Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (S3 E5/8), Sunday 27th November, S4C

y-gwyll-threeWe’re progressing nicely in this third series of Y Gwyll, with some neat character progression and plenty of intrigue. However, if there’s a criticism of Y Gwyll it’s that each case Mathias and Rhys investigate follows a pretty standard routine: the duo gets a call, they go out, they investigate the scene (which usually means Mathias snaps on a pair of blue rubber gloves, and processes the scene meticulously) and then the interviewing starts, which is where Rhys comes in (her greater empathy and human connectivity often coming to the fore). But in tonight’s episode there was something different and new, and certainly something we haven’t seen before in this programme – the killer was revealed from the very first scene.

NB: Spoilers forthcoming

As ever with Y Gwyll, everything was beautifully shot – even the first scene where a man (who turned out to have the name Llew Morris) shaved his head, sawed off the end of a shotgun and readied himself for action was nicely done. It was only left for him to travel to his destination and shoot the man he wanted to shoot (in the chest, which sent him careering backwards).

Mathias, whose relationship with his hotel landlady was continuing nicely (he was even seen smiling for one, fleeting second), was called out to investigate and soon the usual methodical process was being carried out, except for one crucial difference – there was an added urgency because Morris had taken his son out of school and was on the run. Mathias, Rhys and even Prosser didn’t know his end game, nor why he had done what he had done.

A routine stop at Morris’s parents’ house revealed another grisly scene – a sick mother finished off, her leathery skin and sunken cheeks providing a haunting image, while the father lay slain by the same shotgun that finished off his other victim. Interviews with Morris’s estranged wife revealed him to be an unstable, violent man.

Time was not on Mathias and Rhys’s side. They had to find him and find him quickly before he did more damage – everything pointed to a suicide mission of sorts, it was just a case of what he had in mind for him and his young son, Bryn.

This urgency and cat-and-mouse game did the show wonders and mixed up the structure a bit: Owens was taken off the Iwan Thomas case to help Mathias, while Powell was left to ponder why Thomas’s last call was to Prosser. Elsewhere, Powell also asked Rhys to see Elin (which was met with a blank rebuff).

So it was all go and an interesting new wrinkle in a show that likes to take its time. With Mathias letting Morris slip through his fingers once, it’ll be interesting to see how this one shakes out. We left him and Bryn shacked up in a benevolent old lady’s house after telling her that their car had broken down and had asked for refuge until the breakdown people turned up. Judging by the way an edgy, nervy Morris was eying the woman (and the fact he had ripped the phone from the wall), I don’t like her chances of surviving. And being Y Gwyll, there’s a sense of dread that tells me it won’t be a happy ending.

Paul Hirons

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

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