You know I'm always in for a David Tennant oeuvre, right? Deadwater Fell is not only a mystery AND English AND starring DT, it has a zillion other actors I hugely respect. Let's find out exactly how Broadchurch-y we're talking here, ready?
We open at the scene of a horrible fire made worse by its cheery past as a children's schoolroom, shots of this gloomy scene interspersed with watching someone have a catastrophic car accident.
We go back to the space as a schoolroom full of happy children and two teachers, it's idyllic! Except we know it won't remain as such.
The students take their art to the streets in a march in support of a Lewis whom they hope takes first place on either a bicycle or large caterpillar.
Ah, it's a bike race after all and the whole town is out to watch the cyclists ride by, police are everywhere. One's young and flirting his poxy face off with a young lady and another is the father of one of the kiddos who makes far too much eye contact with Jess Milner (Cush Jumbo which is apparently a name?), one of the schoolteachers.
Dr. Tom Kendrick (David Tennant!! from Dr. Who, Good Omens, Broadchurch I mean, I could be here all day - he's fantastic) is not outside with the rabble, he's inside tidily packing a briefcase with a baffling amount of facial hair all over the place.
He's notified of the cyclists imminent arrival by a blonde woman, who leans out the window with him and another gent to watch the fun from above.
It's all very exciting, if blurry, and lasts approximately 11 seconds, disappointing at least one kiddo.
Later, we meet everyone again in their civvies, I guess it's okay that the one cop Steve Campbell (Matthew McNulty) was making eyes at Jess, seeing as they're a couple and all. The other schoolteacher is Kate Kendrick (Anne Madeley and I cannot tell you how long I pored over her IMDb trying to think of where I knew her name from.Turns out it's from RUTH Madeley, from The Accident and Years and Years) cuddling up with Tom Kendrick of the lush beard and unfortunately mustard sweater.
Kate and Jess chitchat during the party while staring at their partners, Kate is on Weight Watchers for no discernible reason and Jess is trying to have a baby via in vitro something or rather.
In between all the partying and omnipresent fiddle music playing on and on, someone official and forensic-y is placing objects from the party carefully onto a metal table, laying out for review I would guess. A receipt for a padlock and keys for same draws a lot of attention.
So does Jess's partner, Steve, screaming at his ex-partner Sandra McKay (Lisa McGrillis) over custody issues at the party, that's...not fun. Still, everyone does seem to be having a great time together, including young teenagers sharing purloined booze and all grownups making fools of themselves on the dance floor.
Tom notices his wife Kate talking to the school principal in a slightly more familiar way than you'd expect involving more double hand holding, hmm.
A wounded kiddo draws Steve and Tom's attention, Kate is still talking to Principal Simon Wells (Jamie Michie). Hmm.
Lots of hugs end a perfect evening out.
Jess and Steve inject her with hormones and chat about his custody issues while a lab-type person prepares a gurney. The lab-y tech guy removes plant-like material from under a small foot.
Jess wakes up to take care of the children in the middle of the night and spots a horrible sight, Kate and Tom's house on fire.
A group of friends have gathered around, I hope someone has called the fire department, right?? Steve pushes a ladder up against the side of the house and climbs up with buckets of water as literally everyone shouts down below.
I can't tell what's going on, not really, but someone is pulled out somewhat alive? Steve drags an unconscious Tom out next, where are the wee ones??
It's just a horrific scene all around.
Jess waits with Tom in the hospital after, he's alive, if only barely. She flashes back to happy memories of the two families playing on the beach together.
Ah Steve made it out alive too, I wasn't sure as he looked near the end of his rope. Did Kate make it?
Wait. Who flipped their car in the beginning?
I'm worried because Jess and Steve are driving along a similar country lane and he's struggling with post traumatic stress from the ordeal. Ahhh the wee babes didn't make it.
Three gurneys are filled when Steve walks into the examining room. The lab tech asks if the family was all in the house when found. Young Emily (Orla Russell) had pine needles on her feet, hmm. Kate and the kids were all injected with something, but I can't tell if Tom was as well.
A morose Steve is back on patrol already with young partner PC Taylor Clark (Lorn MacDonald) handling the unenviable task of notifying Kate's parents of her and their grandchildren's deaths.
