The Deep – Into The Belly Of The Beast (S01E02) – Episode review

Cast of BBC One's The Deep

Tonight’s second episode of The Deep continued submerging the viewers in a dark and twisted plot. We’ll get spoilery in just a minute (that’s advance warning, readers), but first a word of praise to the BBC drama department.

The Beeb are leading the field in UK drama at the minute. Think about it – The Deep lives up to all those promises of a cinematic experience. Ashes To Ashes had a wonderful finale this year, Doctor Who held its own and was joined by a decent (but not entirely faultless) re-imagining of Sherlock. I can’t think of any other channel in the UK that has provided such quality of drama over the last couple of years. So, hats off to Auntie Beeb on that score.

You can tell where this review is going – tonight’s episode merely inched the story forward. We got some answers to existing questions, sure. But the mystery deepened. What was Clem’s wife involved in? And who was behind the ransacking of Clem’s house? The discovery of the Orpheus crew by two Russians led to an uneasy truce between the two parties, and events above the water seem to be taking a sinister turn – as digital records from the Hermes expedition have been deleted. Somebody – possibly somebody with a beard on the monitoring ship – is covering the data up.

At its most basic, The Deep is about an exploration team stranded under water. The simple fact that they’re under 2,000 feet of ice without power is terrifying enough. But imagine discovering an enormous, undetectable vessel under the water and tie that into the tragic demise of the last expedition crew. It’s a chilling storyline. Now with added Russians, the very sinister Raymond (who I thought for sure was going to kill Vince tonight – and who could blame him?) and the question of how the Orpheus crew can restore themselves to the surface.

Is Clem’s wife the key?

I thought the episode was beautifully top and tailed – it began at Clem’s house with a pre-recorded video message he’d arranged for his daughter. In the video, he references Maddy, so we know that it was recorded before her death, possibly even before the Orpheus went out. As if to reinforce that, the scene flicks to Clem stroking the hair of his dead colleague.

The end of the episode returns us to the coastal house, and Clem’s mother and daughter discovering the house is wide open and the upstairs office where Clem’s wife worked has been ransacked. What we know is that the wreckage of the Casper is inside the submarine I’m going to call the Volos. I think that’s what the Russians called it. So many delicious questions spring from this – did Clem’s wife survive? Is she involved? Did she fake her death? Or was the module simply recovered after she died? And what was she researching that necessitated such a severe cover-up? I could go on…

Just one thing though – if you’re a granny and you bring your granddaughter home to discover the front door wide open, and you suspect the burglar’s still in the house, don’t bloody go inside! Seriously, go to a neighbour’s house and alert the police. Don’t put yourself in danger, grandma.

Other mysteries…

There are other emerging mysteries. Who are the Russian guys, and why aren’t they injured or affected by the virus/whatever’s killing people? They both have military background, one more deadly than the other. But they seem to be out of the loop as to what’s happening, so we’re unsure whether to slap a friend or foe label on them right now.

And Raymond. My guess is that he’s still a sinister character. And is it possible he’s in league with the bearded man on the monitoring station? Both seem to be ahead of the curve – Raymond knew that the vessel was Russian, hence the Russian phrasebook. And the bearded man seems to be responsible for the missing files that would shed light on the Hermes expedition. My feeling? They’re in cahoots.

So far, so very good. And with the previews of next week’s episode, I have to consider this must-see TV. Whenever a series has me fervently guessing what’s going to happen and how the characters are inter-related, it’s essential viewing. Might it even be better than the mighty Sherlock revival?

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