Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Colin Teague
Mitchell: “You’re letting me go?”
Lia: “Well, as punishments go, it’s pretty cruel and interesting, isn’t it?”
And then there was Lia. Note to Mitchell, really pay attention the next time your basic instincts kick in and you go on a mass murdering spree. It was pretty damn obvious that Lia was going to be revealed as one of Mitchell’s victims, maybe even obvious that she would be one of the tube station ones but boy, didn’t this episode have a lot of fun getting to that point?
I’ll keep the praise to Lacey Turner to a minimum but needless to say that in her first role, post EastEnders, she did a great job here. Equally matching Aidan Turner well for the majority of her scenes but also adding a much layered performance for a character who could’ve easily become one note.
Lia’s anger towards Mitchell’s inability to recognise her was nicely played. Underneath all the joking, flirting and recounting some of his past kills, Lia was playing her own little waiting game and given what Mitchell had strayed into purgatory for – Lia certainly had plenty to mull over with him.
The reveal of the victims was nicely done, especially with the deliberate contrasts. Mitchell had gone merciful on Arthur when killing him but his generosity didn’t extend to poor Sally though. Then again, Mitchell does have something of a history for mixing sex with violence, so the whole parallels between both Arthur and Sally weren’t that shocking after all.
What was shocking was Lia to an extent. Not only did she get Mitchell to finally drop the victim card but she also promised him death by werewolf in exchange for Annie’s release. So, within the next seven episodes, Mitchell’s a dead man walking and while there are two other candidates, I’m not ruling out the possibility that either George or Nina could also be the ones to kill him as well.
What I found really sinister about Lia in this episode however was the glee during her scenes with Annie. I mean, there was a certain level of malice when she was telling Annie that she and Mitchell were fated and the stuff about playing the long game. For someone who hasn’t been dead for very long, Lia is a lot more versed in ghostly stuff that she ought to be, isn’t she?
Still, I should concentrate on some temporary positives – Annie’s back and it seems that she and Mitchell are going to be a couple. It’s hard for me as a viewer to not care about that, given their dynamic and I certainly got a laugh out of her reaction when she had discovered that they had all moved to Barry, Wales. It’s just too bad that Mitchell has left everyone in the dark about Lia’s dark omen. I don’t know what he thinks he’s going to achieve with that.
Speaking of achievements, it’s pretty damn interesting that Mitchell, George and Nina were able to come up with the cash for the B’n’B so quickly as well, especially given that none of them are exactly flush but while I’ll miss the Bristol location and that house, I think I can get used to the Hawaiian paradise of their new digs.
It was also nice that while a large section of this episode was dedicated to Mitchell’s mission to save Annie, that George and Nina also had their own storylines as well. Nina was the one instrumental in Mitchell’s mission and it was also up to her in preventing George from killing an innocent person as well when the two of them weren’t able to get any action.
I had to laugh at George getting mixed up with a group of doggers and then getting arrested for it but I also did fear for a tiny moment that he was going to end up killing Bob when they were locked in the cell together. It’s a bloody good job that Nina’s an excellent liar, otherwise, the whole gang would be leaving Wales rather sharpish now, wouldn’t they?
Also good was the whole fact that in spite of the near fatal antics with their transformations that both George and Nina are in a happier place as a couple. They both said their ‘I love yous’ and even had werewolf sex, which I’m glad we didn’t really get to see. Who needs overwrought angst when you can just settle for a couple actually being happy on a TV show and still be interesting as well.
Even more interesting are the father/son werewolf duo of McNair and Tom. On one hand, I am more than delighted that vampire Vincent’s fight club antics are over and done because I wouldn’t have wanted that in any more episodes but at the same time, are these two friend or foe?
McNair doesn’t seem to particularly care for vampires (and why should he when they kidnap him and force him to fight humans?) but I’m not sure if it’s the same for Tom. I did love Tom’s reaction upon discovering George to be a werewolf and it will be interesting to see all four werewolves interact later in the season but at the same time, it also can’t bode that well for Mitchell either though.
Also in “Lia”
Much as I love the fact that this season has episodes titles, I have to wonder – why now? Why didn’t Toby Whithouse do this when the show first started?
George: “I thought this was exactly what you wanted – a place of our own?”
Nina: “Yeah, but this isn’t, is it? It’s you, me and Count Dupree upstairs.”
Nina was the one who told Mitchell that Sean Hancock’s death had to be dignified. Wow, a nurse on TV behaving professionally. Awesome.
McNair (to Tom, re werewolf movie): “Even old people are weird now.”
Mitchell (re Sean): “Is he even Jewish?”
George: “It doesn’t matter. His body’s let him down, medicine’s let him down. It’s a gesture of sympathy.”
I was kind of expecting to see the men with sticks and ropes in this episode as well but I guess that will be a later development. Also no sight of Daisy, Cara or Herrick, though none were needed for the plot this week.
Lia: “I’ve always been lucky, you should rub me. I’m serious, rub me.”
Mitchell: “Do you know who I am, Lia?”
Lia: “Oh, that’s nice, toilet talk. I’m missing Countryfile for this.”
Mitchell: “Is this a joke to you?”
Lia – simple facts: she’s 22, was sitting at H-12 when she was killed, had a wheelchair bound relative, a younger brother she adores, a peanut allergy, an ex-boyfriend with a tattoo and she wanted to be a vet. All of which was dropped in at different points without feeling intrusive to the plot.
Mitchell: “Why are you bringing me to these places, to punish me? Is that it?”
Lia: “You chose the door. Next time pick one where you’re building an orphanage on the other side.”
George: “We can’t be together. We’d killed each other.”
Nina: “We don’t have a choice.”
Other interesting actors in this episode were Robson Green as McNair, Michael Socha as Tom and Paul Kaye as Vincent, though the latter was dispatched pretty damn sharpish though. Oh and Kai Owen as the overly friendly dogger, Bob.
Mitchell: “I don’t know what I can say.”
Lia: “Don’t say anything because every word that comes out of your mouth is a fucking excuse. It’s misdirection.”
Lia: “Why did you come here, for Annie or for you?”
Mitchell: “For Annie.”
Standout music: I have to say “Who Let The Dogs Out?” for the sheer inappropriateness of its use in this episode but the score music is really stepping up a notch as well.
Annie: “What happened to you, Lia?”
Lia: “A very bad thing. It’s okay. We play the long game here.”
Annie: “In the company of horrors, I learned about friendship and loyalty, sacrifice and courage. Humanity isn’t a species, it’s a state of mind, it can’t be defeated. It moves mountains, saves souls. We were blessed as much as we were cursed in this little enclave of the lost; I witnessed the very best of being human. We were safe here while outside, the monsters prowled.”
Chronology: Four weeks since the events of Mitchell and Daisy’s train slaughter.
For an opening episode, “Lia” was a bloody bold and confident way to open things up. While it’s hard to say that Season 3 won’t suffer from the same problems that occurred in the second season, what can be said is that the writers are certainly giving us what will be a rather busy and explosive year ahead.
Rating: 9 out of 10.