We're nearing the end now on River, and I can't say I am any closer to knowing what the Sam Hill is going on, you? Fingers crossed for more music; rolling episode 5 after the break!
We left River settling in at a group therapy session and Manifest Party cause there ain't no party like a Manifest Party cuz the Manifests JUST NEVER STOP TALKING. I am looking forward to possibly a new mini-mystery, something to keep the frontal lobe busy whilst our collective subconscious ponders the overarching whodunit of What Happened To Stevie and Will River Ever See Her?
So. Was it Uncle Mike of the tidy cab stand (where Haider improbably applied for a job) or Cristal Kebabs that Stevie was investigating? And what's the deal with Chrissie's husband Tom, the state-authorized judge (far too specific to not mean something) of the wandering eye and second throwaway phone with a direct line to Stevie's second phone? How did River figure that out? And speaking of THAT, what's with the sex chat line? Did we go over that? I don't believe we did. Let's find out!
We open at Haider's body, antiseptic and clean and surrounded by white, like an angel. Have you ever seen the show Spotless? It's a European dramedy about a crime scene cleaner and if you are anything like me, you love beautifully shot scenes of people cleaning up horrific things. It may not be back for a second season but if you get a chance, watch it! It's on Netflix everywhere! I also like how everybody is flawed, not a hero in the bunch and not a single easy choice made but mostly because Brendan Coyle is fecking AMAZING. Anyway! They clean a lot and that made me think of poor Haider on the slab, his reputation redeemed in death.
Haider's speech about the loneliness and isolation of immigrants play over us as River watches everyone in the waiting room; presumably full of other immigrants. This is the Immigration Courthouse and Tom's quite surprised to see River there waiting for him. He shoos away a young blonde woman who comes over to see him, lots of covert smiles and dodgy looks, but he recovers quickly, smiling his way over to River.
John wastes no time, "why was Stevie calling you?" before Tom can even sit down with his coffee. Tom's eyes go slate immediately, he asks if Chrissie knows about his second phone? No, not yet. Tom says he was helping Stevie with a friend that was here illegally, you know, the one that has been all over the news? He didn't think that information was relevant, that's all. He swears, he didn't know name, or see the picture and this second phone; it's for work and the occasional...recreational activity (cut to pretty young brunette removing a cap at the next table). River looks sad, mostly, our disappointed Swedish bear dismayed to find out that his boss's husband is nothing but a skirt-chaser of the most common variety. "You should tell Chrissie" and from what I can tell you, men DON'T tell. Women can't WAIT to tell, but men: they get caught, and if they don't, it's as though they earned it or picked up an extra packet of steaks with the ones they paid for. Not really cheating or lying if nobody knows, izzit?
Tom's putting on the Courtroom Eyes now, all intensity as he asks River "what do you want?" because it's time to negotiate. What does he have that River could possibly want? He comes in hot, Chrissie won't look at him, touch him, would rather sleep with the dog and he's mortgaged to the hilt and River does not care. He walks out as Tom follows behind, it was just a couple of calls, how was he to know?? Four calls, correct River, you spoke to her four times and once for 19 minutes. He presumes there was screwing? No! No! But that's his style and River tells him to tell Chrissie before he's brought in for a statement.
Not to get too far afield, but sometimes spouses are not inclined to get frisky with people they know or suspect have been putting it about elsewhere, as you can imagine. AND we know Chrissie was down for some necking with River, so I shall put Tom's Not Getting Any At Home excuse in the bin with all his extraneous partners, recreational drugs and weeknight drinking.
Back at the station, Chrissie's going through a briefing with everyone, they've moved, as expected, from considering Haider a suspect in Stevie's death to thinking that he was perhaps helping her investigate something and that their deaths are almost certainly linked. CCTV expert Ira has been going through the footage from the library that day, narrowing down everyone who was there but they don't have a great angle on where Haider was killed.
In Chrissie's office, she asks where he's been and laughs when he says he's been for coffee with a friend: he has no friends! And she doesn't count. Awww, and she figures out in a nanosecond that he's keeping something from her, you may as well go ahead, River, she's not going to want to hear that you knew before she did.
The appeals did find Haider an alibi, though, he was in a hostel reading and talking on the phone with his wife. Appeals forevermore!
