After what probably will be the finest episode of Inside No. 9 last week we are back to something much more emotionally charged.
Possibly one of the most heart warming yet terribly sad stories since The 12 Days of Christine.
Sometimes you don’t need a twist, there doesn’t have to be horror or even true drama to make a story.
This time out the drama was so very real, the story based on a poor family who are just trying to make it to Christmas to have a good time and who are just struggling to get by.
We meet Trevor and Julia, two parents/grandparents just trying to get to Christmas and give their teenage daughter and 6 year old grandson a Christmas that they would enjoy. Saving back a little every week and just working hard for the simple things in life like most people.
Instantly you love them.
They are kind, they obviously love each other and they care greatly for the kids under their protection. Just normal family life happens during the majority of the episode too. Getting ready for work/school, homework, conversations on all sorts of topics… All set usually around the kitchen area.
Each segment is hidden behind a door to Connor’s Christmas Advent calendar, each day bringing something new to light.
Suddenly what looks like one thing kind of changes to another and we’re introduced to their son Patrick who is down on his luck, father to Connor, who turns out to bring a lot more drama with him then you first think. We revisit what happened on the lost day 9, and I only just realised that too, and end up with the question of what happened to the loan shark who was threatening him.
We kind of already know that one.
Whilst there was that undercurrent of a much more dramatic story I feel it actually really portrayed how people just cope.
It was so beautiful in its simplicity if I’m honest. Each day was only a minute or so long, each one was so important to look at and listen to. Even tiny little details like the family shopping at Lidls which in reality means nothing but was kind of a reminder that they weren’t spending loads of luxuries they couldn’t afford they brought cheap and in bulk and just carried on best they can.
Some of the saddest moments came from the non-dramatic stories too.
Mia, their daughter, wanting a certain dress for prom but her mum not being able to afford it so trying to make it just for Mia not to really like it. That moment where Julia puts the dress back on the wrapping paper, after seeing her work so hard even for a few seconds earlier in the episode, were heart wrenching.
There was a part of me that felt like The 12 Days of Christine was kind of over hyped, this one was so much more subtle and real that it hit me like a ton of bricks by the end.
The entire family were just nice, Connor was a sweet boy, Mia was just a teenager and Trevor and Julia very obviously loved them and each other very much. Even Patrick didn’t come over as a bad person, people end up going through bad times and that tiny conversation with Trevor telling Patrick that addiction was a disease made me cry.
It was honestly top class performance from Steve Pemberton and Debbie Rush who just made each and every scene, even the one where they were shouting at each other off screen, so magical. You lived their highs and lows with them.
Even a scene that seemed totally out of the blue when Alex, Reece Shearsmith, came around to talk to Trevor about missing his dead partner was so very sad. Alex had been in it once or twice but it didn’t matter because they had all made you care so much about their little world that it broke your heart seeing any of them upset.
Honestly one of the most beautiful pieces of TV you’ll see.