Review: Edge of Darkness Episode 2: Into The Shadows

‘Into the Shadows’ takes its title as its structure. The entire episode is nothing but Craven stepping further and further out of his established routines and, in doing so, discovering even more about his daughter and what she’s been hiding.

There’s a lot of thematic movement for him here, and it’s interesting that this is the most formally we ever see Craven dressed. He spends a good chunk of the episode looking like Jack Regan’s grumpy northern counterpart; shirt, tie, slacks, standard issue police raincoat. There are some interesting overtones to that too; Chandler’s mean streets and Craven leaning on the trappings of his job as a coping mechanism are just two of them.

But it’s where Craven goes that tells you just how much he’s off beam and how he gets there. For all the immediate and incalculable grief of Emma’s death, this is the episode where you can see the load settle across Craven’s shoulders. In the space of under an hour he discovers his daughter was an eco-terrorist, she was massively irradiated and that there may be an illegal Plutonium production facility under the Yorkshire Moors. To make matters worse, James Godbolt is complicit in its running, Craven is being followed by at least one private security group and both British Intelligence and the CIA are very interested in getting to know him. Also his daughter is still dead and, judging from the look on his face throughout, he has no idea whether to be relieved or horrified it wasn’t his fault.

There are three conversations that Craven has this episode that set his course and that of the series. The first is with Emma’s lover, Terry, played with fantastic, caffeinated twitchiness by a young Tim McInnerny. Ostensibly going to his house to collect Emma’s things, Craven soon finds himself in a terribly British verbal fist fight with Terry. Both have been kept away from each other, both men are only just starting to realize what Emma was doing and both are still stunned by the sheer horror of the situation. They have a lot of common ground but it’s the ways they differ that incite the conflict. Terry is self-righteous, preening and as left wing as they come. Craven looks like a 1950s police recruitment poster. Both are too British to make the argument overt, so Terry takes huge glee telling Craven how good his daughter was in bed. Craven, in return, implies her last words were begging Terry to stop and that he’s a prime suspect. Neither is fully in the right, or wrong and both are pushed into the grey areas of ethics by Emma’s death. The surprise is that Terry is the braver of the two. He writes a single word on a mirror, AZURE, and Craven suddenly gets a better idea of what’s going on. It’s a police term denoting surveillance and the moment we find that out, Terry’s twitchy, guilty demeanour shifts. He’s watched, under threat and somehow still finds the courage to tell a man he has no reason to trust where to start looking. It’s an extraordinary, often overlooked performance and the scene clenches with tension and frantic implication.


The second conversation follows immediately after this. It’s much quieter, much shorter but its implications reverberate around the series. Craven leaves the house, berating Emma for her choice of Terry. We hear her respond, just as she did in the first episode, and then, without the shot breaking, she’s beside her father.

Emma Craven is dead. Emma Craven is on screen and her appearance in this episode is what the entire series hinges on. There are four separate possibilities; Emma is a ghost, Emma is an externalization of Craven’s socratic dialogue, Craven is insane or Emma is a representation of something else. We’ll explore those in detail over the next few weeks but, for now, the most important thing is her appearance here and what it means. Her father is grieving by not grieving. Emma is dead, and Emma, like Banquo, has no intention of leaving the feast. After all, there’s so much for her father to do.

This is odd, but familiar ground for Craven. His conversation with Terry is, superficially at least, copper and suspect. His conversation with Emma is, again superficially, father and daughter. Both of these have enough trappings of his old life to keep him at least fairly at ease. His conversation with Darius Jedburgh is not even a little familiar as the Texan CIA agent drives a Cadillac through the looking glass, throws Craven in the back and rides off whilst singing Waylon Jennings.

Jedburgh is a masterpiece. Joe Don Baker plays him as an overly articulate Hoss, a man who very carefully projects exactly the image people want. He’s big, brash, completely charming and utterly without subtlety. Jedburgh is a bulldog of a man, charging straight ahead at Craven with so much charm you almost miss how clever he is.

Jedburgh knows exactly who Craven is, what Emma did and, as we find out later, may have been much more involved than anyone thought. He’s a pile of implications and hints in a great suit and a better hat and his role in the story changes more than once. Here though, he’s a fully automatic Falstaff, a man whose relentless joy for his life and his work is the perfect counterpart to Craven’s minimalistic, formal grief. The two men are the Janus mask the second half of the series is built around; the grief-stricken father and the guilt-ridden clown and everything their relationship becomes is laid out here. The only question is whether Craven getting the ‘Time of the Preacher’ lyrics right is significant or whether Jedburgh lets him. And, as usual, Jedburgh isn’t telling. He doesn’t need to either. As the episode closes, Craven isn’t just going off the beaten path, he’s running headlong towards the truth. Like daughter, like father, regardless of the consequences.

 

Edge of Darkness is on BBC4 at 10pm on Mondays.

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