‘Marcella’ review: Episode 7 of Anna Friel’s ITV thriller is the best yet

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The penultimate episode begins with Marcella tied to a chair, ends with Matthew bound and gagged, and along the way kills off Bendek when a bit of solo autoerotic asphyxiation goes wrong (“Is it really better without air?” asks Laura).

Amidst this miscellaneous bondage is probably the best episode yet as we head towards the finale.

It is taxi driver Mo El Sayed who has tied Marcella to the chair.  He witnessed her moving Grace’s body and believes she killed his brother to silence him, and now he’s determined to get a confession from her.  She denies the murder but admits to having moved the body – which is intriguing because the last we knew she had no recollection of that night.

She also has no recollection of getting out of the chair.  The pre-credits sequence ends with El Sayed starting to cut Marcella’s neck to force a confession; but on the other side of the opening titles she wakes up free and alone.  The knife on the counter and the cut on her neck confirm she hasn’t imagined it, but she doesn’t know how she’s managed to get from A to B and still be alive.


Back at the office, and having waited ages for a suspect this week there are two for the police to deal with – and three for the viewers.  Yann’s performance at interview fails to match Marcella’s profile of an intelligent schemer, and she proceeds to discount the hair sample DNA that put him at the scene.  Having raised the possibility that Yann has been framed, his partner Matthew is the obvious candidate.

Sneakily, the character has floated around the periphery of the series so far without making much of an impression – and now that the police actually want to question him he’s nowhere to be found.  Matthew’s car is soon found abandoned at Dover, a trinket linking him to the last victim in the glove compartment.  All of which pretty much wraps it up for him being the killer you might think.

The only flaw in the case against him, as far as the police are concerned, is that he has severe back issues so would have been unable to move Grace’s body.  If that is the one stumbling block, Marcella may face a very difficult decision in Episode 8 – let a guilty man go, or incriminate herself?

MARCELLA 1 5 HARRY LLOYD as Henry Gibson.

For the viewer there is another flaw in the case, which comes in the final moments of the episode.  Henry Gibson is revealed to have several bottles of excellent champagne in a fridge in his cellar – and also Matthew, hands and feet bound with cable ties, mouth covered in insulation tape.

Is Matthew the killer?  Or Henry?  Or somebody else?  And for those who’ve been watching right from the start of episode one, we still don’t know how Marcella ends up in that bath.

So, a superb episode leaving plenty of questions still unanswered.  Let’s hope tomorrow night’s final episode is up to the job.

Aired at 9pm on Monday 16 May 2016 on ITV.

> Buy Marcella on DVD on Amazon.

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