She's heard John has a new lead on the pay-as-you-go phone, he deflects with a joke, which she pretends to accept and then says "come to me first." He just wants to give Tom time to do the right thing, Chrissie, that's all. It's better not coming as a shock, even if just from old shock a minute River.
They watch McDonald and Rosa flirt through the window, oh, they've gotten into Stevie's laptop. They've extracted all the work stuff, but there's photos and things that need to be kept, can he handle that? Just then her phone buzzes, River and I are hoping it's Tom. It is, but he's trying to get out of dinner, not sharing extremely personal information on the phone. Hmm
River's staring at Stevie's laptop, transfixed, when Ira interrupts: they have a lead! There's a cleaner mopping the floor, but the library has no record of him and in that one second screenshot, I thought, oh! It's Kevin Doyle from Happy Valley, his sister was killed when she was a child by a serial killer and what if he's a serial killer and then there was that bottle business. That's right... I got a complete stranger mixed up in not one, but TWO storylines by Sally Wainwright in Happy Valley AND Scott & Bailey. Lack of sleep can be a dangerous thing.
They're off to see about the cleaner! So many homeless were in the library that day that they can't narrow down numbers, really, but Haider was there checking out books about the British legal system and citizenship. Could they have been investigating Tom? Something to do with Jordy Merton's construction job getting permits for a clearly unsafe work environment? I've clearly lost the plot and am knee deep in cuckoo-land, but it's kind of fun! Let's throw in the immigrants from the car wash that I mixed up with Merton's boyfriend because I'm a profiling bigot as well, everyone's invited!
River doesn't understand why anyone wants to come there anyway (especially these days, it is not safe for visible minorities in certain pockets of England, says Twitter and the Associated Press), Ira counters that River did. River didn't have a choice, though, his grandmother died and he had to come stay with his mother, surviving on peanut butter sandwiches. Does anyone else snatch at these little morsels of these little moments of insight into River's psyche that don't involve someone shouting at him?
He stayed, though, even though he hated it. It's a city for everyone who belongs everywhere else. Stevie's in the back seat, she went to Cork when she was 14. It rained there, too.
He's driving through the parking garage with a dozy Ira, Stevie standing outside of the now, waving and a gunshot brings River up short, slamming on the brakes. Poor Ira hits the windshield but River is already out and running, trying to figure out if that gunshot was real. He hears drops, looking down to see blood dripping from his hands and starts to panic while Ira calls him back to reality. There is no blood. Ira offers to drive, but River's fine. He's fine. Double belt, Ira. He says "she's gone" and "how would you know?" but Ira's "getting a feel for it" which makes River laugh as he and Stevie did when we first figured out that Stevie wasn't entirely with us.
They're at the hostel; a gang of men smoking outside are surrounding a man who looks exactly like the cleaner (and nothing like Kevin Doyle, it must be said) who Ira notes and is noted by in return.
They've been pointed at the hostel's immigration lawyer, Sunday Akentola (Adjoa Andoh), who had two meetings with Haider not long before his death. He always came on his own, never with Stevie, who she doesn't recognise. She's hiding something, and it's to do with Haider coming alone. Oh and behind River is the blonde woman Tom was talking with at the courthouse before he saw River. Huh. Immigration crime?
River follows the blonde woman outside, asking if she's ever met Haider, showing her his picture? No and she goes into a long explanation detailing her lack of knowledge of Arabic, which has nothing to do with whether she saw Haider or not. She is looking for a way to leave when River pulls out Stevie's picture, which stops her. She saw Stevie's picture on the news, and yes, she thinks she saw Stevie come in with Haider once or twice. I don't think she's very reliable, she just completely changed her story in the blink of an eye. Oh and Stevie came in once on her own. River tells her that Mrs. Akentola said she'd never seen Stevie, giving Blondie (IMdB says Ema, played by Anamaria Marinca, but there's been no name mentioned at all so I don't want to get all cocky) the opportunity to make a run for it, she must be wrong!
River presses, Stevie was looking into something, it might be exactly this. Ema just says that Mrs. Akentola DID know Stevie, she knew her and please don't say she heard it from her.
Ira's impressed by Mrs. Akentola's strike rate, even if she only gave them details of a fraction of her casefiles, while Stevie's joking around and making googly eyes at River. If Dr. Cream is his death, his despair, she must be his heart. The successful applicants only seem to win after they've lost, on appeal. "Mayonnaise. Big mistake" intones Stevie, apropos of nothing. I've missed goofy Stevie.
