Inside No 9: To Have And To Hold. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Nicola Walker, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Miranda Hennessy, Magdalena Kurek, Tom Mulheron.

To Have And To Hold…whatever the price may be; many things in a marriage are acceptable, the long hours, the obsessions over a hobby, debt, the odd white lie, flirting and even the boundary that comes with it is not necessarily the worst thing can break a soul; in richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, we promise to do just that, hold.

Sickness though comes in many forms and in true Inside No 9 style, the fourth episode of this particular series is one that goes beyond the macabre and beautifully gruesome, even the light and tremendous. It is a story that gets inside your mind and makes you feel the damnation of those who stoop to such actions, whose sickness compels them, who drives them to deeds in which we would never normally contemplate.

It is also an episode that focuses perfectly on the little habits that make compulsion such a twisted and entertaining beast; the surrender to the minute, the watchful eye of the jigsaw puzzle, the tell tale signs in which any spouse would normally be wary of and by directing the viewer’s eyes to the side show of Steve Pemberton’s character, his painstaking work with newly married couple’s wedding photographs, his reluctance to leave the house for long periods, his diminished sexual appetite, it draws away from the motivation behind it all and when the reveal comes it is one of glorious terror.

With Nicola Walker adding pensive, down trodden femininity to the equation as Mr. Pemberton’s character’s wife, this is very much an episode that draws upon the writer’s strengths and his own ability to bring out the very best in himself as an actor; one that is unsurpassed at acting normal but hiding the most gruesome of secrets.

To Have And To Hold…some secrets are best kept locked away.

Ian D. Hall