BBC One’s Requiem
Episode 3: “The Necklace”
Directed by Mahalia Belo
Written by Kris Mrksa
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Blue Room” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Blaidd Carreg” – click here
Skip back to 1994. A woman named Natalie Franken (Nicola Reynolds) leaves her daughter Trudy for a moment at the playground, asking that she looks after little Carys Howell (Emmie Thompson). Mom’s over at a phone booth having what looks like an awful conversation. Trudy wanders off to play with some boys in the woods who’re lighting the legs of their pants on fire with lighter fluid. Just long enough for Carys to disappear.
In present day, Trudy (Sian Reese-Williams) is quite an unhappy young woman, living at home, working at the pub – going through the motions of life, not really living. Meanwhile, Rose Morgan (Claire Rushbrook) can’t stop thinking of that day back then in the woods, when she spoke to that man with whom she was photographed. So, who was he exactly? Doesn’t help that her husband Aron (Richard Harrington) thinks she’s losing it and wants her to see a psychiatrist.
At the big house, Matilda Gray (Lydia Wilson) is examining the necklace; she believes the man in the woods, Sean (Sam Hazeldine), is her father. Of course, Nick Dean (James Frecheville) suggests she ought to be careful instead of blindly listening to “some random weirdo” in the forest. But she’s insistent it’s probably a direct link to the Howells, Carys, and the past.
On his farm, Royce Evans (Charles Dale) finds a whole herd of his sheep slaughtered in the field – their guts are torn out, blood’s splattered all over the place. There’s also a noise in the woods. Royce’s dog can’t stop barking into the wilderness. Something is out there; or someone.
Matilda wakes up after a nap and hears a little girl crying upstairs. She follows the sound to a bedroom where she sees a child underneath the sheets, tossing and turning like they’re having a nightmare. But it’s only a weird dream of Matilda’s, anyway. PC Graves (Clare Calbraith) then stops by to bring Ms. Gray in to the station – Mr. Morgan has alerted the police to the fact Matilda is “stalking” their family, and the little boy at the school. Oh, my. This cocks things up proper.
Stephen Kendrick (Brendan Coyle) is brought in – he was investigating the disappearance of Carys. He wants to see the necklace and know more of Matilda’s story. Then once he hears her out he says none of it’s actually true. She insists she met Sean Howell in the woods. Again, nobody believes her. Now she’s at risk of getting arrested should she get too close to the Morgan family again. Kendrick does ask that, should she see Sean again, she contact him; he might believe a few things after all. Curious if it could’ve been Kendrick in the woods talking to Rose that day? Is there a secret between them?
At a room in the local pub, Hal Fine (Joel Fry) is all but going totally insane. He keeps hearing the humming from that tape. He hears music, as if being divinely – or sinister-ly – inspired. He jots down as much of the notes as he can decipher to stop from slipping off into the deep end. When Trudy hears about Matilda’s supposed claims of being Carys this also ignites her own troubles, especially with Mr. Fine kicking around the place. She’s wondering if the little girl she knew all those years ago is still alive. Perhaps, for her, it’s a matter of hope.
Rose is deteriorating mentally, too. She comes across Matilda in town and berates her for harassing the family. Matilda talks about her very isolated family life with her mother, no other people aside from the two of them. But there’s clearly something in Rose that believes, or wants to believe. Nevertheless, she urges the woman claiming to be her long lost daughter to leave the village. That evening, her husband takes their boy away, fearing she’s going mad.
What’s the whole connection between Aron and Ed Fenton (Dyfan Dwyfor)? They’re hiding something. Only question, for me: how dark is it?
Meredith Dean (Jane Thorne) is barged in on by Matilda, looking for answers. The young man does notice a picture, which has a bunch of familiar faces such as Rose and others in the village. She finds out from Meredith that Rose wasn’t working the day Carys disappeared, yet we know the little girl was being taken care of by Natalie. And old Ms. Dean, she secretly lets her visitor know there’s danger. She also offers to meet with her alone tomorrow without servant Carl (Oliver Lansley) around.
Later, Sylvia Walsh (Tara Fitzgerald) tells both Matilda and Nick that this Welsh village is special; right back to the druids, people have moved there because the “soil‘s richer” and the “milk tastes better.” Sylvia also explains that the symbol they’ve seen around – hermonus hieroglyphica – was created by John Dee, an alchemist, among other things, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth. His son Theodorus Dee came to the village to “continue his father‘s work.” What did he accomplish, I wonder?
Hal rushes to tell Matilda about the musical notes he wrote down. He’s found out that it’s from the 1920s, intended for “ceremonial use,” written by a supposed aristocratic Satanist and a lecherous sort. But for now, they’re also heading off with Trudy. When they stop, it’s at an old rundown house. Trudy takes Matilda inside – it was the Howell place. She knows quite a bit about Carys, right down to physical details; some of which match Matilda very well, yet nothing definitive. Eventually, after agonising over memories, Trudy admits to feeling guilty, but also remembers her mother was in a mess that day, too. Plus, she believes Matilda. Although her father tells her to leave it be. So much mystery, everywhere.
When Matilda goes to confront Rose about her not having been at work the day Carys disappeared, she finds the door of the Morgan house wide open. She and Hal go inside, where they come across a messy scene, photographs of the former Howell family happy together. And it’s obvious nothing good’s happened. They find Rose in the bathtub overdosed and drowning. Matilda’s able to resuscitate her, then they get an ambulance.
News comes that Meredith died. Or was she silenced? Now whatever secrets she was hiding are gone. That night, Matilda’s sent a copy of her birth certificate, as the supernatural seems to continually swirl around her.
We also see Trudy remember a moment, the night when Carys first vanished – her father came home, throwing clothes in the washer late and asking her to keep it between them. Oh, lord. There are so many secrets, everybody’s hiding something.
What an episode. The mystery’s so good, and we gradually see more of the story as time goes on instead of a ton of exposition getting dropped on us every so often. Really love the writing, and the lead performance by Wilson is SPECTACULAR!
“Blaidd Carreg” is next. From Welsh, this roughly translates to ‘stone wolf’ in English; something along those lines. Food for thought.