Apple Tree Yard S1:E4 The Verdict Recap

I know I've clustered these recaps all together but the truth is that Apple Tree Yard was made for bingewatching and I've been thinking about it ALL WEEK. What is the deal with Mark? What's going to happen to Yvonne?? I need to KNOW! Rolling the final episode after the break

We're back in court with Dr. Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) and Mark Liam Costley (Ben Chaplin); the exciting illicitness of their short affair has been replaced by the sheer horror of having slept with and having committed several illegal acts with someone you don't actually KNOW.

Yvonne and I are finding it out in bits and pieces, each one more damning that the last. Mark has a personality disorder that causes him to jump on people's throats? He isn't a spook? That one I never quite believed, but she did and the revelation has her reeling. That's why she asked him for help with backing down her rapist George Selway (Steven Elder) after all. The personality disorder worries me more; what sort is it, besides the murder-y part? Does he catfish susceptible women into unlikely affairs in broom closets? Did he know George prior? Let's roll and find out

Yvonne stares at the side of Mark's head in the Defendant box; she thinks Mark's real secret is that he was only in love with secrets. And public sex, but I think we're calling that a fetish and not a secret right now.

We have Sergeant Johns (Denise Gough) on the stand now, giving evidence of Mark's work on the police force. He WAS a security advisor, whew. He was even in charge of the CCTV crews, which explains his knowledge of what looks right and what doesn't. Her evidence is to rebut Mark's defense's claim that he suffers from a personality disorder. DS Johns has never noticed anything at all about Mark, apparently, no changes during any of the huge events of late or ever.

That's unusual innit?

Mark's defense lawyer thinks so too, didn't Mark act up a bit when you two were shagging last November / December? Wasn't there a blip then, DS Johns? Especially in that it ended acrimoniously.

We're all doing the math now, aren't we? He killed George in March, was their affair only three months long? Sorry, sorry, I know that's not important overall, but it feels very important to Yvonne and I right now. Was he having multiple affairs? Is he even married?

DS Johns is reluctantly led down the path of talking about sexual contact with her co-worker Mark in a pub, he really does like it public, doesn't he?

OHHHHHHH

I think I've got this all wrong!! Remember last time when I talked about a young woman shouting at Yvonne about ruining her husband's life?? That was MARK'S wife, not George's!! And I finally sussed that because hearing the details of Mark "fingering" his co-worker sends her out of the room in tears. This is Kate Costley (Kezia Burrows) and she's gone. That makes sense, because I didn't see how a sadistic chump like George Selway was married.

Oh sorry, all my screaming set aside the fact that a grown woman has to answer in court as to whether a murderer had his fingers inside her vagina. Jesus wept. I don't know who I feel worse for, her or Yvonne. Because Mark used that against her.

DS Johns was upset after and told Mark after that she didn't want anything like that to do with him; this is where the acrimony came in. He became hostile and damnit. November is when Yvonne was raped, so while he was comforting her and being her lifeline, he was also trawling for new sex partners. I guess they did say "no parachutes" but that seems hella fucking cold.

It's left Johns' statement open for attack now, since she testified already that she noticed nothing unusual in those days leading up to the murder; does that involve hostility and sexual advances?

Johns says something we're all familiar with when it comes to working with men who don't like having their advances rejected, right?

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Sanderson (Alistair Galbraith) is on the stand now; he examined Mark while on remand and found no evidence of a personality disorder. He was too stable in life and displayed no signs of personality disorder. A marked lack of interest in telling the truth, but that's not the same. It's like when people online diagnose themselves or others with various afflictions; actual disorders present very differently than people think.

The last prosecution witness just confirms that Mark was charged with assault and they're done. Defense turn!

Okay. Well, that wasn't so bad and didn't seem to involve Yvonne much, so maybe that was just the case against Mark. I'm more worried about what Mark's defense team has to say, however will they justify the vicious beating?

