TV Review: Psychoville (2011) Episode Five [BBC iPlayer]

on Wednesday, June 08, 2011
'Psychoville' Series Two: 'Episode Five' // Words: Saam Das

SYNOPSIS: "Surreal comedy series. With danger mounting and few witnesses left, Tealeaf (Daniel Kaluuya), with the help of Peter Bishop (Jason Watkins), tries to solve the mystery of the locket. Things don't quite go to plan." (

Building upon the return to form exhibited by 'Episode Four', the penultimate episode of the series of 'Psychoville' set up a tasty finale - by way of its own shocking ending. I'm not actually quite sure which characters are still alive, with 'Psychoville' exhibiting a kill count in (less than) three hours of television that Jack Bauer might be proud of.

'Episode Five' was less about the deaths and more about the duos - from the delusional Hattie (Steve Pemberton) and her "husband" Shahrouz (Elyes Gabel) to the Sowerbutts (Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, the serial killing and somewhat incestual mother and son. But it was the duo of Mr Jelly (Shearsmith) and his ageing assistant-of-sorts, Mrs Wren (Vilma Hollingberry), that particularly caught the eye this week.

Mr Jelly is one of the most popular characters inspite of his grumpiness - or perhaps because of it? Yet his mostly hidden, caring nature has come through a great deal in the most recent episodes. Considering Mr Jelly's obvious disaffection for much of humanity, his care of Mrs Wren is particularly heartening.

Indeed, the oft-ridiculous dynamic between Jelly and Wren has overshadowed Maureen and David Sowerbutts, despite the latter duo facing a cancer plotline that could have (and possibly should have) been more touching over the course of this series. Not that the Sowerbutts didn't have their moments in 'Episode Five', with a homemade game of serial killer Top Trumps being one such highlight.

However, the Sowerbutts' storyline has fizzled more than it popped this year, especially in contrast to the first series. Instead, the gauntlet has been taken up by new characters such as the disturbingly creepy librarian, Jeremy (Shearsmith), who we discover has connections to Ravenhill. I mean who hasn't really? Judging from Imelda Staunton's continued off-kilter (and now quite annoying) cameos, her character was there too.

The final scene of the episode sees another new character, Hoyti Toyti owner Peter Bishop, reveal an ulterior agenda in one of the darkest moments of either series. We should have seen it coming. Perhaps you did. I know I didn't. And I'm actually glad. I hope to be taken on a rollercoaster of twists and turns in the series finale.

Watch 'Episode Five' on BBC iPlayer until 22:29, 13 June '11.

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