Last week’s episode did rather stray into Inside No 9 territory towards the end, what with forensic officer Tim Ifield’s bargain-basement B&Q-style Chainsaw Massacre tribute on his kitchen floor. Although, had Roz Huntley (Thandie Newton) been torn asunder, it would have been as good a death scene as Messrs. Shearsmith and Pemberton could have dreamt up for their star players. The scene did pehaps err on the side of silly – indeed, had the late, great Graham Chapman’s Colonel from Monty Python popped up to say it was all getting too silly, we wouldn’t have been surprised in the slightest.
NB: Spoilers inside
Faced with the alternatives of chopping up the very much alive Huntley, or offering to kiss and make up, what is Ifield more likely to have done? That rather depends on whether he is the balaclava killer – suggested by the fact that he actually owns a balaclava – or is innocent – as suggested by the fact that he seems to be trying to clear Farmer.
However, for the current killings at least, our money is still on Huntley’s husband Nick, partly because he’s played by the estimable Lee Ingleby, so must play a significant part in the plot, and partly because if he’s the kind of swine who doesn’t put the bins out, he’s capable of any sort of atrocity.
While Farmer’s hospital alibi gives Arnott a case against Huntley, her colleague Twyler (Michael Stobbart) fills in for her absence. Whan a dismembered body is found, of course we’re meant to think it’s Huntley – but Ifield surely wouldn’t have scattered the parts with such abandon.
No, this is bound to be Leonie , the second missing woman. When Huntley walks into the station, late and a bit shaky but very much un-dismembered, it looks like our suspicions are confirmed.
The first full-blown AC-12 interview of the series sees Hastings on top form, demolishing Huntley and her ineffectual rep with a one-two of dodgy evidence and questionable motivation. Has she really been influenced by a desire to get her stalled career back on track? This might be a low blow from Hastings, and sounds uncharacteristically unfair coming from him, but it has the ring of truth to it – unless he’s playing the long game and actually aiming his accusations at Huntley’s boss Hilton (Paul Higgins).
So with Huntley off the case, what’s happened to Ifield? Huntley has his laptop, and soon finds the biometric evidence that’s done her in – but how did she get his password? Has she tortured it out of him?
The atmosphere in the AC-12 office is tense – Kate’s passed her inspectors exam, so Steve is burning with jealousy, and Kate is grinding her teeth at Hastings’ sexist line of questioning to Huntley. So she takes great pleasure in showing them both the door when Ifield is found dead in his flat, and she gets a stinking glare from Steve in return.
At this point we have to assume that Huntley killed Ifield – but why did she do such a poor job of cleaning up, leaving her blood, and all his work refuting her evidence? Her attempts to interfere with the evidence initially succeed, as does her planting of Ifield’s DNA on the dismembered body – but we bet they’ll catch her out in the end, as will her attempts to conceal Ifield’s phone and laptop.
When it becomes clear that Ifield was in touch with kidnap victim Hana, his motivations become suspect. Now, could it be that he was indeed involved in the kidnappings, but had a partner who later did away with him? Could that partner have been Huntley’s husband, who always seems to get in late from work? (and we still don’t know what he does for a living – he could be a balaclava salesman).
Buckells (Nigel Boyle), now in charge of Operation Trapdoor, has to be brought to heel when he recognises Kate from a previous op, but at some stage he’s sure to blow the gaff on her.
Hastings, meanwhile, is acting like some sort of sexist dinosaur, calling Huntley ‘darling’, declining to be seen in the pub with Kate and making references to Pan’s People which date him terribly. Hilton is just as bad. It looks like institutional sexism is going to be the underlying theme of the series, so will Huntley end up being punished for her gender rather than for her crimes?
By the end of the episode though, Huntley is very much in the driving seat again, and there’s no going back for her, she’s ‘in blood so far steep’d’; she’s implicated Ifield, sabotaged the evidence against her, compromised Hilton, and undermined AC-12, and we wouldn’t put it past her to run rings around the lot of them. But she faces a mortal enemy in Kate, who is now seething at being denied promotion. Will the sistas stick together? No way. Someone’s going down hard.