After a strong first series and enjoyable Christmas special, Alexander Vlahos’ Dorian Gray is back for a new season of adventures, kicking off with his horrific tale courtesy of writer Gary Russell and director Scott Handcock. It’s a nice twisting of some of the central themes of the series as heard in the stories to date, and a throwback to the original Oscar Wilde story, both in its set-up and Dorian’s solution to the problem.
There are a few moments which may throw you out of the story slightly – in particular a couple of sound effects which are described before we hear them, which feel oddly tautological – but there’s an escalation of tension as Dorian and the daughter of an old friend reunite and investigate a mystery. Russell plays fair with the audience; all the clues are there if you listen carefully so Dorian’s deductions don’t come out of nowhere. The denouement picks up on the established situation regarding the state of Dorian’s self-esteem, and the reasons he is like he is; how much he’s learned from his earlier experiences remains to be seen.
Verdict: A strong opener, with great performances from Vlahos and Katharine Mangold. 8/10