Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bedlam: Season 1, Episode 2: Driven

So we return again to ghost central! And within 5 minutes of the episode starting I am given my reason for watching this programme – Theo James in a towel. What? I need something to encourage me to keep watching. Alas, Kate wants him to put some clothes on to do some handyman work... hmm... maybe a toolbelt.

Anyway, I digress. Molly's friend Zoe is still missing and Molly is going on blind dates, Kate is still sleep walking and hallucinating and being a not-very-pleasant person and Ryan's upset about his brother's killer coming up for parole. I dunno, not doing much but this episode follows the much distracted Leah (I don't blame it the 4 main characters of this programme don't exactly lead fascinating lives), another resident of Bedlam heights and Molly's new friend – who keeps seeing spooky tire tracks, ghosts in her car and spectral car trouble. Her car keeps breaking down but she daren't take it to a garage because it belongs to an abusive ex who has probably reported it stolen – if it goes into a garage, he can probably find Leah.

So Jed is looking for the ghost while pretending to fix Leah's car that its haunting – and Ryan is playing research assistant. And in their research they find there's a terrible thing in her past she's running from – and the deaths that are the real reason the ghost is pursuing her. And Molly's friendship with her is sorely tested with the revelation – as well as some pointed questions as to the reason for the friendship in the first place.

And, of course, there's the secondary question – what to do about the vengeful ghost, especially if, to some degree, you agree with the ghost's actions?

We learn more about Ryan's brother's death – and the full tragedy of it. How pointless it was. How malicious it was and how empty and meaningless it was. Not a crime of gain or passion or greed or even spite – but just empty, targetless, malice.

Social justicewise, there are still a couple of mental health jokes continue from last episodes – including an electro-shock joke that's really not funny from Warren – who is about as pleasant as Kate, his daughter.

I will say this for Bedlam, while it clearly has a very low budget, it is extremely good at creating a tense, spooky atmosphere with just a few effects – a song played, a stereo starting up that shouldn't, the sound of dripping water, a figure on a CCTV camera – even haunted satnavs. Even the death incidents – a seat belt that suffocates you, a necklace caught in the plug pulling you under water... the menace in the mundane is very well done. There is someone on staff who has a very good idea of atmosphere.

On the whole, the show continues to not bore me. I won't say I'm fascinated and eager to see each episode, but nor is it dull or enraging.