Unforgiven S1:E1 The Release Recap

Unforgiven Cover

Hi there! I'm TalksTooMuch and I'll be recapping Unforgiven for your reading pleasure! You'll figure out my handle soon enough if you haven't already experienced the joy of my overwritten recaps for Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax and many, many other Sally Wainwright and  / or Sarah Lancashire shows! I'm not obsessed! There are others, too, honest! Say maybe Doctor Foster also starring Surranne Jones, or River with Nicola Walker. Rolling S1:E1 of Unforgiven after the break:

Did you know Unforgiven isn't actually a word? How odd is that? It seems like it should be a word, doesn't it? I mean there's a movie and this whole show...anyway, we know what's up, rolling! Oh look! This show has our Nev (George Costigan) and Catherine's Clare (Siobhan Finneran) from Happy Valley! Woot!

Two cops are discussing the release of Ruth Slater (Suranne Jones - so 'CITED!), who's been inside for 15 years, going in at 17. Can you imagine spending 15 years in prison and barely being in your 30s? I cannot. We see her check oot and being wished luck while the cop (PO?) tries to sort through the paperwork and figure out what she went down for. Ah, she killed two cops, and old bull and a rookie, shooting them. Wow.

Ruth's been on work release for a year, so she'll be slightly better acclimated than you would expect, being down that long, but I bet it's all still jarring.

Izzie (Siobhan Finneran - it's going to be so hard to not call her Clare and wonder at how smart she looks in her suit and with makeup on) can't get her brand new car to start, so her hubs John (Peter Davison) takes the kiddos but dispenses no sympathy.

She's calling someone from her cell when she hears the sound of smashing glass; DON'T GO LOOK!! Not while you're alone!! Oh, okay, an earthenware crock (I fink) has fallen down from above the cabinets into the wine fridge, whut? Was there some kind of a tremor? It had to sort of hook sideways...?

On the train, Ruth is being stared down by a woman in a niqab; dose eyes! While the coppers / PO go over Ruth's re-entry plan. She didn't get a new identity due to the nature of her offenses.

Over in suburbia, dad Michael (Douglas Hodge) is reminding his offspring Emily (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) that doing well on her A-Levels is probably the most important thing she'll ever do; it will DECIDE HER WHOLE LIFE. Note to self: find out exactly what A-Levels are. They're mentioned in practically every British show I've seen, but I can't tell if they're like the SATs or an entire extra year of school, like Grade 13 in Ontario.

Two policeman pull up and stop him from driving away; is he the father of Lucy Belcombe? It appears she's been in an accident and he'll have to come with them. Ergh! She's not...? They don't have any more information.

Ruth is in to see Carol Crossland (Daryl Fishwick) who is the woman we saw discussing her case earlier! And I'm still not exactly sure what her role is; doctor I think she said? Carol goes to get her things, she'll be taking Ruth to her new place. Ruth has never been on a train before? Aren't trains meant to mostly be ridden by teenagers swigging sprite and gin and / or pensioners?

An unhappy looking young man leaving on a motorcycle is chased after by a blonde woman with AN ADORABLE BEBEH. She looks worried, he looks resigned and the baby LOOKS ADORABLE! Ahh all the cooing. She comes back to her place, depositing the baby into a playroom and turning to find a slightly older gentleman in a suit standing in her doorway. They throw themselves into each other's arms and much fevered kissing ensues. Er. Was that young man not her fella then? What's with making out with the well-dressed mailman? That must be Hannah Whelan (Faye McKeever) which makes the pouty young man Steve Whelan (Matthew McNulty) and bloody hell, I think the suited fella is Kieran Whelan (Jack Deam) which would make for quite the kettle of fish.

Carol's still trying to get the shape of what to do with Ruth, who's been driving forklift at the garden centre for the past year. Before that was helping nuns, which was a blast: sweet, kind, uncomplicated; literally the exact opposite of everything I have seen about nuns on TV and in movies. Ruth wouldn't mind being a nun but Carol doesn't think she looks like one, she looks like a forklift driver (lip bite intentional or?). I may have misinterpreted that, but I think Ruth and I are on the same page, she looked down and made a funny head turn at the moment after.

Carol takes her round, pointing out Ruth's new job at Jagger's meat packing plant, seems okay.

Okay, so Hannah and Kieran have finished, now there's the dressing. She wants him to talk to Steve, there's some kind of problem with probation and she thinks he, Steve's brother, could help out. He counters "you're his wife" and there we have it, just as effed oop as IMdB suggested. Hannah sticks up for her hubs a bit, she doesn't want him to go to prison, so Kieran promises to talk to him..soon. She urges him again...when?

Lucy (Emily Beecham) is in intensive care, being watched over by her family, including mum Rachel (Jemma Redgrave) as D.C. Summergate (David Prosho who has an intriguing upper lip) from CID pops in to have a word with them. All witness statements are placing the blame squarely on Lucy, she accelerated through a red light. He dad protests, Lucy doesn't have a license. Or a car, so whose was it? It belongs to a Jonathon Litchfield (who isn't listed in IMdB and so does not count) who Lucy's parents don't know. Oh and he's not a fellow student friend of Lucy's; he's a drug dealer and now the denials are coming fast and furious. Lucy wouldn't do that! She wouldn't hang out with someone like that! She's a talented musician and she just wouldn't throw it away on that and parents just don't ever really know, do they? Summergate isn't attacking anyone, he's just giving the facts and explaining why they had to take a blood sample to find out if she was on anything.

