‘Psychoville’: Series 2 Episode 2 review

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Now that it’s been firmly established that more people than you might have expected survived the events at the end of Series 1, things are settling into the routine (well, as routine as it ever gets around here) of ensuring that this time round, no-one is safe from a grisly dispatch as the hunt for the mysterious locket becomes ever more desperate.

You get the sense that the over-reaching story arc may not have even been touched on yet – the locket may be a huge MacGuffin – while the new characters for this series are obsessed by their apparently unconnected concerns. Hattie is beginning to take her fake marriage far too seriously (suggesting that she may well attempt to consummate events in a future episode), while Imelda Stauton is doing a good Judi Dench job of almost stealing the show while being in a handful of scenes.

Speaking of which, there’s a very special guest appearance that should delight… well, the sort of people who are likely to watch this series. That it’s presented without fanfare, or precious little importance makes it all the more sweeter. Meanwhile, in the foreground, a Very Special Thing is being passed from one character to the other, hinting at who may be the next victim.

As ever, there are very funny gags that sit the mundane surprisingly comfortably with the macabre, including a great sequence involving the perils of attempting to obtain your Wiccan spell ingredients via an online shopping service, and the suggestion that the boys are now no longer merely referencing 1950’s television characters, but actually using them as backstory.

Biggins (as we must now call him) makes an important and revealing appearance. In it, he comes across as vain, brutish, and snide. It’s a credit to him (and the rest of the team) that this doesn’t in any way appear as acting, even though pretty much every other character is out for themselves. In that, Psychoville represents people at their worst – selfish, stupid, and greedy. And if nothing else, the boys manage to prove that little old ladies swearing are always funny.

Airs at 10pm on Thursday 12th May 2011 on BBC Two.

> Order the Series 2 DVD on Amazon.