Unforgiven S1:E3 All Things Familial Recap

Unforgiven Cover

We're at the end of this Sally Wainwright-penned Suranne Jones-starring mini-series Unforgiven already, and since everything has to happen in the next 45 minutes, I am assuming it will be jam-packed and we should get right to it. Can you believe there are series that last 7-8 times longer?? 23 episodes and it's all chafe-y and NOBODY'S having any fun. Rolling after the break!

We're back on that fateful day of the eviction, a young Katie pensively staring out the window at the gloomy clouds and the approaching police car. She calls out to Ruth, who looks about 40, not 17, which is funny, because in her"older" staging, she looks younger than now.

Katie is worried about the police presence, and I think that goes a long way towards what kind of life kiddos have. My children LOVE the police, practically harassing them whenever possible, but they've only had good experiences. Let's just say when I was growing up (entirely in poverty), we were not surrounded by kids that were delighted to see the police. Not many would go and get a gun, as Katie did, though, handing it to Ruth, who chided her, they can't REALLY shoot at the police.

Ermagahd, young Katie (Sophie Downham) is GORGEOUS, all freckles, big eyes and a rounded budda belleh with woolen sweater, my goodness. I'm starting to wonder if she killed the cops instead of Ruth, though. That might explain why she didn't remember anything from before. And where's the dad, then? The two coppers are gossiping out by the car, aren't five grown men coming to evict a teenager and a six year old a bit much, the younger one asks?

One of the fellas tries to start a parlay with Ruth through Katie, Ruth "ain't got a fing to say to ya" and bam, the window's shut and the match is set. He rings then, introducing himself as Mr. Boothroyd (Tony Pitts) the bailiff, and he would really like one of them to open the door.

He sends the policemen around back to see if there's a door they can get in without damage while Ruth snatches up the phone; this isn't fair, they shouldn't be there. Well he doesn't know the ins and outs or nuffing, but she's got to open the door.

P.C. Whelan (Jason Furnival) is telling P.C. Higginbottom (Sebastian Shaw) about the first time he met Ruth, she bit him and it went septic. And THAT'S what she meant about driving once or twice when she was 9! And that's why she smirked. It had nothing to do with Carol Crossman giving her the eye (I blame the Tipping the Velvet miniseries I was recapping. I just assume anything a nanosecond over typical eye contact is sexual)

Ah their dad died and Ruth thought she inherited the tenancy off him, but their father had let the rent lapse, so there was no legal precedent for her to stay on with Katie.

Higginbottom is prying away at windows, getting one open while Ruth screams away at Boothroyd on the phone; this is their farm and they will work it! It's their livelihood! Higginbottom and everyone gets in and Ruth is talking about resisting and it better not be that "fat bastard Whelan" who's going to get his the moment he walks in and his brains will be splattered and... Katie shoots the constables climbing the stairs towards her.

Ruth sees the carnage, carefully taking the gun from Katie's hands and rushing her out the door. There's a moment that is Suranne Jones, but also Sarah Lancashire, and in the end... all Sally Wainwright. That look, that slow movement, it was in Happy Valley series 2 when Catherine Cawood cradled the killer and mother of the killer and it's now when Ruth realises what her words have done and what she must do.

She takes Boothroyd's Land Rover and she and Katie are gone, and we're back to present day with Ruth staring at the letter with Katie / Lucy's address, sent by a "well-wisher." Could that have been Carol? Ruth rushes up to Eddie's apartment; can she borrow his car? He's wearing a mantank and er-ooh. That was for OldAin'tDead and I.

Ruth hightails it to Lucy's address, letting John know, at least, which was probably a good idea or a very bad idea, I guess we'll see. The very first person she meets knows exactly where Lucy is, how handy! Off to Creative Arts it is! But which one is she? How will Ruth know by looking?

She does sort it, though, picking Lucy out right away. I wonder if the song Lucy was playing was one from their childhood? Ruth stalks Lucy throughout the rest of the day, confirming Lucy's identity and not at all creepily watching her go about her life.

