This second series of Hinterland/Y Gwyll has been of the highest quality, but now it’s time for the final two-part story of the series. In the last episode we saw the re-emergence of Iwan Thomas, a character who first appeared in the final episodes of the last series. He has some serious beef with Prosser, and everything pointed to something that the taciturn chief was covering up. But what? And what kind of gruesome case would Mathias and Rhys be thrust into this time?
We were straight into the action. This story’s backdrop was the briny, windswept beaches of the Ceredigion region, which hosted clanging bell buoys, rusting boats in old boat yards… it was back to the country, but not the craggy valleys of previous episodes – it was the beaches and boat yards that also make up the hinterland in Hinterland.
We’ve not really seen this side of the region before, but the rest of this story was pure old-school Hinterland/Y Gwyll.
A charred body was found on one of these beaches, which was soon identified as 39-year-old Aron Bowen, who was a convicted murderer released from prison six months previously. Despite protesting his innocence, he was sent down for 13 years for killing his then partner, Abi Watkins. They left a teenage daughter, Ffion.
And so the investigation unfolded. Mathias and Rhys made their way around Bowen’s family – his brother was not too surprised at his death and told them to stay away from Ffion, who he and his wife had raised since Abi’s death and Aron’s incarceration; and Aron’s mother Annes, who said she had not been in contact with her son since his release.
On the other side of the line, Abi’s father, Will, explained to Mathias and Rhys that there had been a long-standing beef between the families. In 1973, Aron Bowen’s father’s boat yard had sent back Will’s father’s boat after repairs. Will and his father – and two others – went out to sea, but the repairs didn’t hold and the ship went down. Will was the only survivor.
We’ve seen this in other episodes, where bitter feuds between old families still bubble to this day, sometimes into murder, and it’s this sense of history and place that give Hinterland/Y Gwyll a depth and richness that other crime dramas perhaps do not have. Everyone knows each other in these town, villages and small communities. Feuds and arguments are carried down from generation to generation, and people like Mathias and Rhys are left to pick up the pieces.
But to the story at hand. Mathias and Rhys were becoming increasingly convinced that Aron Bowen was innocent of the murder of his partner. They weren’t the only ones – Ffion also refused to believe that her father could have done such a thing to the woman he loved, her mother. Could there have been a huge miscarriage of justice? Mathias, as ever, was drawn to the broken and confused Ffion, now struggling to understand why life was like it was after now both her mother and father had been murdered.
The potential miscarriage of justice brought Prosser into play. The opening shot of this episode saw the chief deep in thought, which looked fairly ominous. Sure enough, throughout the episode he chided Mathias for looking into Bowen’s innocence and urged, no ordered, him to stick to finding his killer. Mathias argued that the two cases went hand in hand. Prosser also asked Mathias whether Iwan Thomas had been in contact again, obviously worried by this man and what he signified. Oh, and one more thing: Prosser arrived home to be met by his wife, who told him that ‘there was someone to see him’. We never got to see who that person was.
There’s obviously more than meets the eye about this case. A cover-up perhaps? One of many cover-ups, if Iwan Thomas was correct in his warning in the last episode.
This episode ended with Mathias leaving the station and secretly being photographed. By Iwan Thomas, maybe? If so, why?
Something’s bubbling under the surface here.
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