Welcome to the finale of Collateral from BBC Two, I saw this just the other day on Netflix as well, so hai chillers! That's false cheer, this last episode promises to be gritty and complicated so let's dig in, shall we? All the spoilers after the break.
We left Army Captain Sandrine Shaw (Jeany Spark) hiding in the bushes outside her tormentor's house, will she kill him or won't she? However much the family man he appears to be, he's been the Army's longtime problem, sexually harassing and assaulting women. We'll see how this soldier chooses to handle her superior, she's suffering from PTSD but also deeply engaged in Islamaphobia and xenophobia.
We don't open with her, however, we're with DI Kip Glaspie (Carey Mulligan), former Olympic polevaulter (ending with a nasty fall) cum teacher cum recently promoted lead detective on the case of Who Killed Abdullah Asif? Abdullah (Sam Otto) was shot after a routine pizza delivery by Sandrine, on the orders of Peter Westbourne (Richard McCabe) who is running an English human trafficking organization, possibly with help from the Army. For sure with the help of former pizza shop manager Laurie Stone (Hayley Squires), who was found murdered last episode and possibly involving Karen Mars (Billie Piper), ex-wife of local Labour MP David Mars (John Simm).
Also in play is an MI5 guy, Abdullah's sister Fatima (Ahd) and our beloved gay vicar Jane Oliver (Nicola Walker) who's just had her wings clipped for showing her rainbow-striped belly. Well. There's that, but also the extremely young girlfriend who likes to take drugs in public on a presumably more-than-one-time basis. Is that normal these days? I'm old. Jane and Lihn (Kae Alexander), the young woman in question, seemed to think that was totally normal.
Where were we?
Kip's working late, but her second in command Nathan Bilk (Nathaniel Martello-White - whom I've been very impressed with since seeing briefly in Channel 4 drama Kiri with Sarah Lancashire - why have I not seen him around before? He's excellent, truly) isn't answering his phone after his hissy fit over Kip's interrogation of Fatima sans him. Kip's rolling with DC Rakhee Shah (Vineeta Rishi) instead on their approach on the two Vaguely European Thugs involved in the human trafficking. Tall Gaunt is Mehmet Akman (George Georgiou) and Older Stocky is as yet unnamed.
Nathan finally shows up, pouting because they didn't wait for him before the raid. Kip called three times, but Nathan had turned his phone off in a fit of pique, which he thinks is a perfectly good response. Oy. How does she know she has the right people? Because she watched the video on Fatima's phone, Nathan, and wasn't at home sulking over it.
They didn't get third gang member Berna (Maya Sansa) but they did get a great photo of her, so they're off again while we switch over to David.
David has been summoned to see Deborah Clifford (Saskia Reeves), I wonder if it's to do with the illegal Visa he signed for Lihn or getting kicked out of a casino with his ex-wife Karen for fighting or because he called England a "nasty little country" on live TV: really, the possibilities are endless.
Ah, it's immigration! Deborah doesn't want to hear his opinion about their party's immigration policy, she'll make the decision, fanks! He's not allowed to talk to people on TV any longer, or her for that matter and just when we think we're done, Deborah throws in the illegal Visa as a sweetener.
David is on thin ice. David is seen to be more sympathetic to immigrants than people who have lived in this country for 100 years.
Our delightful vicar Jane is trying to sleep, but she looks troubled, laying next to fetchingly strewn Lihn. She gets up and finds a Dear Jane letter which makes me rewind a little bit and make sure I saw that correctly. Who writes a Dear Jane letter, leaves it out and then has a nice long sleep with the partner they're leaving? That's just poor planning/laziness.
It's from LAURIE! The pizza manager who was just murdered! She stopped by Jane's church and had a cuppa after but wasn't able to wait to really get into it. Aw.
Kip's gone to see Robert Walsh (Mark Umbers - seriously, that mug) first thing in the morning, nobody's getting any sleep today! He's got his shirt all unbuttoned and his hair is all rumpled, so I'll need a minute. She's noticed the trend in his story choices, she wants to know who's been spitting in his mouth? (Gross visual, still would).
Actually, she just wanted to see his face when she said "Security Services," he turns white(r), telling her everything she suspected.
At the Infinite Detention Centre for (Possibly) Illegal Immigrants, Abdullah's sister is about to give birth. Will anyone help Mona (July Namir)?
Sandrine waits until her commanding officer leaves his house and then approaches, gun in hand. Phoebe Dyson (Orla Brady....where do I know her from?) is confused and alarmed. She wants to talk about Tim.
How did we not know his name is Tim? Did we know? It's Major Tim Dyson (Robert Portal) anyway. So incongruous to think of him as a normal person with a name like Tim.
Phoebe recognises Sandrine, Tim's told her Sandrine's been having trouble adjusting after a difficult tour. He also said his last assistant didn't have a nervous breakdown, but rather had problems with promiscuity and it was bad for morale.
I'm prrreettty sure Tim hates women.
Sandrine watched the Dyson family all night, how will everyone cope when they find out their father is a rapist? But it seems Phoebe already knew that, so things get very dicey for the her just then.
I will be so angry if Sandrine takes her fury out on another woman and not the man who raped her.
Er. But instead she takes Phoebe's car and says nothing will matter by the end of today, that she'll leave Phoebe with her rapist f*ck of a husband. Now she knows who he is, she can never say she doesn't.
David makes it into the office, Monique (Jacqueline Boatswain) makes him talk to one-night-stand/reporter Suki Vincent (Kim Medcalf) who wants to know what on earth he's doing? He doesn't know, but he's in the middle of deciding.
Nathan's decided his life path already, calling the MI5 dude Sam Spencer (John Heffernan) with a heads up about the smugglers in custody, now it's a race to see who gets to Berna first: Kip or Sam. Sam poops himself and agrees to make inquiries.
