We're past the halfway mark on River now, and I've been sort of weighing it against another really good show with mental illness front and centre: Mr. Robot. I can't wait to see if it shakes out similarly.
River has a number of leads to follow up, the first and foremost being the man whose face Stevie was caressing outside Cristal Kebabs, luckily he has loads of DNA left on a razor to check oot. Let's see where he takes us tonight!
We're at a Poundstore / market across from Cristal Kebabs with River while Ira waits outside with Chrissie and another gang of officers. Once the shop is open, River call is and they all stream in together after two young. River's got an earpiece in; a homeless gentleman stops him at the door: is The General talking to himself?
Whew for a minute there I wondered if ANY of these people were real; Ira, Chrissie, but no, they seem to be moving about in corporeal form, Chrissie talking to the manager of the store while River lurks in the kitchen.
Ira snags one suspect named Khaalid that could have been the guy in the photos, I guess. But no, he's not, the man Stevie was seen with was Hader and he's in the back of River's car now, taunting him, did John think she would wait for him? "Love finds where it falls" and true dat.
He carries on and carries on, okay, Stevie and River were NOT an item, perhaps because of River's fear of intimacy. He starts to go mad with the teasing, the awful hectoring of his own brain and the Manifest in the back seat. He reverses quickly, scaring Ira and the other car he almost hit, jumping out and screaming into the ether. Ira just wants to get back, River. Drive the man to the station.
They're in interview with the store owner now, he doesn't know from a Hadar, even though there are all these messages on Stevie's phone; Hadar from Cristal Kebabs advising that her order is ready. "No idea." Good thinking, keep it simple, fella. I just don't think that will work for long.
River's debriefing McDonald and Chrissie; they pulled in three from the shop, two with legal papers (that sounds like a vet?), but no match to the pictures. DNA is being run on the comb and razor; Chrissie and McDonald discuss it further as River looks as though he's having an aneurysm in the background.
Khaalid doesn't know Hadar either, he may be the vulnerable one without papers, but I don't think he's lying. Which means? Also: he has five kids. FIVE.KIDS. I did say it was unusual for a takeaway shop to do call-backs, didn't I? Although that could be just regional, who knows?
They're going to release the pictures of Hadar to the press, River does NOT agree. He runs into Rosa in the hallway, she remarks on his change of demeanor. He shares the details, that seems odd. Of an ongoing investigation? Who knows. He doesn't think the appeal to the public will reap any benefits, because "the one to fear the most is the one to whom you gave all your trust" and there are worse things, River. Never trusting anyone, for one.
River steps close, suddenly distraught "I'm losing her" he cries quietly. She wants to see him, TODAY, but their moment is disrupted by ambient noise. He walks away to be scolded by Stevie; he isn't losing her, she's not gone anywhere. The time slowdown as he walks by her is a lovely effect.
The DNA on the (disgusting-looking - seriously, replace that regularly, yo) toothbrush and razor match the DNA found in the car, bingo! The razor is expensive but poorly cared for, which he notes and Ira thinks is nuts. Of course, Ira isn't even convinced that Hadar worked at the shop and is the man hugging Stevie, so what does he know?
River hears a noise and turns to see Hadar walking purposefully past the door, he gives chase. Hadar rubs it in some more about Stevie, blah blah I killed her blah wish it had been in the face and since I know it's just River's brain yelling at him for being too shy to make a move on the Stevie he so clearly adored, I'm not all that affected by River's melting-Swedish-bear face. Self-flagellation is admirable, but too much is, well, almost masturbatory, ifyouknowwhatImean.
Chrissie's coordinating the phone lines and coaching everyone as to what to expect, going to be gong show.
River comes outside to see the murder car, and a hologram of Stevie hugging Hadar's face next to it. I understand that there was a razor and comb at her place, I just don't get any sexual energy whatsoever from these two. She seems more motherly than anything, although I know that's not technically possible, he looks older, and, er, slightly less pasty than her.
He sits in the car while Stevie accuses him of being jealous; thank goodness that he's shouting into an empty car for once, instead of confusing and exasperating Ira.
