Last week saw the return of S4C’s Y Gwyll (Hinterland) for a third series, and straight away it settled into a familiar groove: a grim tale of a harsh wind-swept world, people worn down by decades of feuds and battles, and secrets bubbling to the surface when they can’t be kept at bay any longer. Our first two-part story of the series saw Mathia and Rhys looking into the murder of local pastor Elwyn Jones. As ever, it was a slow, methodical trudge through the investigation, a pace and style that Y Gwyll has made its own.
NB: Spoilers inside
The investigation continued, but it was fairly obvious that the Jones family – wife and mother Sioned, daughter Beca and son Owain – were hiding something even though young mechanic Trystan emerged as a key suspect at the end of last week’s episode. No, Elwyn was a very bad man indeed, shielding behind his religion to mete out all kinds of terrible abuse to Sioned, and, as this concluding episode evolved it became a study of one family’s closeness and fragmentation. Closeness because they looked after each other, loved each other and ultimately lied for each other; but fragmentation because abuse often splinters families. Each member keep secrets, they blame themselves and they all feel shame, even though they are the survivors.
In the end, Sioned came forward to take the blame for the murder of her husband but you just knew that she was lying and covering for one of her children. And this is Y Gwyll all over – no great shocks or twists, but highly credible, heartbreaking storylines. Owain was the one who murdered his father (who had forbidden him to go to college only weeks earlier and had displayed a devotion to pleasing him that turned into rage and hatred when he was spurned), but couldn’t face the world anymore. He hung himself in his father’s chapel.
Again, heartbreaking and highly credible and believable.
It was elsewhere that the real twists and turns were beginning to gather pace. Mathias had had enough of the cloak and dagger Iwan Thomas stuff, and went out (without a warrant, naturally) to investigate the cousin’s lodgings where Thomas was likely to be staying. With his trusty beanie and torch (you know Mathias means business when the beanie and torch come out) he told Thomas’s cousin to tell him that he was looking for him. Which is probably bad news for Mathias in the long run, because… Thomas had arranged to meet Prosser on Devil’s Bridge at midnight, where Thomas accused the shifty CS of not only covering up the child abuse scandal, but also being part of it, too. Prosser summarily threw Thomas off the bridge. No one saw that coming, and it potentially opens up a whole new storyline. No more shady Iwan Thomas in the shadows, and now no more Prosser in the shadows – we know what he’s about and what he’s capable of.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Prosser now frames Mathias for Thomas’s death once his body is found. After all, the CS whispered to an accomplice that he wasn’t too worried about what Mathias knows, it’s what he suspects…
For our episode one review, go here