Ordeal By Innocence (2018) 1x01
Finally BBC1 airs this reshot Agatha Christie 3-part adaptation. Christian Cooke of ‘Demons’ and ‘Trinity’ replaced Ed Westiwck. Rachel, a matriarch and heiress, is killed. There is blood and screaming. Her adopted son Jack is arrested and claims an alibi but no-one listens. Did he kill his mother? He spits and does Joker laughs which don’t help his case. He dies in jail and his adoptive sisters wear black veils. Rachel (Anna Chancellor of ’Suburban Shootout’) kept adopting children and was a 1950s version of Mia Farrow.
18 months pass and her widower Leo (Bill Nighy) is to remarry. This has nice opening credits. Leo’s bimbo secretary turned fiancée (Alice Eve) is not liked due to being shrill and hateful. Leo’s son in law (Matthew Goode of ‘Watchmen’) is in a wheelchair and is abusive to his wife and works out with his shirt off.
Mickey (Cooke) shows up, he’s into self harm. No one explains how Goode gets around the house which is not wheelchair accessible. Mickey is not liked, he ran off to the Korean War to get away from his family. A man claming to be Jack’s alibi shows up. He has a convoluted story for where he has been since 1954.
No-one believes him or thanks him for the alibi. Alcohol is hidden in toilet cisterns. Flashbacks reveal that Rachel was abusive and caused social stressors. The adoptive siblings have issues and no mutual regard. What sort of person was Jack that his guilt was an unquestioned assumption? This is a bleak melodrama in which people creep menacingly. The new wife to be is a brasser. Rachel was emotionally gruelling and emotionally sparse. There are no prettified, old world trimmings here.
One watches with appalled fascination. Mickey bothers alibi man and acts like a Very Cool Indie Type. People have mournful attitudes. The wife to be wears whore clothes, there are moral lapses and no nostalgia triggers. The family have persecution fantasies and vitriolic opposition to alibi man. Matthew Goode’s character is a money grubbing morphine addict who is fawned over by his wife Mary. He’s grossly disquieting. The wife to be wears an obvious wig. There is jealousy inspired scorn.
Flashbacks show how Rachel was awful to her adoptive daughter Mary on her wedding day. There is angry smoking. Rachel had rages that happened when her children didn’t follow the script she had for them in her own mind. Was she or her husband barren? Matthew Goode’s character is voraciously terrible and is paralysed due to a drunk driving accident. A pervy cop lurks. A put-upon servant is put upon. Albert the alibi man has secrets.
Matthew Goode pot-stirs and Gwenda the wife to be smirks. Is Arthur really who he says he is? Flashbacks show bloodstains where there shouldn’t have been. This was good and intriguing.
“It’s my house now.”
“She’s a tart.”
“Catches me up his fiancée.”
“This is your new daddy.”
“A tweed suit and winter brogues. In July?”
“Did you lose it? In the arctic?”
“My face is at crotch level.”
“I don’t want to be your friend.”
“No one hated her more than you.”
“Don’t come back.”
“Little unwanteds. Landed with their bums in the butter.”
“How typically charming of him.”
“Nasty little bastard.”
“So deliciously squalid.”
Kara harasses Livewire to go with her on a mission to Fort Rozz, which is in space now. People blather about a blue star. Kara recruits some baddie named Psi and Mon-El’s bint wife Saturn Girl to her team. Kara can’t see who Reign is. Saturn Girl annoys. Where is James? Winn is thick. Who is Psi? Why is Mon-El on this show? He’s useless. The extremely volatile individuals hang out with the pathologically vindictive Kara.
Mon-El is an insurmountable problem. Alex is in domestic purgatory as she baby-sits Ruby. Mon-El causes tangible annoyance. Saturn Girl and her stupid accent exudes malice. Lena has one scene. Sarah Douglas has a brief guest role. Baddies refuse to repent.
This was okay even if there is no evident reason for this ep to exist. Kara has forced jollity even as she is made cowed and weak by the blue star. Reign is criticised relentlessly by her Fortress. Reign has a ship? Mon-El is ineradicable. Nobody has cogent conversation. Alex has boring romantic despair over Maggie. There is no implicit trust and Psi is a Jeri Ryan wannabe.
The show is good humoured without actually making you laugh. There is no fandom ingration. The gang aren’t principled or consistent despite complicating matters. Brainiac 5 doesn’t want what Winn’s offering. Kara thinks Reign needs a correction.
Alex bullies a teenager who bullied Ruby. Winn blathers about Voyager 2. Kara meets a priestess (Douglas). Reign freaks out thanks to Psi. Livewire sadly dies. Nobody cares. Sam wails about losing time and nobody connects this to her being Reign. I enjoyed this.
“The Power, the Pestilence, the Purity.”
“The dark fog.”
“And yet you ask.”
“My toast is wet!”
“I LOATHE YOU!”
“That GLOW reject.”
“Bring anguish upon our enemies.”