them estranged.

Of course the reason why "River"  was such gripping television was the entities who haunted him since childhood. The risk that John might tip over the endless abyss into a psychotic break was always present and so for me it was how this part of his life might be resolved that really interested me and the awful revelations from Stevie's case was likely to be the catalyst especially with Thomas Cream forever looking on whenever River ever got close to describing his pain to anyone who might understand. 

The final catharsis, the anger at being deserted by his mother and his unspoken grief at losing Stevie is finally expressed at his group counselling session where he gives Cream a good pasting and releases the pain, one hopes exorcising  him for good from his subconscious as the manifestation of all that was guilt and despair and sadness within him. Eddie Marsan's look of bewildered surprise at being rejected was a sight to behold. Much kudos goes to him for playing off Stellen Skarsgard so beautifully, such expressive faces were made for these confrontations.

Finally able to find meaning to the awful events of Stevie's death, John is (ably supported by the young lady who tragically died in a failed suicide pact and the boy falsely accused of killing Stevie who fell to his death) getting ready for a date, but with a difference. He is reliving the last times he spent with Stevie. 

These scenes were heartbreaking. Here we saw the two of them together as they were, just starting to explore their feelings for each other. She desperately wants him to verbalise them, he was unable to do this and so he lost her before being able to tell her that he loved her so when he says what he should have said and her face breaks out in a beaming smile, it made me so sad and yet so glad for him.  There follows a sequence where they sing and dance and cuddle and almost.... But not quite ...share a kiss . 

Ira sees him and takes him for food and while he waits in the car, Stevie make a final appearance to tell John she loves him too and gently fades away. Touching and heartbreaking.

I worried for John that he would just give up and give into despair but it is certain Ira and his family will keep him from that. They seem to know just how to deal with him, so while it is with sadness we leave him, it is also with hope that he will continue to mend.

I cannot say enough about how much I have enjoyed this series and the central performance of Stellan Skarsgard was just outstanding, he projects and conveys emotions with so very little verbalisation. He is supported by a stand out performance from Nicola Walker as Stevie particularly in the latter episodes.  A love story seen in reverse and achingly tender to the last.

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