Yvonne noticed that her husband Gary (Mark Bonnar) and her daughter Carrie (Olivia Vinall) weren't in the audience at court today; she calls him to find that he took pregnant Carrie for her routine checkup. It's so sweet in the beginning when people come with you to appointments and care and shite.

We're getting ready for court the next day, Mark won't be in the box with her which her attorney Robert (Rhashan Stone) thinks is a good thing. Yvonne wants to know the details of the assault Mark was charged with; he broke the jaw of someone chatting up his wife. Oh ho. It seems our Mark has a history of protecting those which he perhaps feels he owns. More importantly, Yvonne wants to know.

Because Mark getting off on diminished capacity is very good for her.

Another doctor is on the stand now, defense lawyer Bonnard (Lydia Leonard) has Dr. Sadiq (Anneika Rose) testify that Mark is a high-functioning personality disordered individual with good coping skills and a great support network.

Yvonne flashes back to being in bed with Mark; he asked what she thought of him when she first saw him. She thought "I would" and then she did and they both laugh! It's lovely to see Yvonne happy, if only for a minute. She thought he knew what he was doing (he smirks) but no, just in a general sense: he seemed right, sound.

Was his asking a fun exercise in fondly looking back? Or was he checking his cover, how it fit for her and if anything needed adjusting? I understand that can be quite common, but I think it happens more than just once during pillow talk, people obsessively needing to talk about how they are perceived.

Dr. Sadiq does on to say that Mark would create elaborate illusions where he was the hero, etc, his defense asks for clarity as to whether or not that means he's "a bit of a fantasist" or whether it means he's mentally ill. Dr. Sadiq says the latter, which honestly. We're all shouting "bullshit", aren't we? It didn't impact his life; it wasn't out of control, he made decisions and went to work and parented and husbanded and just liked an exciting piece or two on the side, didn't he? There is ACTUAL mental illness out there, it's not usually so tidy, izzit?

But when challenged, the doctor continues, the person can become violent or self-destructive due to this "abnormality of mental function." She uses Mark's ability to maneuver these legal proceedings as a example of "almost inappropriate ability to manage" almost "as though he'd found a different story to tell himself". Now, I love to use words like "almost" and "as though" but I'm not a medical professional testifying in a murder trial, either.

Prosecutor Price (Frances Tomelty) has a go at Dr. Sadiq just as Gary enters the courtroom. The good doctor's thesis was on just this; Price calls it her "pet theory." Dr. Sadiq is clearly being led very carefully by the Bonnard, she's making motions like a stagemom on Toddlers and Tiaras, that won't be good for Mark. Especially since "high-functioning personality disorder" doesn't yet exist, officially. Or it's not recognised just yet, at any rate: there are no outside confirmations of the doctor's "pet theory."

Price doesn't stop there; there is an actual refutation of her specific theory in a reference manual, dang, Price. That was merciless. I mean, I thought it sounded like shite, but to have someone put it in print with your name next to it and then reading it out to your face in court. Wow

It got very tense while Price was raining down the blows; I was worried about Mark jumping out of his cage or something, but no.

So. Is Mark mad or bad? I really want to know why he killed George; that's so far out of the realm of what you would have expected to happen in a "scaring off."

Mark's staring up at his wife in the audience when he sees Gary waving to Yvonne; he turns his head and meets Yvonne's eyes for the first time since court began. Their chemistry burns across the air, but he's asking a question with his eyes. Does she still believe in him?

She does not.

I expect the news of his exploration of DS Johns' nether regions was too much for her to bear; it's one thing to murder on her behalf but another thing entirely to be one of many pies for him to have his fingers in.

So to speak.

I fear that might have been a mistake, though, what's to stop him from talking about their affair now? Just as I think that, he knocks on the glass to get Bonnard's attention, it's about to get very bad for Yvonne I fear.

