So now we know. Or at least, we know something.
After the shocking end to Episode 7 it was all but certain that Henry Gibson has been behind it all – and episode eight quickly confirms it, with Harry Lloyd superb as Henry going just a little bit American Psycho.
Henry’s use of “how” instead of “why” in conversation is enough to put Marcella on his scent, and by the halfway mark of this final episode the killer is cornered in his lair in a real ‘edge of the seat’ sequence which sees Jason brutally stabbed before Marcella arrives on the scene.
In an episode full of memorable moments perhaps the most shocking scene is when Marcella regains awareness after her latest blackout. She finds herself sat watching Henry bound and suffocating in front of her, a plastic bag over his head. For just that moment we try to make sense of Marcella being the real killer… until it becomes apparent that she is as shocked as we are at what she has done. Or nearly done, because on this occasion she is able to revive the victim.
The last time of course was young May in episode six, and it’s fitting that she ends up providing the vital proof of Henry’s guilt – having framed ‘best friend’ Matthew so well and organised his own aliases so carefully, Henry is on the verge of being released when Marcella matches the bite mark on his shoulder to May’s teeth.
There at least we get a definitive conclusion – even if some of the details are a little vague, it’s clear that Henry is the serial killer. As detective Tim tells Marcella, “he confessed to everything… except moving his sister’s body.”
Ah yes, moving the body. There’s no doubt after her confession last week that Marcella took Grace’s body to Hampstead Heath. We know ‘how’ – but ‘why’?! Covering her tracks, believing she had killed Grace? Or protecting Jason, thinking that he had?
The question is, does it matter? For me, it seems entirely appropriate that the viewer knows no more about what happened during her blackouts than Marcella does herself. As the episode draws to a close, with the killer in custody and the case solved, Laura asks “Am I ever going to know what happened at Henry Gibson’s house?” Marcella’s reply is, “Not at any of the houses.”
Unquestionably there are lots of things left very much unexplained. But if we dig a bit deeper, I think it’s all in there somewhere. It’s up to the individual viewer whether they enjoy having to make the effort to join the dots, or whether they hate it.
In this digital age a good story is one thing – but good ratings are quite another. I hope that we’ll see another season of Marcella – if the figures are good and if an audience is there, I’m sure we will. Quite ‘how’ the story will continue I don’t know, but at least we’ll know ‘why’.
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 17 May 2016 on ITV.
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