How often have we all looked forward to a series finale only to be let down by huge, gaping plot holes, unexplained moments, tepid endings or a set-up for further series? The good news is that Craith provided none of these letdowns. And thank goodness – lest we forget, this was not only the series finale but the finale to the whole show, too.
No pressure then.
I’m happy to report that not only did Craith supply an ending worthy of the series but produced one of the great show finales of all time. It was satisfying on every level imaginable – it was tense, pacy (for Craith), emotionally draining but also satisfying, and nicely constructed leaving absolutely nothing left to question. Everything was tied up beautifully.
We left episode five with Siôn and Glyn on the run, and the real worry was that the older brother was going to kill himself and his brother, to extinguish the burning pain, grief and guilt for good.
So it was a matter of extreme urgency that Cadi and Owen found out where they went. They set up camp at Siôn and Glyn’s home to see what they could find, and previously established that the person who had killed Ifan Williams had also killed Father McEwan. Knowing what they now knew about what Ifan Williams had done to Branwen Thomas, it had to Siôn.
As Cadi went to see Hannah to find out more about Siôn and the unstable mood he was in prior to taking off, and Owen went with a patrol car to Siwan’s to make sure she and Gusto were safe, I was just struck with the quality of the script. These people were actually having conversations with each other – adult, nuanced conversations about love and loss, guilt, regret and grief… this was such grown-up, involving television.
And then Cadi, back at the Thomas house began looking for clues and piecing things together.
And I was so pleased about this because in among all the emotional devastation of this series, it still proved Cadi was and still is a damn-fine detective. She saw the cuttings in Siôn’s scrapbook and saw where his mother worked as a nurse, and then asked where he had recently been working.
She and the team raced to the scene, and then proceeded on her own into the half-derelict building to find the brothers (we’ll allow her the hero moment because she truly deserves it). By this stage, I was on the edge of my seat and my heart was in my mouth. Craith will never by Line Of Duty, but this was as close as it got to that kind of intensity and tempo, mainly because Glyn was so uncomfortable in that situation with a clearly unhinged and desperate Siôn and it was a race against time to rescue him.
Within half an hour Siôn (who was played by Sion Ifan superbly well) was in the interview room, and Glyn – when at one stage it looked like he would go down with his brother – was safe and well with Hannah. It was quite the start to the episode.
And then we got something really interesting and unexpected – Cadi not just trying to elicit a confession from Siôn (which came, soon enough) but also something more… she demanded to know the real reason behind his actions. Why he done what he done. Again a very Craithy characteristic.
With Siôn not willing to cooperate, there was a twist of sorts when Cadi spotted something on the CCTV images in the bar where Siôn had bumped into Ifan. Most TV detectives would just not be bothered about finding out the whole truth, all they normally want is a confession and celebratory pint afterwards.
But Cadi wanted to know. Why? Because she revealed her own mother was taken from her at an early age, and she sympathised and empathised with him. When he broke down and explained everything, it felt like a breakthrough.
(I can’t remember if Cadi has disclosed this information before, but I was surprised at the revelation about her mother. It helped to fill in a few character details, and why she often can’t fully commit emotionally to people.)
We got more emotion, too.
Owen interviewed Glyn with Hannah alongside him as his appropriate adult, and Owen was on the edge of tears when he essentially confirmed Siôn has been acting suspiciously. And despite the potentially confusing and emotional overload of the situation, it was Glyn who eventually told Siôn that everything would be alright. Incredible maturity.
(I should also add, during Siôn’s interview he said that Ifan had drunkenly laughed and told him about starting the fire in the bar, which is where found out who killed his mum, and that it was Dafydd who had confessed to Father McEwan about what Ifan had done.)
The only thing left to wrap up was Cadi’s impending move. Over the course of the past few episodes, Cadi has looked increasingly uneasy about the idea of moving to Liverpool. So it was no real surprise when she decided to turn down the job and stay in north Wales, and for us it was a relief of sorts. Perhaps even a punch-the-air moment.
As she snuggled up with Rachel on the beach in front of a fire, you understood that it took courage for her to do choose this path. She opted not to run away, but instead allow herself the hope of happiness.
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do endings.
And of course, the way she decided not to leave home tied into the general theme throughout this series – the home under threat.
We saw Lea being threatened with eviction from her family council house, we saw Siwan and Mair having to contemplate leaving their beloved farm, we saw Father McEwan leave his spiritual home in the most ultimate way possible, and we saw Cadi and her sisters say goodbye to the family home. We also saw Cadi grappling with the idea of leaving the station and her job.
So to weave such an involving and engrossing story around this theme of the home and the threat to it, was clever.
It was backed up by outstanding performance across the board – especially the likes of Sion Ifan and Justin Melluish, as well as Sian Reese-Williams, who has found with Cadi a role that fits her like a glove and vice versa.
So we say goodbye to Craith once and for all; a series that has taken on the baton from Hinterland/Y Gwyll with such aplomb and confidence. We know that Ed Talfan, Hannah Thomas and all at Severn Screen have a well-defined style, both aesthetically and thematically. But with Craith they have honed and improved upon their previous success, which is a heck of an achievement.
It’s surely the best Welsh crime drama we’ve seen, and once again shows how crime drama can tell powerful, emotionally affecting stories featuring characters that have fallen through the cracks – the abused, the mistreated, and the traumatised. The series has never provided an excuse for their actions but has instead sought to give valuable and dramatically viable context. And that is perhaps Craith’s greatest legacy.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE THREE REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FOUR REVIEW
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE FIVE REVIEW