Ira suggests that River could talk to him instead of Stevie, he's right there. But then he'd have to have something interesting to say, wouldn't he? Sigh. River would rather talk to different parts of his brain than a real life partner with an adorable bebeh who is almost for sure real.
Ira isn't that easily dissuaded, however, he invites River over for supper that evening; his wife's cooking. River declines, but puts one ear up: what's for supper? It's like telling my lot to come to the table: what's for supper first? SUPPER! And Ira's wife will be cooking "meat. Probably be some meat of some kind," settling on lamb, which River and I hate. They're both relieved to end that conversation, I'm pretty sure River just wanted to go home and cuddle up with Stevie's laptop anyway.
Downstairs, he runs into Stevie's family who are there to fill out forms; they're all side-eye and defiance, save gladhander Uncle Mike, how's River then? They're filling in forms for compensation, here's where Stevie would be Uncle Mike's ballast, calming him down, how are they doing on the case? Ah well, you know, take it as a good sign.
McDonald is lurking nearby, calling the Stevenson's vultures, which gets up River's and my noses. They just lost someone and... it veers into bizarre. McDonald asks about Rosa, she called off sick for their date the night before, but she seems fine today, does she seem fine to River? River and I don't know where to look; clearly McDonald's lost it, asking River about his girlfriend or whatever she is to him? Whut? We're confused.
Chrissie comes walking up just then carrying a dress and still arguing with Tom on the phone, he follows her into the bathroom to ask about McDonald and Rosa. She doesn't think they're an item, why would a "beautiful, 30-something like Rosa go for a balding, self-opinionated old man" horrifies River. What IS he thinking, exactly?
She wishfully makeups in the mirror, Tom DID cancel, so she'll be entertaining HIS parents on the occasion of his Dad's birthday and I'd sooner eat battery acid. She point blank asks River if Tom's having an affair and I guess River disagrees with me and doesn't think Tom's had enough of a chance because he equivocates. Chrissie saw him, though, hugging Ema, the blonde translator with the enormous pink toque. River's ears are up now, but he still doesn't break faith, calling Tom an ass, but no specifics as to the extent of his complete ass-dom.
Chrissie pushes out of the blue; Stevie gave that ten grand to River, didn't she? He admits it, she takes that as the thing he was keeping from her, there we go, headed off at the pass. He wants to look into Stevie's internet searches, there were some interesting-looking companies in there. He looks sad after, he feels bad about deceiving her.
Ira's found a pic of the faux-cleaner's face all nice and close-up now, he's off to research that while River's lurking outside where Ema is working. He goes in to blurt "you know he's married" which he's sharing not out of prurient interest, but just in general. I cannot even say how much I love the fact that he used the word prurient.
River goes on to monologue about infidelity, it's as though you're never alone with the person you love, the other person is always there. I will just use Harry's line back in "When Harry Met Sally": "Infidelity is a symptom" "Yeah, well, that symptom is fcuking my wife" so there's that.
She knew, though, so River goes on to explain about the party Chrissie is putting on for Tom's dad, really laying it on thick, but she stops him with a curt "he's working late." Does that mean he has more than one side chick? Now THAT gets to her, it's one thing to be the Other Woman, I gather, but quite another to be ALSO deceived, isn't it? I wonder if Tom really is seeing someone else, or if he's off filling someone in on River's exploits, like the mendacious Mrs. Akentola.
River wants to know what's going on, and he wants Mrs. Akentola's real client list, too. He wants to know why so many of Akentola's hopeless cases make it through? She leaves, still angry with Tom and what did River think was going to happen? Of course she already knew, Chrissie described meeting her and Tom kissing her in front of Ema, as a cover and probably for the frisson.
Back at the office, River IS actually working late, going through the internet search history when Dr. Cream shows his angry face again. Ever closer, but doesn't he have somewhere else to be? River leaves, Dr. Cream's words echoing in his ears. In a completely inane world, is madness not the only freedom? I guess? He urges River to give into it; as a child to his mother. What's the deal with River's mother anyway?
River's at the group again, listening to the story of another haunted gentleman arguing with his SatNav (which are completely fair game as far as I'm concerned), but Robbie hasn't told his girlfriend just yet. Rosa thinks that was a good day for Robbie, though, no suggestions of throwing under the train, just telling him how to get home the extra long way through the SatNav.
