This week’s mid-season episode, “The Reaper”, is for the first time in the series a sequel episode, giving it the effect of being like an object at the apex of it’s trajectory: momentarily weightless and effortless, having done all the hard work of establishing character, setting and story, so by the time the credits roll it’ll be ready for the freefall towards the series climax.
On the side of Tenebrae, the MIO, or those caught in the crossfire, there are no new characters introduced in this episode, which may be another season first. This broadly means that the developing mythology of the show is also slowed down, but with the removal of Max (Christian McKay) and Captain Dance (Enzo Cilenti) in earlier episodes, we can also spend a little more time with figures such as Cyclops Silas (Tony Way), who has returned with his magical all-seeing, but hopefully not all-dancing, eye toad, and is used in a most dramatically and comically effective “now you see it, now you don’t” sequence; Fedora (Natasha O’Keeffe), who should be given her own spin-off show in which she does nothing but smoke in front of half-closed venetian blinds and offer withering putdowns to her nonplussed lackeys; and the severely underutilized MIO Agent Hannigan (Phil McKee) who, along with Sackler (Tom Rhys Harries), have been making the most of their time on screen, despite consistently being overshadowed by the overbearing personality of Bulstrode (Richard E. Grant).
Last week, I wasn’t too happy with Bella’s (Natalie Gumede) storyline being shoe-horned into the wider narrative; this week, she’s far more effectively deployed as a counterbalance to Jekyll/Hyde’s (Tom Bateman) fanatical desire to do the right thing, irrespective of who else it affects. Her last minute bait and switch with Bulstrode towards the climax of the episode not only epitomizes the duality of her existence on the fringes of society, but was also good fun, catching me out when I was too focused on other events…
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