As the finale opens, to the soothing piano intro of Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken, two suited execs are getting ready for a big day, their car full of sinister equipment. It’s an intelligent directorial touch typical of a series that has always tried to wrong-foot, to surprise.
Against a backdrop of Roarton’s annual winter fête and Orange parade-style march, Simon, Gary and Maxine are all preparing – in parallel – for their own missions. And while our undead protagonist Kieren is spurned by his family – their scenes are genuinely upsetting – his “best dead friend forever” Amy is rediscovering her vitality…
If this is the end, it’s an appropriately potent climax, full of tension, tragedy and emotion. In its short life span, the series has grown. It has matured. It deserves to live.
Having bought 100 acres of Peruvian rainforest in order to protect it from illegal loggers, Charlie Hamilton James now has a terrible dilemma on his hands.
He’s discovered that the impoverished family who originally owned the land is still cutting down trees there. If he stops them, he’ll be responsible for depriving them of money to pay for their children’s food and education. In any case, they’ll probably simply move their activities to the Manu National Park.
He then spends two weeks with local men working in extraordinarily primitive conditions illegally panning for gold, a process that causes massive mercury pollution. He goes through agonies as he ponders both situations, constantly changing his stance because he realises he, too, exploits the environment: “To purely photograph wildlife presents the world in an optimistic bubble, a world that’s better than it actually is.”
There’s a fine line between being audible and mumbling, between noirish and outright leaden. In this episode Quirke drifts well over the line, with a story paced so slowly that at times it hovers in the air like cigarette smoke, just vaguely diffusing in the atmosphere.
Our hero has had a rough time of it since his beloved sister-in-law Sarah died, sliding into drink more deeply than ever. And by the time he has dried himself out, another mystery presents itself: a friend of Phoebe’s has disappeared, the daughter of a distinguished Dublin family, and no one knows what has become of her.
Colin Morgan plays (rather well) another disreputable male friend and Flora Montgomery stars as a glamorous theatre actress who floats into Quirke’s orbit.