Rosa presses River to speak out at group, he's heard everyone's else's story, she's sure they'd all be supportive of his. Dr. Cream is sitting across from him, arms crossed and looking grim. River doesn't speak immediately, causing her to remark "silence has a presence," which River calls bullshit on, but I agree (I was going to use it as a title but then he made fun of it *kicks rocks with the toe of my shoe*). It does! River's just getting started though, directing Robbie to get a map, TwinkleToes to get a boyfriend, Baby to continue hanging out with Kurt Cobain and Chuckles the Clown, whose tittering has punctuated every sentence of the group is obviously having the best time of anyone, River wants to be where he is! So much cruelty, including bile directed at Rosa, her declining fertility and hypocrisy; never would she deign to have a cup of coffee with these nutters (I paraphrase).
Right, is he finished then? They don't censor anyone's voices here, see you Thursday! Dr. Cream wants him to jump in front of the train then, like Robbie's manifest when he's not dragging Robbie all over the north of London.
River makes it onto the train to be warned by Stevie "don't let him in," meaning Dr. Cream, who's coming for him. He sees this literally, the face of Cream on a football fan running in a group. I almost said football hooligan and I then I remembered Hillsborough and how incredibly awful that was, so I took it back. I'm so glad people know what really happened there.
He's saved by Rosa, it's all right she says, patting him down mentally while he regroups, it's all right. Back at his flat, she stares at his Murder Wall about Stevie's death while "Sunny" plays by Al Green (I fink - sounds just like him). He contemplates wine in the kitchen while Stevie "helps" by switching back and forth between suggesting white and red. She tells him to "breathe" as he pops the cork out of the wine, lovely touch, what's he got in the fridge? Eggs, good and does he remember how to do this? Because they went over it. HAHAHA I love Nicola Walker (I almost said Gillian!) in this role, funny and subtle and magic.
It's interesting; he described infidelity as never being alone with your loved one, isn't that like his manifests? He will never be truly alone, Stevie is always there coaching and perhaps there's a sex manifest as well, Anais Nin popping up to give tips as he's about to throw down.
He has a massive kitchen for a flat, doesn't he? AN IKEA special, pretty sure, tons of space and off-white cabinetry. He asks Rosa if she wants something to eat, it gets very awkward for a second in the space of trying to figure out if this is a date or not.
They eat the good eggs while Ira rings River, he's tracked down the faux-cleaner to a sketchy part of town, but River doesn't pick up. I'm worried about our wee Islamic Hebrew. River's busy getting to know Rosa, though, apologizing for the comments about her declining fertility. It's worse than that, though, she did have a child. She died at 6 weeks, which makes her cry and River feel like an absolute shit. And she'll have him know, she's had coffee with him twice, and now eggs, so.
Ira decides to not wait for River any longer, approaching the hostel sketchy area sans backup; come on man! Someone killed Haider and a COP, don't mess around by yourself in the dark! He times it slightly wrong, the faux-cleaner coming up behind him and so being able to run while Ira (finally!) calls for backup and shouts helpful things like "I just want to talk to you! Why are you running?" He chases the perp through back alleys in the dark, snagging him by a back fence and takes a beating for his trouble.River is talking to Rosa while the sirens play in the background. I hope Ira's all right. I know I went off him a couple of episodes ago when he made fun of River talking to Stevie, but he didn't give up on River either, so he gets some points for that.
I'm trying to concentrate on River's story but I'm quite worried about Ira, he's all alone and people can die like that. Okay, okay, there was a park by River's grandmother's house, he thought it was just for him as he was the only child ever there. An old man would watch him play, they would wave back and forth to each to other. River decided he was going to talk to his friendly old man, he was very nervous, but he did it, he walked over to the old man's flat and then he found the old man laying dead in the park. Was that the old man's ghost, signalling River so his body could be found?
River went to the house of old man Algren, where everyone went, who comforted him by saying "I'm a policeman now, you're all right" but didn't notice that the old man came home with River. And stayed. And then River wasn't alone any more. Rosa asks if he blames himself, no, the man was old, it was cold, but she means Stevie.
He hadn't considered that before, so he takes a moment to think as we watch his face move from surprise to sorrow. It isn't his fault, she says and his phone buzzes and his face gets even more impossibly grave.
