Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (S3 E4/8), Sunday 20th November, S4C


y-gwyll-threeIt’s very difficult to know how deeply to go into the plotline of Y Gwyll, if only because there are so many ways and places to watch it. I’m reviewing it after watching it on S4C – the show’s Welsh-language home – because it only seems and feels right. But other will watch it on the BBC next year and then, at some point, Netflix, on which it seems very popular with non-UK viewers. But a review has to be a review, which means spoilers (which used to be called details before people got their knickers in a twist over them) and discussion. Anyway, here’s what happened in episode four – the half-way point – of this third series.

NB: Like the man said: spoilers inside

Last week the discovery of Iwan Thomas’s body at the bottom of Devil’s Bridge saw Mathias accused of a possible murder, not only by DS Owens (who was handling the investigation) but also by new independent investigator, John Powell, who had been brought in by Prosser to oversee things.

But the first act of this instalment was a sombre, beautifully photographed sequence of intimate encounters.

Mathias and the owner of the B&B chatted closely over a glass of whisky in a half-lit bar (the electrics had gone down, you see), while Rhys, too, was having a chat with John Powell. The first scene in this episode saw Prosser reveal to us that she had worked with Powell when she was a PC in another town. He asked her if she knew him. She told him that she was just a PC.

But of course she did know him, and the pair saw each other for the first time in year on the seafront, waves crashing all around them. They obvious had previous. He asked her about Elin. She must be thinking about going to university, he mused. He said that if he could turn back the clock h could, but he had a family. A wife. She told him she hadn’t asked him for anything. He told her that she was still his daughter. Rhys snarled back: she was never your daughter.

So the mystery of who Elin’s father is had been revealed, and together the two lead characters’ mirroring each other is typical Y Gwyll – there’s always a lot of clever mirroring going on, especially when it comes to the cases themselves. But here both Mathias and Rhys’s personal lives were examined, each reaching a different conclusion – Mathias in bed with the hotel owner, Rhys terrified that Powell would re-enter her life and take her daughter away from her.

As if to increase the mirroring, a visit to murder victim Laura Dean’s boyfriend Ifan in his biochemistry lab saw him whisper things about finding the right soil and the right light and watching things grow. You put the effort and the care in, and you are rewarded.

I couldn’t help thinking that this hit the bullseye when it came to Rhys’s feeling about her teenage daughter and the return of her former lover and the father of her child. She hadn’t wanted for anything, she had raised her on her own. She put in the effort and the care, and she had been rewarded. But now that equilibrium was being threatened.

Elsewhere, there was some mirroring going with the artist Lewis John and his long-suffering wife, Anna. It was revealed that Anna had chosen the muses for her husband. She explained to Mathias that they were all the same and that she got to the point that they had almost presented themselves in a crowd or on a street. She knew Lewis’s type oh-so-well. It was a sad element to their relationship – she desperately trying to retain control over situations she feared she could have none. But Mathias, thinking that Anna may now be a suspect, asked her where the line was drawn; where the professional line was drawn. She answered the question with another question: you’re a professional, have you ever crossed the line?

Had he crossed the line? That’s what DS Owens and John Powell are trying to find out. Nothing much happened in the Iwan Thomas enquiry in this episode and the Laura Dean case had been solved (it was a jealous Ifan), but instead we got some extraordinarily intimate moments featuring our two main characters. Cases and faces, both causing Mathias and Rhys to lay bare their souls.

Paul Hirons

For all our news and reviews on Y Gwyll/Hinterland, go here

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Charlotte Carling says:

    Y Gwyll is broadcast first and must be considered the original. It would hardly be right to hold back info in reviews just because some people choose to wait for Hinterland. People without access yet, who don’t want spoilers, are hardly likely to read reviews of episodes they have yet to watch.

    Unfortunately, Nordic broadcasters have opted for Hinterland. It’s such a shame. When was there ever an opportunity to show anything like this in Welsh before…? There are so many English crime series out there, I really would have thought it quite a unique selling point to offer it in Welsh. Apparently not.

    I’m quite intrigued to see how the plotline with Rhys, Elin and Powell continues.


    1. Seija says:

      I must side with you on this one, CC. Similar thoughts on wishing to see the Welsh version of the series have been expressed here in Finland.


      1. Charlotte Carling says:

        It could also have been a good selling point on the part of the team behind the series to offer 2 for the price of 1. Broadcasters could air one but make both versions available online so that viewers could choose for themselves.


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