They fall apart. The school falls apart, this town is in pieces. Principal Simon gives a speech, at the end he calls Tom "Dr. Kendrick" which meant I immediately leapt to the idea that he killed his family because he could have injected them with something, being a doctor and all.
I think I need a crime/horror break. Maybe some nice glittery fabric next.
We're back in the Kendrick manse, this time as a crime scene. DCI Spencer Collins (Gordon Brown) and DC Gemma Darlington (Laurie Brett! I just saw her in Traces!) from Glasgow discuss the timelines with Officer Steve then move on to examination of the rooms. One of the wee girls' rooms was padlocked shut??? What the HELL??
A little girl?
Carol Kendrick (Maureen Beattie) sits watching her son breathe through a tube, maybe it would be best if he just went. Kate's mum, who would give anything to have her daughter back, stares, shocked. She can't mean that?
Steve watches CCTV footage of the local hardware store where the padlock was purchased as the DC and DCI ask Tom's partner Dr. Mark Denham-Johnson (Stuart Bowman) about Kate's medical history. She was on anti-depressants when she died, still dealing with the after effects of post partum complications. He did say she was feeling much better.
Steve sees a young woman on the CCTV footage that brings his head up, is that Kate Kendrick? It is! She bought the padlock that was used to murder her children? But she also died? Steve can't barely watch.
A big get together dinner at Steve and Jess's house is soured by more fighting between ex-partners Steve and Sandra. Doesn't he understand that this is not the time to nitpick small issues? Mark chooses to share that the police asked about Kate's medical history AND shares the same information with them, what FOIP? Whose FOIP?
Principal Simon is drunk and ready to voice his opinion about who killed his beloved Kate, it's Tom! He won't be the only one who thinks so, perhaps he's just the first to say it out loud. His wife Tessa (Grace Calder) is politely mortified. Most people actually think it's Kate, I would wager, especially if Mark keeps blabbing and the police pursue that line of inquiry.
You know. Jess has syringes, she uses them every night to get her hormones all excited.
Thinking back to that happy day on the beach, there are layers in any get together with Kate separate from everyone then barking at her mother-in-law to "f*** off" strikes a discordant note. Kate drinks to feel better.
My bad, the first scene we saw was not arson committed connected to the schoolroom; I couldn't tell with all the wee boots and shoes covered with ash.
Jess sets up for school without any energy at all, looking almost as deflated and hollow as Steve, who's heckled by young Dylan Denham-Johnson (Lewis Gribben), who must be Dr. Mark's son.
Jess finds an unexpected box in Kate's drawer, it's cigarettes that she tucks away.
Steve watched home videos taken by Tom of their shared family time, interrupted by a call from the hospital. Ahhhh it's impossible to watch these three wee girls and know.
Jess is thinking back to another shared family time; that beach picnic that ended so badly. Worse even that we thought, Kate had been drinking wine when she got angry and left with Jess and her wee girls, it was that car that flipped in the introduction. Steve calling snaps her out of that, Dr. Tom Kendrick is awake.
Tom looks at her without hope, then Steve as Jess remembers them making love furtively but passionately up against a window.
We're out. Yikes. Okay. I did wonder at how closely Tom and Jess stood together, but that was the only sign I saw of that. Does him having an affair and being a doctor make him a lock for the murder of his family? A lot of evidence is pointing to his dead wife being the perpetrator, almost too much. Post partum depression can do absolutely terrible things, but I don't remember reading that it lasted quite that long.
What was the deal with that car accident? Does it have anything to do with Jess's difficulty conceiving? Did Kate have a head injury that affected her behaviour?
I didn't manage to figure out who each child was, so I'll list them here. The three Kendrick girls who died in the fire are Iris (Felicity Keenan), Charlotte (Lilac Jackson) and I got Emily (Orla Russell), our sole brunette Kendrick kiddo.
It's a gorgeously shot show, I can't get over how beautiful and bright everything is, save the arson site. I've been recapping a lot of Scottish programs lately and while they're all great in their own ways, I usually have a sense that Scotland is green with a grey sky and sort of always damp. Deadwater Fell is excellent at showing the contrast.
Until next time, everyone, cheers.