I can't sleep, so what's a better choice than to recap the Scottish comedy / mystery / thriller Guilt in the middle of the night on a Monday? Nothing, that's what! Especially since we've got Mark Bonnar mugging the whole time. Let's roll into Guilt S1:E02 without further mucking about!
To catch up: last week we met the somewhat estranged McCall brothers who accidentally murdered an elderly man while they were under the influence and spending rare time together. They've been joined at the hip since, one brother going so far as to start a relationship with a relative of the elderly man he and his brother accidentally murdered. Max McCall (Mark Bonnar) is a flash lawyer bastard, soulless and calculating. The other brother Jake (Jamie Sives) is a musician with too much soul, he's the one who was driving the car that killed elderly Walter. Jake's dating Angie Curtis (Ruth Bradley), Walter's niece, for a bit of a topper.
Now! We open to mournful country music playing over the mostly deserted vista of the Highlander Hotel.
*Fun fact: did you know that one of Canada's favourite country music singers is a Scottish crooner? Johnny Reid has been a huge draw here for ages, even if that's not exactly what he does.
Gordie (Tom Urie) sets up the pub for business, hanging a Help Wanted sign without context and we're on to our series leads.
Max McCall (Mark Bonnar) has a confession to make. Not to a priest or person of authority or indeed, anyone of the legion he has wronged. Rather, he's doing his level best to wind up the private investigator he grudgingly hired to help find out what happened to the elderly man he and his brother murdered. Max chose P.I. Kenny Burns (the glorious Emun Elliot) to help Angie because Kenny's going through a bit of a rough patch. He's a (very) recently recovering alcoholic drowning in the pit of despair located at rock bottom, far away from his wife and family as they've thrown him out.
Max confesses that he saw Kenny's estranged wife making out in the driveway with a strange man on.the.way.out, then tries to feed Kenny cheap vodka disguised as lemonade as a kicker but Kenny is resolute. This is New Kenny and he is here to stay!
Max is somewhat less than ecstatic.
Max's wife Claire McCall (Sian Brooke from Doctor Foster!!!) is having her own completely removed storyline as she waits for new friend Tina (Moyo Akandé) at spin class. You know when you click with a new someone of the same gender and you identify as straight but then the other person says they're not and you pretend they're going to be the one crossing the line but you know you're all of a sudden more invested in this new friendship than perhaps your relationship status and identified sexual orientation says you should be? It looks like this.
Angie and Jack play records and blow my mind with musician history. I knew that Sam Cooke was way ahead of his time, but I didn't know he was assassinated OR that his wife married Bobby Womack or that his daughter married Womack's brother. What a tiny little incestuous world! I listened to a lot of Sam Cooke as a teenager.
We're here to watch Jake and Angie flirt and develop their relationship, she tries to give him her uncle's records but he encourages her to stay which is the exact opposite thing his brother Max would like. A knock on the door draws Angie away and Jake quickly digs out the photo he found marked "my darling niece." Do you think this looks like Angie?
Because Angie doesn't have any of those freckles now, but does she have brown eyes? Jake texts Max, who's not at all far away. He's over visiting Sheila Gemmel (Ellie Haddington). You remember Sheila!
Max clarifies it for Sheila, whose eyes he's sure are "shot to pieces."
Solicitor Max is no match for Sheila, who wants and will get 20 thousand (dollars? Pounds? Euros? Pounds sterling, according to The Google! They're lovely!) from Max. He just has to find a way to get it without his wife finding out.
Max gets Jake's text and heads over to meet him at Walter's, where Kenny the investigator is holding court. The thing is, Walter was dying of cancer when Max and Jake murdered him, they were able to stage his house to look as though he'd died of natural causes but then there were these paint flecks from Max's flash car on Walter's legs. Kenny has submitted the samples for analysis and Angie has decided to delay her trip home to Chicago, USA, until she finds out what really happened to her uncle.
Max heads home to explain the bribe money missing from the joint account to his wife; he's really an awful liar for a lawyer.
So that's not going to work.