He answers finally, and runs to the hospital, where Ira is ALIVE, yay! Ira's wife Marianne (Lydia Leonard) arrives at the same time, Ira moves to introduce River "this is" "oh this is your fault" she accuses. She cooked lamb for them this evening (I was wondering about the lamb while Ira was in the car!) but her speech next makes me cry.
Ira is very important to her, he's working "every hour that God sends" for River, everything is to impress River and the only way she can do this, the only way she can get through is to know that River has Ira's back as his partner, because Ira is HER partner. He's very precious to her and her intensity is mesmerizing. Still crying a bit. River looks poleaxed.
River will come to dinner the next week yes? And it's nice to meet him, off she drags Ira, who manages to get out a "it's the same guy" and hand over the picture of the faux-cleaner at River as he goes.
River strides off to the jail, to find that the stomping faux-cleaner doesn't speak English. He knows just the interpreter and we already know she isn't busy tonight! They're in interview now, River explaining the case to Chrissie in the backroom. This is Fedor, he's also an immigrant who'd overstayed his visa and they found a knife hidden behind the hostel he and Haider were staying at.
Chrissie reads Fedor his rights, to be snippily asked to slow down by Ema. Oh my goodness, until that moment I had forgotten that Chrissie is very much suspicious of her husband having an affair with this young woman already. ALSO: what kind of a translator can't keep up with the speed Chrissie was speaking? Chrissie directs her words at Fedor but her eyes are burning a hole in Ema's forehead.
Fedor has no comment. Chrissie explains the case against Fedor, his prints are on the knife and he was spotted at the library mopping floors for free: no comment. Chrissie asks for a motive: help them.
He wants to give a statement: he receives a text, someone leaves money for him at the car wash (WHAT??? I was just joking about including the car wash!!) in a locker when he is done. Chrissie excuses herself then, practically running out of interview to go grab the locker key from Fedor's effects. Ema and River follow her out, Ema bold enough to mention she works with Tom, which Chrissie clearly already knows. Ema holds something up, though, they need to see it.
It's Akentola's entire client list, she doesn't think Fedor knew the man he killed, but these people are desperate, willing to do anything for a few hundred pounds and the promise of a visa. She goes on; immigration lawyers use these people and pay off judges (Chrissie's head comes up and she stares at the air between River and Ema) "which judges?" then striding away again.
River comes after her, "Chrissie..." but she doesn't want to hear it. She wants cameras on Locker 19 at the car wash.
River and Ira are at the car wash of iniquity, reviewing CCTV and checking the locker. AH. Motherfcuker. It's TOM who put that money in the locker, which means that he also killed Stevie. Man. How is River going to tell Chrissie?
River walks back to to the office, watching her through the window. He doesn't have to tell her, she already knows. She does something with her body, where before she was large and defiant and pushy, she's caved inwards, looking like a small, frail bird. She's looking at the CCTV footage of Tom at the car wash.
She tells River, they got a new sofa in August and the roof re-done, Tom paid ten thousand pounds in cash and it's as though the words are burning her throat. River tries to suggest that it doesn't mean he was involved in Stevie's death, but she cuts him off. She just wants ten minutes in the house to clear the kids, all right?
Chrissie finds Tom in the kitchen, telling him she sent the kids for fish and chips while a doorbell rings. It's River and Ira, and they need to take him in, they need to ask him some questions. Tom doesn't understand, he keeps asking "Chrissie?" then "Chrissie" and finally "Chrissie!!" as he's arrested.
Chrissie sinks to the step and cries, rocking, as her husband is taken away and we're out.
Well. Things are becoming clearer somewhat, tying together absolutely everything, including the car wash which I swear, I was just joking about! Perhaps it's just a location, though, a drop off and it's hard to believe how involved Tom is in everything. It makes me want to go back and watch E2, the only other time we saw him, just briefly at Stevie's wake. But that would be cheating, dang it. Somehow I've gotten very attached to both Ira and Chrissie, when I used to just care about River and Stevie, I hurt for them both. I was also blown away by Lydia Leonard's part above as Ira's wife, its rare to be that affected by something, scripted or otherwise. There's usually a part that as observers, we tend to hold back and analyse emotional scenes like that, but she created a visceral reaction and all the kudos. I say that about holding back, but clearly I meant with everyone BUT Sarah Lancashire, who made me bawl regularly on both Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley. Until next time, when we roll on down the River, only one more to go!