‘The Tunnel’ Episode 8 review

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One of the chief criticisms of The Tunnel is that it’s always had a slight distance from the viewer; a standoffishness that springs from the story structure, never allowing you to properly immerse yourself in it in the way other crime dramas of 2013 have. Broadchurch turned each viewer into another gossiping member of the town; The Fall forced you to feel complicit in the crimes you were watching; What Remains brought out the Peeping Tom in us.

But The Tunnel‘s multifarious strands of plot, and the fragments of people’s lives we’ve been introduced to only to see yanked away an episode later, has left the impression that we’re being told a story about someone putting a jigsaw together. It makes it very difficult to point at the screen and shout ‘ooh, look, there’s a big corner piece of a clue!’

At least pieces are finally being put together. Connections are made and as the story coalesces so it returns to being as intriguing as it was in the opening episodes. The writing feels a lot more engaging all of a sudden. Whether it’s because of the introduction of stiff-assed Brit Andrea with her withering stares and ice-pick wit, or the mention of Barry Gibb’s resemblance to a lion (we thought it was just us!), but we found ourselves sitting up in our seats, paying just a little extra attention. Especially at the mention of the alarming-sounding ‘cock ring with anal intruder’.

After the attempted arrest of chief suspect Fabien Vincent becomes a real coq-up, the Gallic caricature of a young David Warner goes on a runner. He kidnaps Elise, purely to clear his name and prove he’s not the Truth Terrorist. Turns out he’s just a different kind of crazy, and part of some failed mysterious covert affair that aimed to keep the Eurozone stable, ‘Operation: Peloton’.

So if he’s not TT, who is?

The Truth Terrorist is Kieron Ashton, an ex-colleague and thought-to-be-corpse of Karl’s acquaintance, whose wife and child were killed in a car crash that also involved recently explodified reporter Danny ‘Haddock’ Hillier. And Karl also probably fucked his wife. Well, he tends to do that, doesn’t he?

But wait a minute, that smoothie that Laura’s been talking to couldn’t be Kieron, could he? Well of course he is, the devious swine. He’s a master of anonymity. Just as he’s been posing as ‘Becky’ and instant messaging with Roebuck’s son Adam for the course of the whole series (c’mon Adam, you never heard of Skype!?).

Suddenly all the corner piece clues are in place. It seems that the Truth Terrorist doesn’t just have a grudge against the Eurozone, but also a Roebuck-sized chip on his shoulder. A country-spanning jigsaw mystery has just become a very personal drama, and The Tunnel‘s become all the better for it.

Aired at 9pm on Wednesday 4 December 2013 on Sky Atlantic.

> Order The Tunnel on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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