Steve's found that 500 pounds to give to the detective; he's planning to go ahead with hurting Katie / Lucy on his own then.

Ruth sits in Eddie's car after, listening to John's concerned voicemail, well, how's she doing now? And maybe ring him, yeah, just ring him and huh. Maybe don't, Ruth. It's raining now and she's back at the farm, ooh, in person visit instead of ringing and that farmhouse has really been redone, hasn't it?

John's not there, but Izzie is and she's slightly more friendly this time, inviting Ruth in for a cuppa. She was just tense about the ghost, you see, and she's sorry. Ruth was just looking for a place to spill, and Izzie's kindly face is letting it all come out. She didn't approach her sister because she didn't know if Lucy would recognise her, or accept her and then oh. "People do what they have to do" she tells Izzie, "what did you do?" Izzie comes back? She tells Izzie that she didn't kill the policemen, Lucy did but it were her fault. I would agree with that assessment. You start shouting about splattering brains near a six year old next to a loaded weapon, well, I'm afraid that is on you, m'lady.

Izzie is slow to grasp what she means, but HORRIFIED when she sorts it. Ruth's been in jail for 15 years for something she didn't do. Ruth's paid her sister's debt, they got their pound of flesh, haven't they?

The detective has got Lucy's name and address for Steve already, won't it be very obvious when someone by that name goes missing that something is up? The detective even took some pictures, she's very pretty, isn't she? His friend will be happy to see her, oh yeah, over the moon.

He goes back home to find a frantic Hannah chasing after him. I guess he hasn't been home since he saw her and his brother boning in a very uncomfortable-looking fashion. I haven't taken a whole lot of notice of her before, but her screaming and crying at him while he packs is horrible. The first thing she says is "don't take the baby!!" and just like that, she and I are crying. She follows him throughout the house, she's noticed the money is gone, what about Ethan?? He can't leave Ethan? And finally, as he drives away, this is why she did that, it's like he doesn't care about the her and Ethan! He's just never there! Whew. Tiny breaks for tears.

Ruth is reliving the past again, in a cafe with Katie after the shooting, broke and watching the cops drive by. She asks Katie "why did you?" and just after that, the cops are in the cafe, beating her and taking Katie. Nobody likes a cop killer. I'm trying not to mention the Dallas Police Shootings, because there is just too much else that has to be explained with it, but I will just say this... it is a scary time to be on the streets of a big city in the United States right now, on either side of the blue line.

Ah shite, the detective wasn't worth the 500 pounds after all, she tapped EMILY as Lucy, and that's who Steve is scoping out right now while Ruth stalks Lucy herself. Somehow Lucy hasn't noticed Ruth until now, but her friends have. Lots of staring from across the foyer sends Ruth off; but she waits a few seconds, to see if Lucy recognises her.

Steve's followed Emily's bus after school, he trembles at the sight of her, the culmination of all the bad things that had happened to him about to be squarely dealt onto Emily's person. He snatches her, very, very ineptly, her screaming and kicking, but he gets her in there, so I guess that's the important part. I mean, he's in his own company van! With his own license plates! DOES THIS MAN NOT WATCH TELEVISION?

Ruth's been hiding and listening to Lucy play. Up walks Izzie. Ruth and I are confused. Why on earth would Izzie be there? Ah, Carol IS Ruth's probation officer and she contacted John, Ruth hasn't been at work or eating and Izzie's there to help. She wants to take Ruth off to a pub for something to eat, she's quite worried about Ruth, who's still on License (must be like probation here); Ruth could go back to prison for ducking work, being here. How did Ruth get through all those years at school? She must be one of the most remarkable people Izzie has ever met.

Steve's dragging Emily inside that hideaway now, she's duct-taped and we are very worried. Rachael and Michael are frantic as well, they know she got off the bus at the right time. Steve tells Emily that it isn't about her, whatever happens, I DON'T THINK THAT'S MUCH OF A COMFORT RIGHT NOW, STEVE!

