guilt
BBC/Expectation/Happy Tramp North/Mark Mainz

Guilt Episode Two review

After the promise of the opening episode of Guilt, I was very excited to see where the series would head next. The second episode shifts its focus from both brothers to the arguably more interesting one, upping the intrigue but not really troubling the highs of the opening.

Max’s decision to hire private detective Kenny is proving a dangerous one, as suspicions about Walter’s death begin to grow. Max hopes to derail the investigation, but his attention is distracted by another problem – Walter’s neighbour Sheila (Ellie Haddington), who claims to have witnessed the brothers’ deed and is demanding money to keep silent. He does his best to stay in control, but will his efforts to cover up the crime prove detrimental to his crumbling home life? Meanwhile, Jake finds himself falling in love with Angie, and begins hoping that she will stay in Scotland.

Will his efforts to cover up the crime prove detrimental to his crumbling home life?

This episode dealt a bit more with the aftermath of Walter’s death and the investigation. Now that the groundwork has been laid, writer Neil Forsyth focuses on the characters; in particular, we follow Max as he tries to put out the many fires developing, and Bonnar invests him with more depth here. The Max we saw in episode one was furious and darkly funny, but here we see a man struggling with the exhausting circumstances (in one scene, he talks with Sheila and opens up about how the cover-up is weighing on him). He’s yet to feel guilt, but his sheer tiredness and lack of control feels just as true.

The other main focus is Emun Elliott as Kenny, who really comes into his own as a detective – his rapid transition from being a drunken failure to having a new lease of life points to many new leads in the case, and Kenny’s enthusiasm as he starts to piece everything together is obvious. His smirk as Max fires him indicates that he will soon become a threat to the brothers – he clearly has a suspicion about what is going on, but how will it play out?

Kenny’s smirk as Max fires him indicates that he will soon become a threat to the brothers

Sadly, this shift in attention means that both Jamie Sives and Ruth Bradley are underserved here. Angie is still digging into Walter’s death, and she will undoubtedly have more to do soon. Meanwhile, Jake is left to pine after Angie and go on about classic records. While he did this a lot in the first episode, it was counteracted by his emotional misgivings at what he and Max were doing. Here, his role is reduced to a bit of a cliché, so hopefully the rest of the series will rectify this.

This instalment of Guilt has far fewer laughs than the first – I don’t think I found anything funny, which is a bit of a shame given how darkly funny the opening episode was. Forsyth also struggles to find much to do with Sian Brooke as Max’s wife, who pursues a lesbian affair with a gym friend in a side story that still feels completely detached from the rest of the show. I fear that the eventual endpoint to this story will just be another stick to beat Max, but I hope that there’s more going on than that.

Jake begins to question Angie’s true motives, which should lead to some dramatic clashes in the latter half of the series

So, where are we at the end of Guilt’s second episode? Suspicions are increasing –mostly Kenny’s, but also Jake’s as he begins to question Angie’s true motives, which should lead to some dramatic clashes in the latter half of the series. And most interestingly, we now know for certain that there is something going on between Angie and Sheila, and the suggestion that they have a plot of their own should prove fruitful. I don’t have the slightest idea how things are going to pan out, and I’m really intrigued to see what happens next.

All four episodes of Guilt are now available on BBC iPlayer.

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