Hi there, how was your holidays? Lovely! Mine were too, but I’m feeling a bit Guilt-y (ba dum tish! I have Dad jokes for days!) for not diving into BBC Scotland’s Guilt for too long a time. Allow me to make it up to you with a recap of the third and penultimate episode of the series, rolling after the break!
Quick recap of what’s happened so far: brothers Jake (Jamie Sives) and Max McCall (Mark Bonnar from Unforgotten! And Apple Tree Yard!) accidentally killed a man while driving and made the unusual decision to cover it up instead of turning themselves in (one brother is even a lawyer and presumably knows better). They doubled down on this iffy decision by one brother next choosing to start a serious relationship with the niece of the dead man. They TRIPLED down by offering to run an investigation and convinced the niece Angie Curtis (Ruth Bradley) to stay in town and country.
By the way, Angie isn’t at all who she says she is, she’s really a friend of the cagey next door neighbour Sheila Gemmell (Ellie Haddington) who is blackmailing the brothers with what she saw.
Also, Max’s wife Claire (Sian Clifford from Doctor Foster!) is having an affair with a woman from her spin class in a completely unrelated storyline. As for as we know.
On to the new stuff!
We open with Roy Lynch (Bill Paterson!!!! From Fleabag!!! It’s my favourite show of 2019) and a bottle of very good Scotch, meeting Victor Kuqo (Sylas Szabolcs) to discuss their money laundering operation in a beautiful room full of empty glasses.
On to Sheila’s house. She hangs a picture of her and the deceased Walter, smiling as we flash back to what happened when Walter died. After paying out large amounts to Sheila over the weeks leading up to his death, he also left the bulk of his estate to her. EXCEPT his record collection, which he left to his niece. Ahhhh and that’s why she enlisted the help of whoever Angie is, so she could get the estate settled.
You watch, we’ll find out that she actually killed Walter and the brothers just accidentally drove over his corpse.
The only thing is: why would this fake Angie be stirring the hornet’s nest about Walter’s death if she’s just there to sign papers for Sheila and hit the road? You’d think she’d keep her head down and GTFO at first chance. Interesting.
About that record collection, that’s most of the romantic language that passes between Jake McCall and Angie. For example, he woos her with talk of Roxy Music being bigger than The Beatles (I love Bryan Ferry but no way) but she’s not in the mood. He jumps into the uncomfortable conversation that’s been hanging over them, why was she working at The Highlands Bar in Scotland and not freshly arrived from Chicago as she’s been telling everyone?
A super unlikely story follows which Jake pretends to listen to, but even he’s not that soft. He prepares the ground for sharing his huge lie later on and they move on to discussing the finances of his record shoppe, which are handled by his brother. Angie and I are slightly incredulous to hear that he’s just not “into” his company finances.
That was an abrupt segue, but I’m pretty sure the money being laundered by Roy Lynch above for the formerly-communist-country is being washed at Jake’s shoppe via Max.
Private Investigator Kenny Burns (Emun Elliot, who is GLORIOUS in this role) is analysing CCTV footage outside Walter’s place again, last time he saw the brothers carry the dead Walter to his house through the woods but now we see Walter himself. What’s he doing in the woods in the dead of night? That supports Kenny’s supposition that Walter did not die of natural causes and instead was hit by a car.
*He was totally hit by a car, Kenny! We saw it!
Kenny spies Jake walking home and offers him a lift, but Jake knows the planet is dying! He doesn’t have a car, by choice.
*I watched an interesting documentary on recycling and it brought up how large corporations were able to skillfully lead us towards personal responsibility for overwhelming waste and ignore their own massive contributions.
A funny moment when Jake says he and Max don’t hang out that much, but they are now only because…Jake really is a dangerously open book for a murderer.
Jake’s earlier discussion about his books with Angie has piqued his interest enough that when his brother’s accountant comes by with more papers for him to sign, Jake wants all the in between pages too. Not just 5/7 and 7/7. How’s the business doing?
Kenny absolutely has the brothers in his sights as he continues his investigation, next narrowing down the bodyshop where Max had his car fixed.