Also, Nathan, you suck. And you're credulous.
Sam calls Berna immediately, course, who packs and runs...outside to meet the whole gang waiting for her. Maybe Nathan wasn't stupid, maybe he's HELPING!
Rakhee fills Kip in on the news of Sandrine Shaw's breakdown, then Kip is in with her boss, DCI Jack Haley (Ben Miles) who warns her to shut the door. Whoops. Oh the thugs are Turkish! Jack is pisssssed Kip promised something to Fatima. This is the best explanation I've ever seen.
She"discerned" Jack's willingness to offer lifelong British citizenship to both Fatima and Mona. Jack's incredulity is worth the price of admission as she continues to defend her position. She's got David, though, can she use that for leverage? He's not allowed to cuddle any more immigrants, though, she might not be aware.
Kip and Sam meet for coffee, how did he know she's in a spot of luck? I suppose his friend from school Robert Walsh could have told him, but he's still pretending he doesn't know him. Oh! Kip's going to use SAM to get residency for Fatima and Mona! Well played, Kip of the spoiled polevault.
His first mistake was thinking she was an idiot. The only thing is...she doesn't have Peter yet. But she does have Berna! Which makes his face go sideways. We'll see if he caves.
Tim races home to see his distraught wife Phoebe, who seems more angry than sad. She confronts him, unfortunately for him she believes everything Sandrine said.
Kip's interviewing Berna, after a bit of jousting about 'arty films' Berna wants to know what level she'll dealing with. Kip laughs: ground level. Nathan's just as surprised to hear the amount of times Sam's name comes up, I guess she didn't fill him in before the interview. Berna is advised that Sam refused to protect her and we're into it.
Nathan's sent to go get her phone and Berna spills all the beans to Kip. Abdullah had to be killed because he knew who the big boss is: Peter. He found that out because Berna (deliberately?) sent the boat captain an email with that information and Abdullah tried to use that...big mistake.
Nathan comes back in with Berna's phone, she'll be contacting Sam to warn him she'll be giving up all the names.
Sandrine's mum Eleanor (Deborah Findlay) calls Peter for help about poor Sandrine losing her religion, oh great, now he's warned.
David's found out some new information of how low his ex-wife has sunk, she hacked into the bank account of her young au pair and stole all her money to gamble with. David thinks he's going to dis-engage at this point, I hope he actually does what he says he will and protects his kiddo.
Sandrine checks into an inn for the night, I swear to all that is holy if they show her naked again...
Instead, she writes a letter to explain her actions. She can't blame it all on her anger, once "war has entered the blood."
Incongruously, across town Peter languidly shuts down his travel agent business.
Jane and Lihn have the talk that's been brewing: what will Jane choose? Helping her parish or staying with the woman she loves (who doesn't seem to want to stay anyway). She chooses her parish.
The person on Twitter was right, Nicola Walker is the best at crying while not crying and emoting from her toes.
Nathan and Kip make up, aww. He was feeling left out and intimidated by educated Kip and Jack and I completely understand that insecurity. Kip knows exactly who the murderer is, she's off calling around about Sandrine while Nathan focuses on Peter, whose name he just got from Berna. They're too late.
Sandrine finishes her letter, I fear this is the end of our complicated murderer.
Sam has come to bring Berna to the airport, she was one of the most helpful embedded agents in their work. I'm very dumb, because I didn't realise until that very moment, when they spelled her role out very carefully. I do remember they said that exactly in the interview between Kip and Berna and I STILL didn't get it until now.
Sam is pissed everything went south because of one Iraqi dying, he'd have him dying every time if it meant their work could continue. And that's the problem. If one death doesn't mean anything...
Kip heads to The Olde Bell inn where Sandrine is holed up, they've just been watching her, not going in. Kip heads up, but I think Sandrine is dead already.
Oh but not, Sandrine speaks through the door.
They talk, Kip sharing more than I would expect but it seems to set Sandrine at ease, until Kip says Abdullah wasn't a terrorist and that she knows why someone told her that.
Oh no. That was the last thing Sandrine could hear at that time and without further ado, she ends her life.
Mona's baby is born exactly then, a British citizen gained just as we lose another British citizen.
Kip sits in the aftermath as Eleanor receives a call and Peter heads out of town.
Kip, Nathan and Jane sit alone as David reads his last story to his child in the home of his ex-wife and then he is gone and alone too. Or rather, not alone, but with Suki Vincent, waiting outside. He's missing the important vote.
Kip goes home to her awesomely supportive partner and we're back at the pizza place where we started, with Mikey (Brian Vernel) managing the ovens for now. And we're out.
I can't say enough about Carey Mulligan in this role, I know very little of her other work (even with my self-professed love of 'arty' movies) but she's been the beating heart and cool cerebral core of this show. Believable and wrenching at every turn, no cheap moves or mis-delivered lines. I would love to see her in more shows of this nature.
Everyone else was good as well, Jeany Spark as the tortured and doomed Captain Shaw was a standout. I don't agree with some of the choices made around her role, but I've been clear about it already. And they really should have written in a kneecapping of Major Tim Dyson.
I could not connect to John Simm's character at all, he was a milquetoast from start to end, lacking borders and definition. If I had to draw him as a picture, it would be a vaguely confused but wretched stare in a miasma of guilt.
The theme of the show was a snapshot of today's Britain, what say you, my Brit pals? Is that accurate? It was slightly too pat to be a true moment captured in time. This was one tidy bundle, with the exception of Jane having to make an unfortunate choice. Until next time, thanks to the people who recommended this mini-series, I'm always happy to stumble across another excellent British show.