“I’ve seen you risk your life to save others and I believe in you.”
Sadly, we weren’t permitted the same luxury as Beth any longer this week; we were forced to wake up from the fantasy that was Lucas North.
There was a heavy, menacing atmosphere pervading everything from the very first scene as, inch by inch, we got closer to the big “John” revelation that has been such a long time coming. In contrast to last week’s high-speed chase of an episode, most of this one was quiet and slow as the writers took time to weave in a desperately sad story touching on Ruth’s grief over her lost family and Harry’s guilt that has been a long time coming as well, before finally telling us who John is, or was, and is now going to be again.
Dimitri and Beth’s presence seemed intrusive; they didn’t belong in this story of a heroine who survived horrors only to begin dying inside, and a killer “who fell asleep and dreamed he was a hero.” The episode went overboard with the flashbacks – to things that happened ten minutes earlier? Really, guys? – and the massive amount of exposition threatened to slow things down a little too much at points, but the power was in the performances and the almost Shakespearean air of tragedy around them. Ruth’s ordeal in the flat and her grim resignation afterwards, Harry’s concern and affection turning to contempt, John’s self-loathing and despair – all bravura work from Nicola Walker, Peter Firth and Richard Armitage which made this hard to watch but impossible not to. A fun episode it wasn’t, but a heartbreaking, nerve-shredding and incredibly powerful one it turned out to be.