*It seems that in Scotland every single bodyshop uses the same type of paper ledger to check instead of a computer like literally everywhere else.
Max calls his brother to bawl him out for not signing papers he doesn’t understand, but Jake wants to make plans for the future and wants to find out what he has to offer his girlfriend who just said she wasn’t interested.
Angie’s in the basement excavating medications when she gets a call from Max’s wife Claire, who needs to talk to someone about her affair. Angie just wants to know if she’s enjoying herself, but Claire is too consumed with Guilt to even process pleasure. She has this nice life that she can’t remember agreeing to, full of loneliness and things. She admires Angie, who she thinks hasn’t played it safe like her, Angie’s made decisions. Angie doesn’t think her life is a gold standard, she wishes sometimes she would have played it safe.
*In life, there is no playing it safe. You can think you’re safe, but nobody is, not really. Once you open yourself up to a relationship or family, you’re forever changed and at risk. All you can do is embrace it and hope for the best.
**And ahhhhhh! That’s how it ties in, the Guilt!
Earlier, Max borrowed 20k from a loan shark named Cameron (Noof McEwan – like on your birth certificate it says “Noof”?) to pay off neighbour Sheila who was blackmailing him. It is to Cameron that Max explains that Jake is out of the circuit and will not be doing anything untoward with papers any longer. Cameron warns Max that he does not understand the shape of what he’s into. Lovely and urbane Cameron is a “legitimizing presence” covering up the sooty backside of what is actually happening. Max does not want to see what’s on the other side.
Max heads off to see Jake at his record shoppe for an argument about how much Jake wants to know, which is everything. Lawyer Max suggests he maybe shouldn’t know.
Jake throws him out, he’s had enough of his shady brother and his slimy moves.
Well, maybe Claire wasn’t able to think about enjoyment earlier, but she sure looks happy in bed with Tina (Moyo Akandé).
That idea is literally keeping her up at night, she waits in an empty room before calling her lover to explain that she’s not brave and then blocking her number, which is a shite way to break up with someone.
Max has been summoned to a bar by Kenny, who’s done playing around and is ready to get down to brass tacks.
Kenny’s sure it was an accident when they killed Walter.
Max laughs and laughs and not even one person would take that as a natural expression of enjoyment. Kenny lays out his case, Max was arrogant enough to use his credit card to pay for the car bodywork.
This is not Kenny’s way of redeeming himself through excellent investigatory work, he does want redemption but across Max’s back. He’ll shop him to the police or he gets made partner, sounds awful to Max either way. Kenny’s got one more ace up his sleeve, he knows what kind of people Max deals with, and that he ought to be careful. Max is left with a big decision.
A bigger decision than he thought, even, with friends of Cameron picking him up and bringing him somewhere dangerous while Kenny follows.
Max is brought to meet Roy Lynch of the excellent Scotch, whom Max has been working for unknowingly. Hm, Jake’s shoppe is the registered legal address of 43 limited partnerships, wow! No wonder Max got jumpy when Jake talked about moving it uptown to a busier location. Especially since the laundering will be doubling shortly. Roy threatens Max with extreme violence just as one of his thugs finds Kenny and gives us a demonstration. Poor Kenny, he stumbled into the biggest investigation of his life and who knows if he’ll make it out the other side?
Now this is odd, one of the thugs who’s been bringing papers for Jake to sign has his very own story to be explained. I’ve never mentioned him before because while he has a unique look, he never spoke much or had a name or anything. He’s watching as Kenny gets beat up, taking a call from a crying Scottish woman.
Angie is a crying American woman, so it can’t be her, but she’s been collecting Walter’s meds from all over the house, there are so many that they can’t be all for him. We’re flashing back to her at The Highlands Bar meeting Sheila, who lays out her plan to settle Walter’s will.
Shelia knows Gordie (Tom Urie) the bar owner, so they sit afterhours, Sheila pouring on the soft soap first, then coin. She offers Angie 10 thousand pounds to pretend to be Walter’s niece (do we even know if Angie is her name? Or is that Walter’s niece’s name?) which Angie turns down flat. She’s not a criminal. Ahhhhh, Gordie is Sheila’s son and that’s the lever she uses on Angie. She can tell that Angie is running from a man, the money will be a good buffer between her and her problem. Angie agrees for 20 thousand.
