Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rewatch: The Tunnel: S01E10

Yes, I'm back! Sorry I've been out of commission for so long, breaking one of the cardinal rules of blogging as a result (always provide regular updates) but study with the Open Polytechnic suddenly intensified and I found a project deadline looming that needed my full attention.
But it's all over now, so I can return my attention to more interesting matters. TV shows! I've been keeping up with The Shannara Chronicles and The 100 and their less-than-exemplary creative decisions, so hopefully I'll have some reviews up soon. Until then, here's the last instalment of The Tunnel to tide you over.
When I started this rewatch, I made a deal with the universe that by the time I reached its final episode we would have some news on its next season – and ho, the universe delivered! We now have a range of promotional pictures (scroll down), a teaser trailer (that doesn't give much away) and a full trailer (which is entirely in French).
Hey, it's better than nothing, and it looks as though Angel's role has been expanded upon. And is that Emilia Fox? Morgause and Guinevere together again! Okay, that doesn't make much sense considering those two characters didn't interact once in Merlin (unless you count a brief reaction shot in The Eye of the Phoenix) but I'm going to be so annoyed if they don't share a scene in this forthcoming season.
On with the review. Since this is the final episode, please expect SPOILERS below the cut.

I know that for the last episode I should be all excited and thrilled and rapturous (as I was with Whitechapel) but I can’t really walk away from this conclusion feeling anything other than miserable. I’ve no doubt that this is what the show was aiming for given the Downer Ending, but it wasn’t just Adam’s death that has left me a bit deflated.
So TT is finally identified and tracked down, only for it to become apparent that he plans to go out with a bang by having Karl kill him in front of the viewing public (thanks to the press and CTV cameras). Elise arrives just in the nick of time to talk him down, only for her difficulty in lying to get the better of her, and Karl to realize that Adam hasn’t survived his kidnapping. (But not before the show rips my heart out by having Karl smile at Elise, knowing that she always tells the truth and fully believing her when she initially states that Adam is fine and recovering at the hospital).
Why is it such a punch in the guts? Not just because it’s always tragic when a young person loses their life, but because the show took the time to establish Karl’s family as real people, with a messy dynamic and individual aspirations. And I liked Adam. I think the most devastating element to his death was not just his last words (telling Kieran that he didn’t need “Becky” to encourage him to love his father – he did that anyway) but that no one but Kieran heard those words. Karl will never know what his son said about him, not unless Kieran plans to share, which I doubt he will.
Although I couldn’t quite discern Adam’s very final words: listening to it twice, I was sure that he said: “for his kindness” before he drifted off. (As in, he loved his father for his kindness).
His death overshadows the rest of the episode, which is pretty much just moving everyone else towards the final Karl/Kieran confrontation and Karl’s subsequent choice to spare the murderer of his son. Elise was surprisingly low-key, since based on the conclusion of the previous episode I thought for sure she’d be the one leading the hunt for Adam and eventually rescuing him. Yeah, I’m the eternal optimist. As such, I’m a bit disappointed that her most important role in this episode was to talk down Karl, for despite their joint-billing in the opening credits, I think the final two episodes did nudge her out a bit.
Still, there were some good moments between the two of them: Elise sharing that her sister is her imaginary guide in her memory house, and sharing a genuine hug with Karl in the closing moments. The show established a nice rapport between them, with Elise’s cool demeanour clearly being the only thing that could keep Karl under some semblance of control.
And I really appreciated the scene in which Karl stands up in front of the entire investigative team and confesses that he slept with Kieran’s wife. Despite his “kindness” as Adam (possibly) describes, he really did have a degree of cowardice in him when it came to his lack of personal responsibility. If there was any theme to his story-arc in this series, it would have been “sins cast long shadows”, for most of which he suffered in these last two episodes was a direct result of Kiernan’s vendetta.
But it leaves open an interesting question: despite genuinely hurting people, including his wife by cheating on her, is Karl a bad person? Obviously not compared to the likes of Kieran Ashton, but I appreciated the way the show gave us two incredibly messed-up protagonists. Elise had a firm understanding of justice but was immensely cold and clinical; Karl was warm and kind-hearted but also wrecked utter havoc with other people’s lives.
All things considered, it was a bit of an abrupt ending. The time-skip at the very end meant Adam’s death had a lack of closure: we saw Karl grieving in his bedroom, but without any sight of his son's body, funeral or biological mother it all still feels a bit up in the air. I suppose we’re meant to assume from Laura’s presence (complete with visibly pregnant stomach) that Karl’s marriage was salvaged, but it’s a shame we didn’t get a proper reaction from her regarding her stepson’s death.
I enjoyed Andrea Kerrigan and would have liked to have seen more of her, especially regarding the whole Peloton affair. Come to think of it, there are a few loose ends left dangling, from the larger question of what was really going on with Peloton, to the small question mark hovering over the refugee woman and her son that got (literally) Put On a Bus mid-way through the series and weren’t seen again. Still, I’m glad at least that TT was thwarted in his final “truth” and will presumably be spending the rest of his life in prison.
So that was The Tunnel. I haven’t seen the American or the original Scandinavian versions yet, though I’ll probably seek them out at some point just to see how they compare with this one.

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