Carol's impressed by Ruth's foresight; the flat she got is nice and has a view, thanks to her putting herself on the housing list two years prior. She even has furniture! And a sister to rely on, fank you very much, Carol, implying she hasn't anyone to depend on in the first few weeks. Ruth is clearly offended as Carol is embarrassed at not being up to speed. Ruth's sister Kate was only 6 when she was sent down, huh. And there were no parents, I gather, since Kate got put into care and was eventually adopted.

Sweet Jeebus, Mary and the saints, Suranne Jones's accent is thicker than a custard pudding on the second of February.

She hasn't been able to find her sister (I FINK that's what she said), growing angry, but calms down enough to offer Carol a cuppa. Carol reminds her of the terms of her release, which Ruth already knows: she isn't to make contact with any members of the families of any of the victims.

Steve and Kieran are meeting, that was soon, Hannah! Good pushing. They got the phone call last week about Ruth's release; Kieran doesn't think 15 years was enough for taking a man's life, which makes them one of the victim's families. I'm guessing the one about to retire, and I would further surmise that Izzy was mum to the other police officer killed.

Kieran wants to take a run at Ruth, ten minutes in a room with them two and baseball bats and I don't think they've met our Ruth just yet, she seems lovely. And it sounds as though her upbringing wasn't charmed either, driving since 8 or 9 and taking care of her decade younger little sister. ANYWAY, lemme shut my liberal arse up, my dad died young in entirely non-murdery circumstances, maybe I'm just wishing there was someone out there I could take a baseball bat to. Steve declines, to Kieran's disbelief.

Izzie's explaining the fallen crock to her family; everyone at the office thinks it was a ghost! A poltergeist with miserable aim, I'm guessing, who destroys WINE?? It's not just the crock, her new car wouldn't stop, there was a lightbulb incident and she has two wee lads that she's spouting this in front of. There's a spirit what needs to be released! Something happened! They laugh, instead of being terrified, so...good?

Michael's talking about Lucy with Emily; she interrupts his nervous chatter with a question; did he know Lucy wasn't happy? Lucy didn't enjoy college, she felt out of her depth and that everyone was smarter than her. She had wanted to come home and hide, but she didn't want to let her parents down.

Nice kitchen!!

Ohhhhhh, Lucy is Katie! Or, well, she's an adopted woman the same approximate age as Kate would be now, and she told her sister that she worried her birth mum and dad weren't that bright; why she was maybe having trouble in college. The way Emily worded that made me wonder if BOTH girls were adopted, we shall see. Michael is devastated that Lucy didn't talk to him about it, and that she felt so poorly about her own intellect.

Rachel is at Lucy's bedside and oooh! The same music that played whenever something scary was going to happen in Happy Valley is in the background! I swear it! Or something very close.

Ruth is star-gazing and picturing wee Kate running in the field.

The next morning we're at work with Ruth at the meat packing place, I think she's having trouble with all the noise. A toothless wonder (okay she has teeth, but they look foonay - in Ruth-speak) starts questioning her at lunch time, too aggressive to be friendly: where's Ruth from then? Oh, then what's brought her back? And now we get to meet Bradley (Will Mellor), god's gift he's pretty sure, who's smelled the fresh meat all the way down the line. He asks her out with the gang Friday night and she accepts (15 years is 15 years and sometimes the confident ones can back it up), Acapulco Club it is!

Izzie arrives home to find music playing, the coffee table inverted with books placed carefully on top and "help me" written in coffee grounds on the underside. She must know someone's effing with her, right? She must know that?

Apparently not, as she walks through her house, saying "hello? I want to help you" as she explains that she's not frightened. I mean.

Her hubs arrives home to find her sitting outside, she isn't going in there, is she? He asks if anything else is missing? Not a burglary, but she thinks it's time to sell up. He runs off to find the deed while she firmly tells the manifest she'll be fixing the coffee table now.

Steve's home now, sitting on that same bed his wife and brother were making whoopie on earlier in the day, is it wrong that I was looking for telltale signs? I have no idea what it's like to share the same bed with more than one person in a day, but I have a good understanding of the transient nature of most body hair and fluids. That seems risky. He's looking at a picture of his dad, ah yes, it was the cop near retirement that Ruth shot.

Lucy's awake now, banged up but still undeniably lovely, almost Princess Grace-like, after a minor car accident with some spraying glass. Rachael comforts her as her sister and dad come in, nothing's worth getting into a state like this!

Carol's breaking the bad news to Ruth, the terms of Kate's adoption stated that there would be no contact between her and Ruth after. "How could they do that??" asks Ruth? Because they were short of adoptive parents and because Ruth was considered to be a danger. She's furious, why didn't they tell her when she sent so many letters and phone calls over the years?? Ruth loved Kate, she never would have hurt her, and Kate loved her too, thought the world of her. I bet Kate / Lucy is wondering why she never got any of those letters or anything, that's straight-up bullshite.

