This is it, the finale of The Accident, are you ready to find out everything everyone has been hinting at lo these last three episodes? I sure am! Not that I'm ready to lose screen time with Sarah Lancashire, but am slightly mollified as I know Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley are on the way shortly(ish). Let's roll into the last episode of The Accident and find out what actually happened.
To sum up the first three installments of The Accident: an explosion and building collapse has come close to destroying a small town in Wales. Several people died, most teenagers exploring a protected worksite, but also the foreman in charge. There hasn't been any definitive information provided either way as to why the building blew up or fell down, but there have been indications.
Polly Bevan (Sarah Lancashire) curls the hair of best friend Angela Griffiths (Joanna Scanlan), reminiscing about old times and underwear.
When a scream from Polly's daughter Leona (Jade Croot) splits the air. Leona was the sole survivor of the accident and also perhaps the ringleader of the teenagers, so that's left a bit of a complex stew for people to mull over. Right now she's a terrified half-paralysed teenager and she'd like her mum, right now!
Polly is able to soothe her back to sleep, which she'll need as she's the first to give evidence today at the prosecution underway about the accident. Angela has those nightmares too, she tells Polly, who has a more pressing question on her mind.
Angela was part of the group looking to privately prosecute Harriet Paulsen (Sidse Babett Knudsen) Kallbridge Developments for the explosion/collapse, they asked Polly for her husband's computer hard drive. Not only is Iwan Bevan (Mark Lewis Jones) an abusive husband to Polly, he's also on the council and was the person liaising with the construction company about the project. Polly couldn't bring herself to betray her husband.
Angela wasn't ready to give up Polly as a friend, she'd already lost her daughter Mia. She does warn Polly that she chose the wrong side, she's sure they're going to win.
Polly looks like a stress cleaner like me (you'd think my house would be spotless, yet). She's scrubbing the oven when Iwan strolls in to drink out of the carton. I've noticed bits and pieces of this but now for sure: Polly and Iwan's house is quite large, innit? Compared to some of the other homes we've seen in Glyngolau.
Harriet Paulsen of the about-to-be-sued Paulsens wakes up for a bracing swim in the pool before heading to work to meet her new barrister Gareth Jarvis (John MacMillan) as introduced by company lawyer Laura Tucker (Ruth Madeley from Years and Years!).
Gareth's plan is to flood the jury with information, but he's not going to tell Harriet anything in advance so she can be affected by it like everyone else. Harriet asks if it's about likeability, Laura laughs at the thought of Harriet winning a popularity contest. They need to show that she's not a monster and was just doing her job.
Like, Nazis were just doing their jobs? Like that? I'm sure that's the implication.
Polly gets Leona ready for trial, reminding her how difficult testifying will be and that she can pull out if she likes. Leona wants to do this to help, she lost all her friends already and this is all she can give.
*Odd camera panning had us carefully watching her put on pink socks in close detail
The families walk through a gauntlet of media outside the courthouse, the lawyer for the families Philip (Adrian Scarborough) introducing Leona to Gemma Crabbe (Lu Corfield) who will be taking care of her in court today.
Oh! Now I understand: the families are NOT bringing a civil suit as I thought (and that you would see in North America), rather they're actually paying a lawyer to prosecute someone as you would criminally. How odd. Imagine if you could just do that?
Back to court: Leona is on the stand testifying to what she was up to that day. She did choose that construction site because it was important to her dad, ah. She did note the gas canisters (that were incorrectly stored) and tossed a lighter to her friend close to where the gas was stored and she didn't remember anything after that. Gemma is done withe Leona and hands her off to the enemy Gareth.
Gareth is quite gentle to start but doesn't waste any time putting the blood of the other children on Leona's hands, calling her a ringleader and asking if she felt responsible for their deaths. It gets much worse from there, she's left sobbing on the stand as Polly runs to help take her away.
As she's just so YOUNG.
Leona's dad Iwan entertains her with stories of minor crimes from his youth while Polly listens from the hallway as they bond. Iwan had wanted to throw Leona out of the house before the accident, she'd been dealing some minor drugs. In fact, marijuana is mostly legal in most places these days, but he still didn't want a dealer in the house and Polly had to intervene. He's been very proud of Leona since the accident, all it cost her was her friends.
So. Harriet was in a (bad) relationship with her assistant Tim Das (Nabhaan Rizwan) whom she used when she felt like it and treated like shite most of the time. He tried to help her by leaking information about the case to the press and was skewered by the company they both worked for. She's an awful person to be in a relationship with, and none too happy to see him at the hotel where she's staying for the trial.
She gives him a completely inadequate apology, but apparently it's enough.
We're back in court.