I understand her decision to spurn him, I just think that was a very, very unfortunate choice. Look what he did to DS Johns, exposing the very intimate details of something she very likely didn't want to remember at the very least, let alone speak to in court over a routine inquiry into his state of mind during the events.

Ah Mark. He has the energy now and in his way, maybe he was doing what he thought he should have to protect her. Maybe he did love her as she loved him and now, now they're very much on opposite teams.

I can't see Yvonne making any other choice, though, she feels as though she's gone as far as she can with this person she didn't really know; she's bee-lining back to Gary and safety and no longer sees Mark as a threat OR a person of interest. I think she's very, very wrong on both counts.

Carrie's had the baby! Mazel! Yvonne is devastated that she couldn't be there or even call the hospital. Gary comforts her and: he wants to be there while she testifies, no matter that she had him promise otherwise. Tell him about Mark now, Yvonne! Tell him!!! You can't let him find out in court! She does not tell him.

Yvonne flashes back to discussing what Mark thought of when he first saw her; she was so comfortable in her little world. She owned it. So. Now the question is; was he attracted to that or did he want to destroy her little comfortable bubble.

It's time for Yvonne to testify and we're NERVOUS. She holds to the story they agreed on, I think we can all brace ourselves for some extremely graphic cross examination. Mark watches her stare at Gary and Susannah (Susan Lynch) for strength.

Now she has to talk about the rape, and why she didn't tell Gary. One of the jury members cries with her and oh she's so credible and heartbroken and sad and it's terrible. They call for a break.

Now it's time for Bonnard to cross-examine: it starts out standard operating procedure for rape trials. Talking about what Yvonne was wearing, how many times she talked to George, whether she was sitting next to him and whether she touched his knee or he touched hers. Was she drinking? What about when she said she was easy because she didn't get fussy about which coffee he brought her.

Because all of that has relevance when a man beats you bloody and rapes you violently. Your lip shade must be called into question, surely.

I'm still calm because no hint of the affair has come yet but now we have it. When Yvonne shouts that this is why she didn't want to bring it to court in the first place, Bonnard suggests that there is another reason she wouldn't want it in court.

Here we go.

Bonnard asks about Yvonne's familiarity with the area she works in; Yvonne canea breathe now and Mark stares at the ground because they know where this is going. To Apple Tree Yard where there is a camera that recorded her and Mark Costley having sex during rush hour. Yvonne's composure is astounding.

Gary knows now. Everyone knows now and the jury is not allowing this

The one in the red sweater crossing her arm over was the one crying during her rape testimony. Bonnard makes the case that nothing Yvonne has said can be believed; I think that's a bit much, yes? People will understand why she'd lie about that, I bet. She clearly wasn't lying about the rape, but perhaps it's enough of a lever.

Oh. Oh and Mark told his lawyer about her not wearing underwear to the party, which seems to her the final betrayal.

It's Susannah visiting Yvonne in prison now, not Gary and she just wants to know if the sex was good enough? That's a "hells yeah", Su. Ah, Gary very much wants to see Yvonne, but she's not ready to see him yet.

Out of nowhere, Susannah goes on the attack re: Gary. Surely their marriage is over? Was over as soon as she took up with Mark? It's not that cut and dried!

Has Su been harbouring feelings for Mark all along? She certainly talked about him enough. Yvonne is forced to concede that Gary is a good man. Funny how his sleeping with his student hasn't come up. She tells about meeting Gary, what she thought of him in the beginning and what could be.

Yvonne goes back to her cell to find a kitten postcard (hang in there!) from her son Adam.

We're in closing arguments and I would like to point out that Mark killing someone who raped his lover would have more weight if he wasn't out groping possible new sex partners two weeks after he found out. It comes down to this: does her affair with Mark make her a murderer?

She waits

And it's time. They're led back out together to the courtroom, him a few steps ahead. Gary and Adam are there with Susannah, oh good.

