Review: Y Gwyll/Hinterland (S3 E7/8), Sunday 11th December, S4C

y-gwyll-threeThroughout this whole series, the spectres of Robert Owen, Brian Prosser, Iwan Thomas and the Devil’s Bridge children’s home have loomed large over proceedings. Ever since Thomas showed up at the end of series three, we’ve known that event at the Devil’s Bridge had been left unresolved. Now, in the final two episodes of this third series, we’re finally about to see the end game of this lingering story play out. It’s just a question of who survives.

NB: Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers

After the decks were cleared in episode six, Mathias and Rhys needed a way back into this case. Yes, they’ve been aware of Powell’s investigation, but they’ve had their hands full with other cases. But a haunting sequence at the start of this episode, which saw an inmate at a psychiatric institution – Catrin John – take her own life by plunging a pair of scissors into her neck.

Mathias and Rhys investigated and found that Catrin had been an attendee of Devil’s Bridge home, was raped and gave birth to a girl, who was subsequently taken away from her from Helen Jenkins. This was the basis of Y Gwyll’s first-ever case back in series one, but it seems there was a lot more to it than they first realised – Catrin had received a visit from Iwan Thomas two weeks before her death, who had shown her some photographs from his case file. She flipped; ugly, distressing memories she’d worked so hard to process suddenly exploding back into the front of her consciousness once again.

Suddenly, Mathias and Rhys were into something bigger than they realised, and they really knew it. They retraced the Devil’s Bridge story – classic, methodical Y Gwyll investigation ahoy – and did the rounds, interviewing Paul Webb, an old attendee of the home who had sold his mate Kieron Jones (deceased) out by not corroborating his accusations of abuse. Another man, the local GP at the time, was also in a ‘class picture’. He had also taken his own life and Mathias and Rhys were convinced he had been part of the abuse scandal.

The more Mathias looked at it – he had also received a warning from Prosser to leave a potential lead alone – the more it stank, but he and Rhys had nothing to go on.

Until… Powell had acquiesced to Owen’s threats and filed a verdict of suicide to the coroner in his investigation into the death of Iwan Thomas, but before he left town he handed Rhys his case files.

Now Mathias and Rhys were cooking.

It was great stuff. In typical Y Gwyll style there were no twists or turns that made you leap out of your seat, but, also in typical Y Gwyll style, this steady, grinding, linear method of investigation also hooked me in good and proper. This is even more impressive when you think that we already know Owen is dodgy, and we also know Prosser is dodgy (although we’re not quite sure what role he played in the Devil’s Bridge case). We know whodunit. But, unlike a Modus – where the construction of the story is all at sea – this keeps you gripped. It’s perfectly weighted and balanced, and the cat is just the right distance away from the mouse.

We left Mathias and Rhys to go their separate ways in the investigation, with Mathias preparing to visit Owen in his lair. Last episode next week.

Paul Hirons

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

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