He pulls out a bottle of liquor, drinking deep then pouring the rest on a freaked out Emily. He calls Ruth then, he has that DVD player for her (ah, that must have been to get her number), introducing himself properly. She knows his father! Oh jeez, she still doesn't know: she says she's not supposed to be in contact with him and then it comes out.

He's doused her sister in petrol and no, no he hasn't, her sister is here! Izzie wants to know what's going ON, so Ruth puts her phone on speaker, looking at it as though it has sprouted fangs. They finally get it across to him, they've got Lucy's sister Emily, NOT Emily, and he better let her go, she's not involved. He hangs up, yowling and Izzie calls the police. They've got to notify the police, but Ruth doesn't have their number! "She does" Izzie says, pointing in Lucy's direction, ohhh but Ruth doesn't want to introduce herself like this! She doesn't want to introduce herself at all! GO! Eeeep, says Ruth, but off she runs.

It doesn't go very well at first, Ruth doesn't introduce herself, just tells Lucy her sister is in trouble and she needs her parents phone numbers. Another student tries to throw Ruth out and Lucy is weirded out because she knows Ruth's been following her, but stable-looking Izzie comes in and everyone stands down. Ruth gets Lucy's phone and calls the Belcombes; Izzie suddenly remembers that she talked to Hannah Whelan the other week and rings her at the same time.

It gets crazy then, all the screaming back and forth trying to explain everything to the Belcombes but Izzie hits paydirt, Kieran's over to see Hannah (looking right comfy), and he knows where Steve was planning to take Lucy.

Steve's freaking out now, what can he do with her? Just let her go, no harm no foul! Ruth and Izzie race off to the warehouse while Lucy stares hard at the side of Ruth's head (in the past and now): are you my sister? And then angry "you're not my sister! Not my proper sister, she's my proper sister" and if anything happens to her, you'll be sorry! That proper sister was the one who sent Lucy's address to Ruth, that's the well-wisher.

Kieran is also showing his family love, calling Steve to GTFO, but where can Steve go? He does take Emily's restraints off and throw her in the back of the van and making a run for it as the police sirens grow closer.

He doesn't get very far, hitting a wall and we hear he has severe neck and head trauma, not likely to make it. Emily is okay, but Lucy comes out of the milieu to approach Ruth. She remembered her, in the past and something had happened, what was it?

Ruth goes over what happened, but she doesn't tell Lucy that it was she who killed the policemen and I guess I understand that. As Ruth said, they got their pound of flesh, didn't they? Why would they care from who? Michael comes up then, making Ruth retreat like a whipped dog and oh that made my heart hurt to see her so tentative around the sister she gave everything up for. He wanted to thank her, though, and even helps Lucy take Ruth's number. Aww man.

Lucy turns to leave, then looks back: she remembered something else. She remembered sitting on a wall watching cows in the summer, and there was someone holding her. Ruth says "yeah that were ME" and I"m not crying, you are!! Aw man. And we're out to them hugging.

Another great series from Sally Wainwright, I love Surranne Jones's work! Thanks to A Celtic Dragon for piquing my interest and thanks to my dopey brain for getting it mixed up with Unforgotten with Nicola Walker, which I will be starting next week, along with Rose and Maloney with the incomparable Sarah Lancashire. Cheers!

  • Don’t know if you saw the Q&A with Sally Wainwright I ran right before the start of S2 of Happy Valley. She talked about Unforgiven. Here’s what she said.
    ” I wanted to do a second series of Unforgiven, I wanted to
    follow what Ruth did next, and ITV said no, even though it was massively
    successful and probably one of the best dramas ITV has ever made. I
    still think that was a sad decision. I could have written that character
    for another three series and people would have watched it and loved it.”

    • I wasn’t aware of that, no! I liked Ruth Slater, mostly because I like Suranne Jones, but it felt like a short story to me, so I was good with it