Tim is on the stand, but his brief meeting with Harriet was enough to bring him back onto her side. He testifies that Harriet knew nothing of the inadequate steel and it's usage in the building. Barrister Gemma is incensed. This is NOT what he told them previously.
Angela walks out of court with a "f***ing hell."
This was their secret weapon; they had all the records and correspondence, they just needed someone who would confirm that Harriet KNEW. And that was Tim and now that chance is gone. Their whole prosecution rested on his slim shoulders and he's fucked them over.
Ah. But it was Kallbridge Developments who deliberately placed Harriet in the same hotel as Tim, not the other way around. They knew he wouldn't be able to testify against her if he saw her.
Polly takes Leona for a stroll across the countryside, pointing out their past holdings (fathers play a significant role in the dynamic between Polly and Iwan) and then suddenly a heart to heart. Leona saw her dad beat her mother, she's trying to get along with her dad to make it easier for her mum. Polly was worried that Leona had seen the beatings, she's worried that she's normalized that behaviour for her daughter.
She should have left Iwan years ago, but she loved him. She still loves him. Complicated. This ties back into Leona worrying about the prosecution, have they lost now? Because as sure as those kids were responsible for being there, they weren't the ones that caused the building to fall down. Someone else has to pay for that.
Polly is resolute the next morning, greeting Iwan in the kitchen as he makes a big breakfast before testifying in court. She seems different today. Can she still access his harddrive to get the communications with Harriet?
Because he did something. He definitely did or knows something and Polly knows it. He gets up in her face when she says that, it's one of his methods of intimidation before shouting and punching her.
*They have a boarder staying with them, Martin Harris (Shaun Parkes) who saved Leona's life in the accident. I was immediately worried for her safety when he asked if Martin was about. He is not.
Polly explains it carefully: if he admits what he's done, Leona has a chance at living her life and making something of herself. If her dad's a murderer, she's done.
Iwan wants to know if she and Leona will really be allright if he gives it up, Polly sags in disbelief and dismay, her bluff has been called. She didn't know for certain that he was party to the wrongdoing, but now she does.
He tries to backpedal but she asks him, as an important man, to do the right thing. It's in his meaty hands now. He looks like a giant rage-filled toddler.
Polly gives Angela a heads up about Iwan possibly helping, their friendship will survive regardless. Angela vows to tell the truth about her daughter to the press and that's what she does. It's not just about the drinking and drugs, the rest that made her who she was.
Iwan is on the stand, he gives details of his work and salary before staring at Polly above, who is staring fixedly and resignedly at the floor.
Now everyone's looking at him, including Polly. Oooh and he has the goods alright, he has evidence that Harriet not only knew the steel was inadequate, she took steps to hide that fact from inspectors.
So it was Harriet, all along. She hides as much of her face as she can as the gallery gasps almost as one.
That's quite a lot to take in all at once, even as a casual observer. All along we've watched Harriet appear to be equal parts surprised and confused by the reports of sub-standard steel, seeming to care deeply for her part in the accident. Now we know she was calculating the odds at every step, stringing along her assistant so he'd go to bat for her, cover for her, anything she needed.
Polly sits with lawyer Philip outside the courthouse, he's able to lay out the next steps for her. Iwan will be arrested and will most likely serve time for perverting the course of justice. They will probably also win their court case.
Polly cries alone as Iwan is taken away by police.
The lone foreman on site was Alan Kethin (Kai Owen), he died and left behind a widow Debbie (Genevieve Barr) who has been isolated from the other grieving families due to the appearance of impropriety on Alan's part. He was supposed to have been storing those gas canisters incorrectly and that caused Debbie to be ostracized by the other families who lost their children. She walks past their shared gravesites to his, smiling for the first time in a long time. It wasn't his fault.
Harriet strolls into work, relaxed as ever, how will they be handling these new developments? Her boss Frank Stanfield (Peter Sullivan) wastes almost no time firing her. She tries to keep it together but snaps.
Harriet is found guilty in a court of law and sentenced to seven years in prison. She's alone and doesn't know what to do. Tim cries in the gallery, she cries for herself as she's taken away by the police.
Family matriarch Greta Collinson (Eiry Thomas) who lost a child in the accident has brought celebratory cigars for her and Angela, forget cigarettes! Debbie joins them for a solemn high five and a "f**k me that's huge" cigar.
Polly walks alone.
It's been two years now since the accident, Polly comes home with fish and chips for a night with Leona, who looks great! They both look great. Life is better. They're better.
Leona sits and stares out the window at the sun, but she's in her memories, back to that day. (I'm watching carefully to see if they messed with the canisters but the memory is over before we see. Fine) And we're out.
Cheers, everyone, thanks for reading along. The last episode has to have been my favourite, the first three were uneven for me but I was glad for all the Sarah Lancashire screen time regardless. Until anon, my friends.