While Angie is investigating her uncle's death and by extension Max and Jake, Jake's been checking her out as well. Zero social media thanks to a controlling ex-partner, that is a bit odd. It's difficult to have nothing online about oneself.
Max stakes out a bunch of kids for an unknown reason, then confronts Sheila with what he perceives as her "evidentiary deficit" and declines to give her anything. She smiles, so we know she's got something!
Jake and Angie flirt some more over records in his shop, but first there was an odd moment where he signed documents without reading them. We just learned from Max's wife that Max has been handling the bookkeeping for Jake's shop, I give you ten to one odds that there's something hinky there.
Jake slaps down the picture of Walter's niece on the counter, Angie really looks nothing like that picture. She plays it off as years of development and bullying, asking to take the picture after to burn. Uh huh.
Back to Claire! Who's doing her level best to keep things light and connected with her crush Tina, but Tina's not got time for that. She texts Claire her address, what she meant about liking women is that she likes women like Claire. Claire does not process this forthrightness quickly enough for Tina, who says goodbye while Claire tries to figure out what she's going to do.
What she's going to continue to do, for starters, is lie to her husband Max about Tina texting her and her enthusiastic response. She says it's Angie she's smiling over, which adds to his unease. Max and Claire's marriage does not appear to be a happy or close one, but he offers to make an effort the following night. We'll see. Five Canadian Tire Dollars says he misses that and she visits Tina instead, although that would be as predictable as a sledgehammer.
More excellent vinyl music plays as Angie brings up an issue with her uncle's money, apparently quite a lot of it went missing right before he died. She implies that it might have been Max...which Jake slaps down casually.
Interesting that Angie is going so hard, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. It's hard to tell if Jake is "managing" Angie or she's managing him.
Oh ho! The kids Max was staring at previously work at the lab where the paint samples were sent and one of them (I thought she looked a bit like Sheila the neighbour's granddaughter or something) just stuffed the sample into a sharps bin.
Kenny can't understand it. Labs have misplaced or compromised samples before but they don't just disapparate into thin air. He's meeting with Angie at Walter's house with the brothers; Max wastes no time blaming Kenny for the loss of this critical line of investigation. Angie's distrust of Max is now painfully obvious, she challenges him well past the border of politeness. Well. It's not like she's Canadian or even English, we'd probably rather roast our own knuckles than openly indicate we think someone might be lying.
*I routinely apologize to servers and fast food workers who have gotten my order wrong, as an example.
Angie needs a bit of time away from Jake as well, she sends him with his brother so he can gloat about how he solved "the Angie problem." Max is much more astute than Jake and seizes upon Angie faking her identity and drags them off to see Walter's lawyer Henry McKinnon (Michael Nardone) to see what information he has on Angie.
Not much, it turns out, but there's an interesting comment from Henry about how Max's practice started out with a smaller hint about Jake not taking care of his own financial records. We're being drawn to think that Max is even shadier than we first suspected.
Kenny had advised Angie to not stop looking into her uncle's death, he seems to be taking his own advice as he spies on Walter's neighbours. In specific, he's watching the man with the cameras, who's glued together Walter's gnome that the brothers broke so they could ask about his video cameras.
That might sound difficult to follow; Max and Jake broke one of Walter's gnomes so they could ask the neighbour with a security camera to look at his tapes. It turned out that camera was a fake, but this neighbour does have some kind of camera set up somewhere.
Kenny's spotted that reassembled gnome of Walter's, it's curious. As is the security camera.
The brothers have a bit of a showdown at the top of a hill in view of spectacular scenery; neither one knows much about the other's lives. Jake is loyal and broke, Max is slippery and rolling. Max tells Jake to make Angie leave, I am pretty sure Jake's not going to want to do that, and I don't know if it would work anyway. I'm not sure she trusts him any more.
Kenny's a smart cookie, he finds the camera in the neighbour's house, now to find out if it shows anything incriminating!
