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

on Wednesday, June 01, 2011
'Psychoville' Series Two: 'Episode Four' // Words: Saam Das

SYNOPSIS: "Desperate measures are called for as Jeremy Goode (Reece Shearsmith) searches for the missing library book. Mrs Wren (Vilma Hollingbery) is in peril and only one man can save her. But will he be bothered?" (

'Episode Three' of 'Psychoville' proved disappointingly lacklustre but normal order was restored with 'Episode Four'. The episode had an excellent mix of wit, creepiness and (comedic) twists but notably, also gave us further insights into the overarching plot.

While the number of deaths 'Psychoville' has racked up has all but desensitised its audience, there were still shocks aplenty during the episode. And not necessarily in the context of horror either - the secret behind Hoyti Toyti was perversely humorous. See also: the line about Fred West's tuna, I genuinely felt bad laughing about that.

Perverse humour has been the forte of 'Psychoville' but there have also been pivotal moments of darker humour, more reminiscent of 'The League Of Gentlemen'. In this episode, the darker side of life was reflected by the disturbing behaviour of Hattie (Steve Pemberton) and Jeremy the librarian (Shearsmith). The scene with Jeremy stalking a dog and its walker was particularly ominous but was then subverted in a brilliantly opportunistic fashion.

'Episode 4' was oddly rewarding in terms of delivering minor tidbits of information, which will undoubtedly further connect in the remaining episodes of the series. We were provided with unexpected glimpses of the twisted beginnings of Nurse Kenchington and the Ravenhill institution, as well as a further insight into the people behind the murders committed by Mark Bonnar (who recently guested on 'Doctor Who').

We're still yet to discover the significance of the book (and the Silent Singer, to an extent, as well) that Jeremy is seeking but with the answers already in the process of being dripfed, I suspect we'll find out sooner rather than later. Now the challenge is to bring everything together succinctly and coherently - a challenge that Pemberton and Shearsmith rose to in the first series, and look well on their way to managing the second time round.

Watch 'Episode Four' on BBC iPlayer until 22:29, Monday 13 June 2011.

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