Requiem – Episode 4: Blaidd Carreg
Starring: Lydia Wilson, Joel Fry, Joana Scanlan, James Frecheville, Claire Rushbrook, Brendon Coyle, Sam Hazeldine
Director: Mahalia Belo
Writers: Kris Mrksa
Reviewed by Sidney Morgan
This review CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
Requiem has just passed the midway point of the season, and there certainly wasn’t any kind of mid-season slump. Quite the opposite in fact. At the end of the last episode, one person was dead, and another was recovering in the hospital. The villagers are upset, even angry and blame Matilda for the events that are happening. And though she hasn’t gone out of her way to cause any problems, it’s now clear that she’s the reason for them.
Trudy, the only person who’s come out and told Matilda she believes her to be Carys, is looking for some kind of redemption to free her from the burden of her guilt. Trudy decides to help Matilda. She tells her that for PC Graves or Stephen Kendrick (Brendon Coyle) to believe her and investigate. She will need proof that links her to Carys.
To be honest, there is one way this can be done and really could have led to an early resolution to the question, and Trudy even suggests it. Why not have a DNA test? Bam! Problem solved. Given the show is set in present time, it shouldn’t be a foreign idea. For someone who is obsessed with finding her origins, I was surprised she simply brushed aside the idea. True, the story would have been different as a result. Instead of running around trying to determine who she is, the focus could have been on the ‘why.’
The writer must have been aware of this problem as well, because after Trudy mentions the DNA test, a change of direction occurs. Though Matilda continues to interact with Trudy, she begins to spend more time studying the symbol Sylvia had identified as a devil worshipping one. Conveniently enough, Matilda finds a book on the floor, opened to the exact page that discusses this symbol. Coincidence? Or supernatural occurrence? Either way, Matilda continues to witness strange occurrences, and they’re now more aggressive.
After her breakdown from last episode, Matilda wakes up in Nick’s bed with a strange symmetrical rash on her upper chest, which Nick naively believes could be the result of her shampoo. But she can’t remember how she got there, nor what she did the previous night. And there are her visions (or memories, it’s not clear). They don’t make any sense to Matilda, nor the viewers. Yet.
Finally, there’s an interesting exchange between Laura and Matilda in which Laura claims that when Carys disappeared, she heard a voice tell her things about the girl. Though it landed Laura in a psychiatric hospital for some time, Matilda determines there was truth to what she said. All these clues seem to point to a struggle between good and evil. The evil is represented by devil worshippers, though their identities haven’t been revealed. As for the good? That’s even murkier. A few people appear to want to help Matilda, but their motives are still suspect. Then again, is it possible that there is no good and that evil has already prevailed?
There were no outstanding performances in this episode. It was evident that Claire Rushbrook’s emotional presence was missed. The real performance is the story itself. There’s a pressure cooker feeling, and there’s no relief valve. Characters are beginning to crack. It’s unclear what the end result will be. However, the collective desperation exhibited is unlikely to lead to a positive outcome. And, as the sun rises in the east, desperation leads to stupid decision making.
Part of Matilda’s drive is understandable, but part defies normal curiosity. She is fully aware that there are some strange, even supernatural disturbances in the house, enough to frighten most people. She’s been warned to leave town enough times to pause and wonder. Yet, she still decides to try and communicate with the haunting presence. What follows are a series of questionable decisions and actions that can only be explained by a need to move the plot along. Unfortunate, really.
The show’s appeal is in part due to its horror content. The noises, visions, music, symbols, mansion and its tight spaces to name a few, all help set the mood. When they are in play, the show excels. Although there are strong emotional performances, it’s the horror that defines this show. But for the first half of Blaidd Carreg, this week’s episode, it was missing. And without any outstanding performances, the show’s quality dropped a bit. However, the second half returned with strong horror elements.
Verdict: Continue to Watch.
Assuming that the mystery will be solved, there are only two episodes left! With so many questions left, I can’t wait to see how it will all be resolved, even though part of me worries it might not end well for Matilda. Only one way to find out!