Bedlam Episode 1.03 Review


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What’s in the box? CONTAINS SPOILERS

Writers: David Allison
Director: Alrick Riley

THE ONE WHERE Jed bonds with female tenant and fellow former mental patient who’s haunted by a) memories of her stillborn baby and b) a ghost (well, this is Bedlam ).

VERDICT Bedlam seems to be paralleling the recent series of Primeval , in that the show’s arc plot is fast becoming far more interesting than each spook/dinosaur of the week shenanigans. The ghost plot this time is fairly perfunctory without even a glimmer of a twist, all leading to a damp squib of a climax. Having said that, Sadie (Lily Loveless) makes a memorable guest character; it’s great seeing her rattle Kate’s cage, and her relationship with Jed, as they bond over their shared experienced in institutions, are rather touching.

It’s the ongoing plotlines that really intrigue, though, as Ryan and Jed make more startling discoveries about Bedlam Heights’s history and force Warren to take some extreme actions. Once again, Ryan and Jed make an endearingly odd and unlikely pair of detectives, and it’d it be great if they could have more screen time together, and the writers gave them some dialogue that wasn’t 80% exposition. There’s potential here for a great grudging-admiration partnership; the show should capitalise on it.

Warren is turning into a bit of a moustache twirler, but Hugo Speer plays it all with such gruff relish you really don’t mind. He comes across as a genuinely dangerous man to be around. Kate, meanwhile, seems to be suffering some kind of supernatural intervention that’s amplifying all her less attractive character traits, which may not make her a nice person but certainly makes for good viewing. Shame she didn’t strangle Krod Mandoon, though.

But two weeks in row now we’ve had ghosts haunting Bedlam tenants who have had some kind of similar life experience. Is this going to be the show’s formula? Tenant with shady past exposed by spook with a cross to bear? Hopefully not, because that could become repetitive and hideously contrived after a very short while.

If the show could come up with some more interesting ways to treat the spook of the week storylines (and it’s early days yet, so they’re still establishing the basics), then this show could easily step up to the next level.

Oh, and is is just me, or was the most unsettling image of the episode that diagram of a frontal lobotomy?

IT’S WASSERFACE The mad old lady is played by Rita Tushingham, star of The Smiths record sleeves and famous for her groundbreaking role in 1961’s A Taste Of Honey .

FININACIAL CRISIS We don’t think much of Kate and Warren as business tycoons. They’re apparently selling Bedlam Heights as luxury apartments, yet so far in the series most of the tenants we’ve seen don’t exactly seem to have highly-paid jobs (if they have jobs at all). How low are the rents on this place?

Kate: “I think Jed’s big enough and ugly enough to fight his own fights.”
Sadie: “Why make it a fight? Why not try showing a bit of empathy?”

Review by Dave Golder

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.