Speaking of Ira and being normal; I know I touched on this last episode, but I really do wonder why we focus so hard, as a society, on identifying and removing the abnormal from our midst. Well, not MY midst, I'm off on the side with River and the other nutters. It reminds me so clearly of an episode on season 1 of The Walking Dead. At a survivor camp, there is a man named Jim. Jim doesn't know how to cope with the zombie apocalypse happening around him, so he likes to go out in a field and dig holes. The first season was more about character dilemmas and soul searching AND NOT JUST KILLING SOMEONE AT THE END OF A SEASON BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE BLOOD CONTRACT. Anyway, Jim digging holes worried people, they didn't like it, it was weird. They asked him to stop, it was scaring the children (massive eye roll towards anyone who ever invokes becuz: children unless it actually INVOLVES children) and when he wouldn't, they forced him to stop and he ended up dead from a zombie bite. The world doesn't like Jims with their different methods of coping, but therein lies the rub; aren't we all Jim? Don't we all want to go out in a field and move some dirt and see some evidence of our labour and maybe bury some garbage while we process what's going on? DON'T WE? Wait, I went too deep, I think I'm lost. Little help? Ah yes, River needs to cope however he can, he just needs to do it in an empty car where they can't see him digging. It makes the villagers all pitchfork-y.
River's arguing with Stevie; if she wanted sex...huh. Wait a minute, she said she couldn't take her clothes in the light, how could she do that with a man? What does that mean? That would make the phonesex calls make a bit of sense, though, if she had problems with intimacy. River says "you're born alone, you die alone" but there's more to that saying, she reminds him. She comes back with a great line "sex is an itch, you just scratch. But love. It's the itch so far down your back you can't ever reach it with your own hand" and I think I LOVE that.
The tip line isn't yielding much so far, but River's dug up some more pictures of Hadar. All kinds of pictures!
Just then, Michael Bennigan calls, he wants to speak to River and only River. That's Uncle Mike, Stevie's nefarious family member, right? Starting off, Jimmy's at home with malaise, Frankie's all jumpy but Uncle Mike has seen Hadar. He came in about a month ago looking for work. Oh and it's Haider (Peter Bankole) and he's Somalian, just like Khaalid the dishwasher. I'm just going to throw this out there: Somalia is a big country, well, more than 2 anyway, and they don't look the least bit Somalian, either one.
Even Uncle Mike with his two tiny thousand-quid hearing aids, money venture prostate and itsy bitsy reading glasses can tell fake papers when he sees them, so he sent Haider packing.
Holy shite, real breaking news moment: I can hardly believe it, but it looks as though England and Wales have voted to leave the European Union in the referendum held today, June 23, 2016. Holleee shite. What will that mean??
Sorry, sorry, drivers are expected to have their own vehicles, but Haider was a POS that stank of kebabs. Haider didn't agree with the terms offered for leasing a replacement and became aggressive, which is why Uncle Mike remembered him so clearly. He wants to know if this guy and Stevie...? The appeal suggested...?
Uncle Mike walks River outside; Stevie's dad Eric had a hard time after Stevie went into the service, they thought he might inform. Michael scrubbed himself up well, didn't he? Respectable family, but this has hit him hard.
River catches Frankie leaving; he knew the kebab store well but he didn't know about Haider and he's worried that nobody knew Stevie either. He never asked her anything and now there's nobody to ask: nobody remembers her properly. River does, and hands over a couple of hundred quid from Stevie's stash.
He's back at the kebab shop, the homeless man shouting at him as he walks by: is Ira imaginary too? They can't ALL be imaginary, can they? Perhaps Ira's the rational part of his brain, and his adorable wee bebeh a symbol of what might have been? Ah no, never mind, I'm going around in circles, let's just watch!
They're following Khaalid now, River knows something's up, and much like the torn-off page from a nudie mag in his youth that was stolen with his wallet during a mugging; he thinks the secret is something not directly related to Stevie's murder, but personally embarrassing.
Ah, Khaalid does know Haider, in fact his wife knows Haider's wife since they were kids. WAIT. Haider is married? Sorry, sorry, the owner of the shop had Haider working there for a few weeks but didn't like how Stevie was hanging around him, so he fired him and apparently they all developed collective amnesia.
Like me, Khaalid didn't think Haider and Stevie were in a relationship, she was helping him, letting him sleep on her couch. River asks to speak to his wife, stopping Khaalid from taking out his phone: let's go see her in person!
There's a language barrier at work; the wife says they haven't see Haider in weeks, but then gives River a cup of tea, which touches him. Their son Tooxow shows River his warrior carvings and is sent away. They do have a picture of Haider with his wife, though, both couples look very happy. Khaalid does not believe he was in a relationship with Stevie; he loved his wife.
Chrissie is working through the craziness around the tip line, why don't they get out of there? They're looking through tips at her house, where her husband is clearly screwing the very young babysitter. I know getting older is supposed to be very hard for women, but it's no picnic for some men either, what with their degenerating ability to do basic age-related maths.
