Requiem – Episode 5: Bessie
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 SOME SPOILERS.
At the end of the last episode, Matilda had the bright idea of trying to communicate with the ‘angels.’ Enlisting the help of Sean (Carys’s father), she tried to listen to what the voices were saying. Another blackout and the scenes cuts to Matilda investigating that special room in the mansion, confirming what Laura had told her. Nick joins her and asks about the blood covering her hands and clothes. Though she says it’s not hers, she doesn’t know whose it is (a not so subtle hint that something may have happened to Sean Howell). Fast forward to the beginning of this episode, and Matilda is back in the room looking closely at the drawings on the wallpaper. Suspecting they were drawn by Carys years ago, she’s particularly intrigued by one specific symbol.
With only two episodes remaining, there needs to be some answers. Definite ones. Is Matilda Carys? What did happen to Carys? Why all the secrecy? To assist in getting these answers, Hal figures prominently in the episode. After seeing the birth certificate Matilda received a few episodes ago, he confronts her with the information. Of course, she refuses to believe it, claiming it’s a fake. Hal, determined to end this nightmare she’s put both of them in, takes matters into his hands. He heads to Manchester as it’s where Matilda was apparently born. But when he gets there, he makes an unexpected discovery.
Meanwhile, Matilda brings Laura back to the mansion to get her to try and communicate with Bessie. Remember that Bessie was the being who ‘spoke’ to Laura when Carys went missing. Nothing came of it then, except a lengthy stay at a psychiatric hospital. And a deterrent it wasn’t, as she’s more than willing to help again. After making her way to the room, sure enough, she hears Bessie. And it’s foreboding. But it’s also incomplete so Laura can’t fully make sense of the information. Nonetheless, Matilda does get one clue, a word. Unable to decipher its meaning, she turns to Trudy for more help. And this only covers half the episode!
In Bessie, there’s a shift in the horror trope. For the first half of the show, Requiem had a haunted story feel, with eerie music, moving curtains, an old mansion, birds that flew far too close, unexplained noises and the appearance of mysterious symbol. However, now it feels like a demonic possession movie. Most of the unexplained phenomenons are low rumbling voices that appear to be whispering something in Latin, giving Requiem more of a Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen mood, with a sprinkling of The Witch. But there’s no mistaking that the show is still a true horror one.
Many of the characters from the first four episodes show up in Bessie. Kendrick, Sylvia, Aron, PC Graves, Ed, Trudy, Hal, Nick, and Lloyd (though Rose’s presence is sorely missed). It all points to something that’s going to happen soon (there is only one episode left…). The suspense is skilfully sustained, and if you happen to bite off your fingernails, you wouldn’t be faulted.
Verdict: A definite watch.
In this penultimate episode, the pieces have lined up for some event that’s going to happen. With all those omens and warnings though, I fear that it won’t end well for Matilda. Let’s just hope that the story will end on the same level of quality we’ve gotten accustomed to from the first five episodes.