Speaking of incriminating, guess who got a DVD in the mail from a "sweet little old lady" and isn't going to be able to make the dinner plans he made with his wife? One guess! It's the same tape Kenny is now watching with the neighbour, but it's tricky to make anything out. It doesn't appear to be HD. "Oh yeah, that" supplies the neighbour helpfully.
Max tries to figure out how incriminating this tape is while ignoring his wife's calls over and over. I have a feeling Tina is going to reap the rewards of Max's inattention and broken promises to his better half.
Angie pores through Walter's bank records, it looks as though Walter gave all his money away in the months leading up to his death. To whom? To his good friend and neighbour Sheila Gemmel of the blackmail tape.
Max walks very stylishly to a seedy payday loan operation to get Sheila her money.
Mostly great scoring on this show!
Max gains entrance to the back of the back of the seedy payday loan shop and gets the 20 thousand no problem and no questions asked. Cameron (Noof McEwan) has never seen Max scared before.
Max and Sheila discuss the details of their arrangement; the twenty thousand only covers her. Max argues that nobody can see anything in that tape, Sheila counters effectively.
She's going to get that 20k. It's almost beautiful when she does, it's as though he's handing her his burdens, putting them down as they're so, so heavy.
That was unexpected and gorgeously done.
The Negotiation With Sheila has me wondering; if she was able to get that tape from the neighbour hiding on disability, was she blackmailing Walter with something she saw too? By the way, Sheila wastes no time calling Angie, who doesn't answer.
Claire waits outside Tina's apartment barely breathing, saying sod it and running off to be called back by the lady herself. Claire was just in the neighbourhood! Thought she should say hi! But she doesn't think she should come in.
When Max gets back to his office, Kenny is waiting with his invoice and some questions. Max lies about talking to any of Walter's neighbours, there is no way Kenny is giving up on any of this.
Tina and Claire start slowly, but they are very much in motion.
Max destroys the copy of the DVD with scissors, pity there's another copy out there. You can only tell that there are two men wandering around, but that's not nothing. That's two men together lots of times, like Max and Jake, questioning the neighbours and all.
The man that had Jake sign some documents at his records shoppe pops in with said documents for Max's review, this is noted by Kenny who is sitting in the lobby looking as though he's waiting to see exactly that. The documents are to do with the UK Revenue Agency, looking as though Jake signed the last page of his tax return without having the rest to look at.
Max has positioned himself as the destroyer of worlds, the man in control but he is so very tired on this day without end, still at the office while his wife tries not to cry next to her sleeping lover. Claire sneaks away from Tina while Max finally checks his phone and sees the 13 missed calls from Claire.
They talk in their dark kitchen, Max begging for a chance but Claire's eyes full of all the things she can't say except "it's too late." She's less of a warrior now that she has something to feel bad about, she's as tired as he is, they agree to stay in and move on.
Kenny's following the money in the form of the man with the documents visiting the brothers, but he's doing it so obviously I can't see him not being jumped shortly.
Jake and Angie are on the outs now, something indefinable has separated them from their initial infatuation. He calls, but she doesn't want to talk (perhaps why she didn't answer the phone earlier) so he cuts any small talk and tells her about his life as a musician. He thought he might make it, once, but he got scared but meeting her makes him feel like things might work out. He'd like her to stay.
She hangs up with a curt "Yeah. I'm staying." She's much more like Max than Jake, hey?
Jake isn't as sold on Angie as he would like to be, he notices the name on the matchbox she gave him. Why would Angie be visiting the Highlander Hotel in Pitlochry? He searches online through the images of the pub, finding one of Angie as the lady herself rings Sheila Gemmel's doorbell.
Ahhhh a quick flashback shows us that Sheila knew Angie from that pub, did they collude to have Angie pretend to be Walter's niece for the inheritance?
It certainly sounds like it. When Angie says she's not going home until she finds out what Sheila has done, Sheila just smiles that little smile.
But then Angie cries in the middle of the street, staring into the night. What? That doesn't sound like a coldblooded Rob An Elderly Person You Bastage crime when you cry after. Hm.
And so we're done for today, I'm sure there is much more to be learned yet! Cheers, you lot.