Kate can choose to come see Ruth, though, right? So why hasn't she? Maybe if she didn't get any of those letters, or wasn't encouraged to think about Ruth...wow. Ruth is devastated, but manages to keep her anger under control, which Carol watches carefully.

Izzie is opening up a non-smashed bottle of wine, looking outside to see an old woman on the wall looking at the through the window. She calls John in, he sees her too, huh. It looks a bit like Ruth, so maybe not old after all.

Oh and it is Ruth!! This was where she and her sister were running in the field? What's she doing? John comes out to find out just that; can he help her? She used to live there; she was born there, raised there and was tricked off. What does that mean? How does one get tricked off? And how did she have that house with no parents? I BET IF I KEEP WATCHING, I'LL FIND OUT!

He invites her in to see the house, introducing himself. She gives her name and asks if he's heard of her, but he keeps smiling, so clearly not.

From the beginning, when Ruth's hair was tightly contained with several barrettes, we're starting to see scene by scene bits come out. Whole locks are flowing in the breeze right now, where a smaller bunch was loose in the scene with Carol. It's interesting.

Her dad was the tenant here, when he died she kept it for her and her sister, but the estate agent screwed them and sold it. His wife would LOVE to meet her, there are some odd things happening and she thinks they're haunted.

Izzie is amazed that Ruth and her family farmed here...on a farm. I mean. I suppose rich people buy properties like this because of size? Not functionality. I'm guessing there have been a few renovations over the years, they have a great kitchen and 400 years ago they didn't have wine fridges.

She explains about Kate, which seems awfully early in their acquaintance, but glossing over the "things...happened" part, but then we find out that Ruth and Kate's mother cleared off when they were very young, she was an alcoholic. I think Ruth just needed someone to talk to. They want their parlour trick now, did anything odd every happen? Well, vehicles didn't start because they were all knackered. And the flying bulbs could be explained by electrical surges; them being out at the end of the line.

As for the coffee table and "help me", Ruth flashes back to the young police officer gasping "help me" as he died, ohh. And I was clearly wrong above, I don't guess this family has any association with Ruth's victims in the corporeal sense, just in the phantasm stage. She really did it, then. Nobody else there, although there may have been footsteps.

John drives Ruth to the bus stop, offering to check with Social Services about Kate, he and Izzie are family lawyers. He gives her his card, but er, lookit, there's more to it than what she said, which would become apparent very shortly after he started checking into anything. She explains (sort of) about getting into trouble a lot when she was young, he'd already figured it was somefing like that. Give him two weeks and he will check it out for her.

It's Friday and we're at the Acapulco Club with Bradley watching a possibly schmammered Ruth dance with her hair completely down, she stares back. Later, back at her flat, she's very nervous and not used to drinking whatsoever. He accuses her of having him on and I HATE when dudes do that. I also don't feel safe with him there. They get to clothing removal, I'm guessing she hasn't felt a fella or been felt by one for a long time, so a one-night stand with the pushy bloke from work turns into a lovely exploration of another person. That ended so much better that I thought it would.

Ruth's making her way outside the next day as Steve and his maintenance co-worker walk by, who says "fancy a spit-roast"?? I mean, I ask you. She tells him to feck off while Steve looks spooked. Oooh, that's not a good thing. (I mean the Steve seeing her. If you're into spit-roasts, do you, no judgies!)

Michael is opening a letter from solicitors while Steve is looking odder and odder in the elevator. Oh feck, he does recognise her, this will be very bad. Thank goodness it's a massive apartment complex, that might buy her some time. He freaks out.

The letter from the solicitor isn't a note that Lucy is being sued (what I thought), but rather from Ruth to see Katie, so yes, Lucy is Kate.

Kieran and Hannah are in bed again (who's watching the baby? I mean this in a non-mum-shaming way, I can't even barely engage in relations in the middle of the night, I can't imagine being able to have any fun two mornings in a row with a baby who can walk wandering around - tell me your secrets!) when his phone rings; it's Steve of course. He's found the bitch.

And we're out. Huh. I'm still not sure of the significance of Izzie and John; are they just there to help Ruth? Is the connection just the farm and the memories with Kate, or is the poltergeist the young cop Ruth killed? Will we meet his family too? Steve came 'round awfully quick to violence about Ruth, I thought he said he didn't want anything to do with it. Until next time, keep your coffee table turned right side down and your coffee grounds in the sink, y'all. Cheers!

ps: thank to J for the corrections re: Emily and Lucy!

  • Thanks to you, I watched all three episodes of Unforgiven this morning on YouTube. Gonna write a review for my blog – just a quick review of the whole series, not a play by play like your blog. Loved it and thank you for turning me on to this Sally Wainwright series.

    • Very cool, OAD! I will check it out! I heard about Unforgiven from @ceridwyn2 on Twitter, the mixup with Unforgotten was all me, LOL

    • Very cool, OAD! I will check it out! I heard about Unforgiven from @ceridwyn2 on Twitter, the mixup with Unforgotten was all me, LOL