The sense of evil becomes ever more pervading in this middle part of Stephen Volk’s adaptation of Phil Rickman’s novel, with Lol making uncomfortable discoveries about Rowena as Jane is becoming increasingly embroiled in his charge’s life, and Merrily fast reaching the conclusion that she is not suited for the task of deliverance minister – much, she believes, to Huw Owen’s satisfaction. Once again there are some strong moments both within the supernatural side of the drama and the domestic – the row between Merrily and Jane ringing bells with many parents of teenage children! – and the central theme of the series (how far will you go in the love for your children?) is raised in a number of different places.
There are further very creepy scenes – the prayer between Huw and Merrily in the desecrated church is bad enough (and David Threlfall’s performance is magnificent) – but it’s the ending that could well haunt your dreams, as it did mine! The combination of Volk’s script, Anna Maxwell Martin and Oengus MacNamara’s performance and Richard Clark’s direction produces a truly terrifying sequence that is all the more shocking for its location, and what it suggests about the way in which Denzil Joy has got inside Merrily’s head.
Verdict: Tonally spot-on, this is perfect viewing for a dark and stormy night… 9/10
And look out for an interview with producer Phil Collinson coming early next week