Oh shit and Mark is found not guilty of murder, rather guilty for manslaughter. That cannot be good. But Yvonne is found not guilty of murder too, and NOT guilty for manslaughter! Thank the gods. I didn't even know I could hold my breath that long!!!!

HOW CAN THERE BE TEN MORE MINUTES???

I still don't understand why Mark killed George! That's a huge leap to make.

Outside the courthouse, hugs all around for Su and Adam (Jack Hamilton) and then finally Gary. Whew

At home, she writes a letter to X about the aftermath. He will be out in five years but she has a suspended sentence for perjury that she seems to think is worse.

She watched Gary on the phone, then comes inside to ask if he'll speak to Carrie on her behalf. He's still angry, hugs outside the courthouse aside, so she presses, hard. Does Carrie know about Rosa? Hm? Why should she be the only one excoriated for extramarital relations when his was very much a factor? His "oh so you want to go there" doesn't give me a lot of hope that he's resolved about what he's found out.

I'm slightly shocked that Yvonne wanted him to tell his daughter about his affair, though, I understand why it would be fair, but isn't LESS knowledge of your parents boning each other and others best?

Gary thinks Yvonne just couldn't bear to let him know that she'd messed up too, that it wasn't just him being the bad guy for once. It's amazing how people get locked into who's to blame for everything, isn't it? Saves them having to wonder if perhaps they should have done something differently. That's why she didn't tell him about the rape, about "him." She says she's sorry, and she'll say it as often as she needs to, every day. That rang hollow to me.

She finds herself at Apple Tree Yard, which is now a construction site and maybe that's for the best. Oh jaysus and now she's in with Mark, visiting him in prison. They still love each other, damnit. He apologizes to her about telling his lawyer about them, but she wants to know what I wanted to know: why kill George? He wanted her to feel safe.

She lied to him; she hasn't produced important work, felt important herself in years. He made her feel that. That's why he told about them: how else would anyone know? How else would everyone know that what they had was real? Their fingers touching in the window makes me cry.

She takes the tube to see her grandchild and we get the rest of the story.

Oh Yvonne.

She did ask Mark to kill George, and very specifically at that. He kept that out of court, for which she should feel quite lucky. Because even if people can say anything, meaning nothing, Mark can't tell the difference. He really can't. And that's who she fell in love with and who she's still tied to, even now.

And we're out.

So. The trial: I understand why we got so much going over as to whether Yvonne said that she was "so easy" or called herself promiscuous; did she mean what she told Mark about wanting George dead, or was it just another figure of speech, tossed out in a light moment? I believe she did want George dead and I don't think she meant it in a lighthearted way, however much they laughed and joked after. George terrified her and was clearly not planning to let up any time soon; I very much think this careful and articulate woman meant that she wanted his face smashed in.

I think how it ended was apt; Yvonne watching her family from afar because she IS separate. She's very much in jail with Mark, because she still loves him and would be with him again in an instant. As she said while she was waiting for the verdict: she was looking to be found. This is a woman who has drunk the nitroglycerin of true passion; there is no going back to the tepid three decades long marriage that is as stale as dust. Nitroglycerin because it is so very dangerous, but looks and feels safe until shaken. I hope she leaves Gary and their sterile existence.

An interesting story, beautifully wrought by Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin. You can feel their chemistry and connection every minute they are onscreen together. Emily Watson was superb at portraying a woman navigating the murky waters of a life turned upside down then sideways over and over again. Mark Bonnar (whom I'm watching in three series at the same time) shone at various moments as well.

The writing was excellent, Yvonne stayed the same throughout and that is not what you always see. There is that tendency to see someone in her place turn 'round, act aggressively but she stayed in character the entire time. We had a very clear sense of who Dr. Yvonne Carmichael was and what she stood for. Less so with Mark Costley, but that might have been the point.

People have talked about this as a cautionary tale, but I think it's a love story. Just one of a different stripe.

The cinematography was beautiful, the scoring well done, I would recommend this to anyone. Until the next show, thanks for reading along.