Ohhhhh the guy I was talking about up there very much has a story! His name is Stevie (Henry Pettigrew) and he’s with the police. No wonder he looked like he was going to throw up when he saw Kenny. It must have been his partner who called him earlier, their lieutenant sends them out posthaste on a call.
Max heads to the graveyard, but Jake is already there. They must be at the grave of their parents, because we get some difficult family history. Back when they were young, Jake had a shot at a record deal as a musician. But their mother was sick and Max went on vacation exactly when Jake asked him not to, and the record shoppe was supposed to make up for Jake’s lost opportunity. Max being Max, he made that opportunity about him so Jake fully understands that there is no humanity in his brother whatsoever.
To be fair, Max did beg the mobsters to not hurt his brother, so there is SOME feeling there.
Max argues with Jake, he can’t choose Angie.
Jake doesn’t think he has anything to lose, he’ll take his chances. He doesn’t want to hear about how his brother got into financial trouble opening up shop in the middle of the recession and he doesn’t want to hear that he himself is in “proper trouble.” Once again, the brothers cannot call the police and now I understand why Max chose to not call in the death of Walter.
Angie confronts Sheila and her son Gordie at Walter’s house; she thinks she has it all laid out as to what Sheila did. She knows that Sheila was getting significant amounts of money from Walter’s chequing account, Sheila was also over-dosing Walter with his meds. Walter left a note for Jessie – his actual niece – in between the records so my question about names was totally timely!
*High fiving self break
Angie accuses Sheila of killing Walter, that’s what I said! Sheila’s had enough and warns Angie to go away now, but Angie’s not leaving without her 20k. Sheila’s not exactly trustworthy.
Sheila’s got the money from Max, so it’s handed over and Angie can go!
Stevie and his partner DC Nicola Bowman (Anneika Rose) arrive at the hospital to investigate their assigned complaint, it’s Kenny! Stevie tries to bolt, but no such luck as his partner’s all the way over covering for him all day.
*He also lost money on a game earlier, he’s a gambler of some stripe, perhaps what made him vulnerable to pressure from organized crime.
Tina was not happy with how Claire broke up with her, she shows up at Claire’s house in the middle of the day for a chat. My ears go up when she mentions Max, I doubt they discussed that in bed so that was a jarring note. Is she investigating Max via Claire’s private areas?
Tina warns Claire to not make any drastic decisions because of her, they were just having fun and that’s all. Says the woman who came to Claire’s house to say goodbye.
Claire was just so miserable and lonely, completely separate from a man who kept every single emotion or bit or information about his life from her that he could.
Gordie’s still processing what he heard at Walter’s house, but his mum Sheila is not about to entertain being called a murderer by her offspring. She shuts him down with what sounds like a threat.
Stevie stays out of the way while his partner interviews Kenny, who wants zero trouble with gangsters. He makes an excuse and heads back to see Kenny solo while I use all of my telekinetic powers to advise Kenny to run like the wind. He does not, but! Max is there in the hospital room visiting Kenny, who will live to investigate another day.
Sheila gets an unwelcome call from Walter’s lawyer Henry McKinnon (Michael Nardone from Rose and Maloney and The Night Manager!) who has received an email from Walter’s actual niece Jessie in Australia, not Angie from America.
Angie and Jake are both elementally truthful people, they both decide at the same time to come clean with each other.
Max makes a fateful call to his thug contact, handing his brother up on a silver platter for attack.
Sheila’s son knows even more than we do. Gordie knows this is the second house his mum has ended up with after a male acquaintance of hers has died. He’ll not emotionally support or help her any longer.
I want to see all the photos she has hanging on her wall, that’s what I want!
Ahhhhhh I was so right!!!! Tina is working for the murderously violent Roy Lynch of the good Scotch!
*High fiving break
She gets back to her apartment to greet Roy and one of his thugs and assure him that Claire knows nothing.
Jake walks alone in the night, picked up violently by hooded men as Max drives, protected for now by the sacrifice of his little brother. And we’re out!
Until next time, cheers!