So, Chrissie is probably real, what with her lecherous hubs and comfy home, but I've still got my eye on Ira. All of River's Manifests seem to have a purpose to him, so I can't exactly see where an adulterous husband who drinks during the week would help him work through anything, but who can say?
They're sorting through tips when Chrissie is called away, Tom starts clearing a bit for supper, talking about losing a colleague as well a month ago; just dropped dead at the gym. He thinks they need new jobs, finally plonking down big pots on the table. River gets it suddenly, asking him "are you stoned?" incredulously. "Yeah, but don't tell Chrissie" I mean. She's a detective.
Later, River's sitting outside with Tom while he smokes up some more and talks about how much he hates his life; oh well! He's a state-authorized Judge and he IS?? He derides River's lack of testicular fortitude, "life neuters us all" and I think he just quoted from the "Middle-Life Crisis Handbook For Men: subtitled: Yes, By All Means, Get the Corvette and SideChick. It Means You're Alive!"
Tom's phone rings just then, but he doesn't answer it. It must have been the babysitter. He goes in and Chrissie is FULLY aware of what he's been up to, also saying mid-life crisis! She's grieving Stevie's passing as well, crying that Stevie had wanted to talk to her and she didn't! She's gutted. Ira comes out, he wants to GO, but Chrissie invites River to stay, sleep on the couch (as Stevie reportedly did for Haider), it's already Silly O'Clock.
Chrissie's loaded drunk and they have a good old fashioned soggy wake for Stevie, remembering all the good times. River's not drunk, though, and twice her height, so when she goes in for a kiss...he's able to pull away easily, although kindly. Ohhh and Stevie told Chrissie that River does that, what does THAT mean?? Did they discuss making out with River? I mean, he's a handsome fella and I used to really like tortured, but they're not exactly in middle school, are they?
He gets up in the middle of the night for a munch, to find Stevie sitting at the table. She knows he's feeling lost, wondering if it's he who's mad or everyone else? Rest assured, it is absolutely you that's barking mad, River and then she goes through a whole thesaurus of words and expressions for unstable. The English have the best sayings for things, don't they?? She tells him to find his way through his craziness, to find his order in his chaos, or how will he ever find her?
River's in to see Rosa; he couldn't make it yesterday, long day, but he's here now! Going over Stevie's relationship, there's no way she had that! Or he would feel...surprised...because she led him to believe...that picture isn't right! That doesn't look like his Grandmother's lake, he would never have been able to cross it as a child. I think that's the picture he was looking at in the National Geographic magazine he gave her.
He's not jealous, he's just confused. The last time he saw her, Stevie told her she loved someone, and he thought that was him. Oh River. When he finished swimming across that lake, his grandmother wrapped him up in a blanket, singing him a song which River sings to her.
She asks: why did he come and see her that night? Just then, he's saved by a fire alarm, they always test them on Thursdays.
Dr. Cream confronts him outside; that's not exactly how it went, did it, River? His grandmother was a horrible woman who called him names and resented his presence the whole time she had him, which was after his mother left him there. River pushes and pushes at his phantom as Rosa watches, alarmed.
She approaches and offers him a brochure, she runs a group a couple of times a week, perhaps he'd like to come chat about his ghosts? "Living With Voices London" is a safe place for people to talk their voices and see them for what they are. He asks if she wants him to come sit with the "mutterers and babblers" and I HEARD THAT, MISTER! But that's what his grandmother called him, and yes, Rosa would like that.
The homeless man from in front of Cristal Kebabs is at the station, Ira brings him in and Chrissie brings everyone up to speed on Haider. Oh ho, he wasn't just a married man, he was an educated man, lecturing at the university, and that brings up a tip that River was staring at earlier about "The Professor"; something about him bringing something? I fink
The appeal has yielded 5 strong leads, which are being pursued first, but Chrissie wants them to go through each and every other one with a fine-toothed comb as well. It's looking very likely that Haider is the killer.
River waits and approaches Chrissie after, advising ibuprofen for her pained look and head touch. She's had 4 and is trying to story things along, but it isn't too long until she has to get down to it. About last night...she wants to talk about the kiss-lurch, but he doesn't care about that, he wants to know what she thinks Stevie wanted to talk about?
It's like a blow, River still doesn't really see her except as an adjunct to Stevie and that hurts her. So single-minded, our oblivious sad Swedish bear.
Stevie wanted to talk about River, mostly, but doesn't Chrissie know what she was investigating? It clearly must have been something to do with the kebab shop (anyone else craving kebabs after seeing that word a dozen or more times this episode? Just me?) but what? Human trafficking with false papers and indentured servitude?
