the third day
Image: Sky UK/HBO

‘The Third Day’: Tuesday – The Daughter

The Third Day is entering its home stretch now, and it does so in style with what may be its best episode yet. ‘Tuesday – The Daughter’ keeps up the haunting atmosphere and tension as it starts answering some of our questions.

Jess is going into labour, and the village is split about what should happen to her child. Helen steps in to help ensure that the labour goes smoothly, but things are complicated when Jess goes missing. Helen and the villagers form search parties, and she takes advantage of the confusion to inquire about the real reason she’s on the island – she’s searching for her missing husband, Sam, and she’s not willing to let the Oseans lie about his whereabouts. Her quest leads her to an unexpected encounter. Meanwhile, a teenager called Kail (Freya Allan) sets her sights on enticing Ellie to join the Osea community.

This is really a slow-burn as we crawl towards the final episode, more concerned with character than it was with the plot

‘Tuesday – The Daughter’ sits in a weird place in The Third Day’s run. It needs to start wrapping up plot threads and set the stage for the finale, but it also needs to keep up the atmosphere, and it nails both. This is really a slow-burn as we crawl towards the final episode, more concerned with character than it was with the plot (this didn’t occur to me when I was watching but, on reflection, we meander along here, and very little actually happens). But it’s so taut, so tightly controlled, that this isn’t a problem – few shows make conversations and imagery into such compelling viewing.

There are a lot of brilliant scenes in this episode. Look at Naomie Harris’ face when she realises that the baby she helped to deliver was fathered by Sam – her tears of joy turn to sadness, and she says so much with her eyes. Later on, as she’s tasked with heading to the big house and finding Sam, she sells us shock, fury and hope without saying a single word. It’s incredible acting, and it’s in these human reactions that The Third Day really excels.

It’s a standout scene in an episode full of them. Hunting for Jess, Helen forms a search party with a man known as the Cowboy (Paul Kaye), who gets very uncomfortable as he probes her about her grief for Nathan. It’s very tense – you want Helen to shake the questioning, but it is gripping as the Cowboy digs further into her story. You have to wander whether his interest is fuelled by the discord on the island, but it’s left ambiguous this episode. Helen also gets to confront the Martins, whose love of lying while trying to appear sincere is on full display.

It threw cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger at us, and they all landed perfectly

Helen’s focus on finding Sam does half-explain away her frustrating decision to constantly leave her kids on their own, even though it leads to some lovely sisterly scenes. This doesn’t end well for either of them. Jess goes a bit slasher when she figures out who the family are, leading to a terrifying scene in which she extols the virtue of the island and chases Lu with a knife. Ellie is falling under the thrall of a girl who I believe is one of Jess’ daughters – Kail is used largely as a form of exposition, explaining the island’s religious history and its links to Jack the Ripper, but Allan’s performance is so frighteningly intense, it’s hard to find the acceptance she’s offering anything other than terrifying.

‘Tuesday – The Daughter’ covers a lot of ground and leaves us in a very interesting place for the final episode. It’s tightly crafted and a slow-burn that really gets under your skin, and I really don’t know what will happen next. It threw cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger at us, and they all landed perfectly. What will happen to the family? What will happen to Osea? Whatever happens, I trust that The Third Day will deliver, and wrap up ‘Winter’ in a gripping fashion.

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