INSIDE NO. 9, 4.3 – “Once Removed” (TV Review)

Image result for inside no 9 once removed

BBC Two – Tuesday 16th January 2018 – 10pm

Created and written by: Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith

Directed by: Jim O’Hanlon



Christopher Nolan’s intricately-assembled head-scratcher Memento meets black British comedy in Inside No. 9‘s inventive latest instalment, a murder mystery which starts at the end and works backwards in chunks of ten minutes at a time. By the end start (?) of “Once Removed” the scenario is clearer, the loose ends tied up and nobody is quite who they first purported to be.

“You killed Mrs Fulsome! You have no idea how this is going to affect the asking price!”

Moving house, we are reliably informed, is the 32nd most traumatic activity on the stress scale. That ranking surely rises when your live-in father (David Calder) suffers from dementia and thinks he’s Andrew Lloyd Webber? (“Close every door to me!” he laments upon learning his offspring are leaving the country.) But May (Monica W1A Dolan) and her husband (Shearsmith) aren’t actually even related to the delusional ‘playwright’. In fact, they aren’t even married – and they don’t even live in the farmhouse! Fortunately for them, the Handle Me Gently removal man (Nick Moran) doesn’t ask too many questions – at least not until a dead body (Emilia Fox) falls out of a rolled up rug!

With every reversal of the chronology, the set-up shifts dramatically and my note-writing became evermore sprawling and nonsensical; every sentence written with such astonishment they ended with at least two exclamation marks!! (<– See.) While a fair smattering of dark humour meant that “Once Removed” never quite hit the poignant highs of last week (read my review of “Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room” HERE), the creativity on display here is sublimely ostentatious. Only one plot point felt like it stretched credibility to breaking point (think Kevin McCallister using his TalkBoy to outwit the Wet Bandits in Home Alone 2 and you won’t be far off), but otherwise episode 4.3 of this diverse anthology series is a brilliantly bombastic bloodbath.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 4-stars

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