The homeless man with his own beer for interrogation is waiting for River in interview, he's Mr. Lumo (Louis Mahoney) and he will not speak to hired hand Ira, he wants The General, which is what he called River both times he saw him. Whew! That's a lot of words all at once, apparently I've gone over budget on periods or there's a drought!
Ah Mr. Lumo called the tip line as well, leaving that bit about The Professor (and Marianne and if you didn't think that too, there's somefing wrong with one of us) but he will only tell River where The Professor is, who has gone to where all the Professors go. Yale?
Chrissie comes into the backroom then, there's someone to see River. It's one of Khaalid's kiddos, perhaps the one who had carved warrior dolls. He is, named Tooxow, NOT Duxhall as I first thought (phonetics, my kingdom for closed captions, or even open captions, just something written. IMdB is being a BASTAGE) scared, someone tried to break in their door the night before, because they're hiding someone: Haider.
Off to Khalid's flat, which is clearly NOT in the best part of town, with two women with babies calling each other bitches on the stairs to find Khaalid and his wife frantic over Tooxow's disappearance. While they were freaking out, Haider went to look for the kiddo, but was frightened, running away. River needs to find him before "They" do, which is what Stevie was looking into. Could it be Uncle Mike she was investigating? That would absolutely make sense, trying to see what River knew already while offering up information about Haider.
River asks to see Haider's things, which include a letter, picture of him with his family and a book signed out from the East London library. Which is indeed, "where professors go to hide."
Looks like a lot of homeless go there to hide as well, which makes sense. He finds Haider in the back, managing to gasp out that Stevie had known they would meet before wrapping him in a hug and dying in his arms, as Stevie did a month ago. Sweet baby Jeebus.
River washes up as Stevie asks, blood dripping down the side of her face, can he see her yet?
Haider understands about River's racial profiling, he really does, it's systemic. They come filled with hope, to people who don't see them, who only see drugs and poverty and over-crowding. (See above re: EU Referendum: immigration was thought to be the tipping point for English people, well, 52% of them, anyway) He thinks River should understand better: the isolation, the loneliness, what it is like to be so far away from everything familiar. How hard it is to be different, how hard it is just to BE.
Ira reads Arabic, yay! So he can translate that letter Haider was writing. It's a letter to his wife, er-ooh. I don't need to hear all the mushy bits from someone who just died tragically, but innit he quotes Stevie, whom he calls a "dear friend." "We're born alone, we die alone and it is only through our" ...dangit, Ira's phone buzzes then and we don't get to hear it.
Chrissie's doing the notification to Haider's wife over the phone, what could Stevie have been investigating? River's discouraged, he keeps getting it so wrong. Ira comforts him, that's a lovely moment.
Haider reads us the rest of the saying "We're born alone and we die alone. Only through love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moments that we are not alone." And then the sweet talking to his wife, ...and then "when I close my eyes, you are all I can see" as River closes his eyes and imagines Stevie next to him again.
Quick note: Haider said it was raining the day he wrote that, it's been awfully dry for London lately, hasn't it? I just assume England is one large shower stall, constantly drizzling. Like Seattle (bloody, miserably hot the last time I was there), or Vancouver (totally is, no joke).
His reverie is interrupted by Chrissie, is he okay? They'll start tomorrow, new leads, new clues and she gets a text message then: Tom's not home and it's sodding Parent's Night and she's betting he's lurking around trying to find an after-hours bar.
This twigs something for River, and the music tells us it's sinister. He goes to where Tom is, gearing up to ride home on his bike, and on a hunch calls the pay-as-you-go number from Stevie's phone as he's walking away. It rings in Tom's pocket. Looking green, he silences it, but never turns around to see River staring at him, just riding away on his bicycle.
River's outside the place where Rosa's mutterers and babblers are meeting, he spies her through the window, then Stevie, motioning him inside. He enters and we're oot.
Well, the plot is thickening in an previously unconsidered direction; I don't know why Tom is figuring now, was Stevie investigating Chrissie? I suppose the Uncle Mike storyline is too obvious, what with her already sending other family members down the river (heh). Or perhaps it all ties together, Stevie was looking into a massive web of conspiracy, including Chrissie of the police department and state-recognised Judge Tom looking the other way at the rise of gangster Michael Bennigan. Hmmm.
Another compelling look into the mind of River, although I didn't find the parts with Haider attacking River to be very believable, or maybe just not worthy of as much screen time as it got. Now that we know these Manifests are River trying to tell himself something, we don't need to have it on a loop, do we? Until next time, when I'm back with my crackpot theories, keep your union together, for the love of GAWD. Sorry, 48% of England and Wales, this will be a bloody mess the next few months for you.