Reading when you don’t know the vocabulary

•January 20, 2022 • 18 Comments

Who loves his eBike?

•January 13, 2022 • 4 Comments

Richard Armitage and Michael Roskam race their environmentally friendly electric bikes behind the scenes at Berlin Station, photo originally from November 2015.

This is kind of old news now, but in December of last year, the new German government was formed, [ETA} the so-called “Ampel” coalition of SPD (red) — Bündnis 90 / Die Grüne (green) — and Union (black). (It’s already having problems governing, as new Chancellor Olaf Scholz can’t get an internal consensus on vaccine mandates, but anyway.) There was a “fun report” from that day, which reminded me of our discussion of Richard Armitage’s bike preferences and the revelation that Daniel Miller was riding a FREYGEIST ebike (price back then: about $4400 USD — but it seems to have gone out of production and the firm’s instagram hasn’t updated in about five years).

This was the report: new German Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir rode to his official installation as minister with his ebike! Özdemir is cool both as a representative of the Greens but also as the first German federal minister of “Turkish immigrant background” (he was born in Germany but his parents were both originally Turkish — Germany does not practice ius soli). He comes from the “realo” wing of the Green Party and he’s been kind of a party darling. I remember he fell out with the party years ago about his desire to arm parts of Northern Iraq, but in general he’s a poster child for the kind of Germany that forward-looking people like to see.


The AP reporter tweeted this photo of a news program.


Back to bike ride: Essentially the ministers had to travel from the former Reichstag, now Bundestag, building, where they had just voted to establish the government, to Schloß Bellevue, where the Federal President lives and works, to take their oaths and receive their certificates of office. All the other new ministers went in their limousines but Özdemir took his bike. It’s only 1.5 km, and as with most national capitals, traffic is congested and there are a lot of one-way streets. He beat everyone else there, and I gather, somehow messed up the security arrangements.

According to Bild (yes, questionable source) Özdemir was riding a Bavarian bike: the CUBE Crosshybrid, which costs about €2100. When he’s not riding it, he locks it in the bike rack right in front of the Bundestag. When asked why he took his bike, he responded that it’s healthy, and also that he gets places faster.

Which reminded me of this much-beloved song of the 1990s. Only connoisseurs ride their bikes, and they’re always there faster.

This is the song:



And here’s a version with English captions.



[sigh]. I miss biking!

Flashbacks to Berlin Station setting frustration

•January 12, 2022 • 9 Comments

This article about how viewers who know feel about the apparent geography of Stay Close made me laugh in sympathy.


The Silver Jubilee Bridge. The cinematographer has a thing for this bridge on the level of my obsession with Richard Armitage’s thumb. 


But I remember listening to Olen Whatshisname go on about how “this is Berlin you will recognize” and then being crushed when I saw how they played fast and loose with Berlin geography, rushing seriously wounded characters to the most inconvenient possible hospital and so on. I was truly homesick for Berlin at that point, and it really was aggravating. Stay Close skeptics, you have my sympathies (and some of your tweets about the need for Satnav are hilarious).

Speaking of this general region: yesterday in “intro to philosophy” I was talking about harm reduction and whether it can be defined as utilitarian, and during the preparation I learned that one of the pioneering programs in harm reduction was developed in Liverpool / Merseyside (in the general region where Stay Close was filmed). Too bad Harry Sutton couldn’t have benefited. But the plot was convoluted enough as it was.

Is anyone else alienated? [Stay Close spoilers]

•January 10, 2022 • 17 Comments

Starbucks (I’m a gold member, or however it’s called now) just emailed me a message to watch this, with the subject like “Did you like Stay Close on Netflix”? I’ve always had my security controls relatively high on my computer, so I don’t get a lot of “directed at me” ads, and I always opt out of direct mails from companies I’ve purchased from. Long-time readers will remember that I despise being treated as a market.

And I’m almost done with Starbucks; I was a regular (like five days a week) until the pandemic, but the closing of the storefronts made the drivethroughs unusable and nowadays when I need an actual café, I’ve discovered another one that better meets my needs (this is a long story; I became a Starbucks regular in Tampa primarily because it was open late and I could camp there, but I wrestled with that for a long time). And since June, I’ve been able to work at home. I miss people watching, but it’s not the season for that.

It would be one thing if this came from Netflix, but apparently Starbucks and Netflix are now cooperating. Uch. Time to cancel Starbucks. I’ve already turned off all direct marketing from Netflix (it was pointless anyway; they recommended either things I had in my list or stuff I would never watch in a million years).

So, I don’t like this kind of marketing. I don’t like Richard Armitage asking Harlan Coben marketing questions. I don’t like them sitting in a room together unmasked. I fast forwarded through most of it (Harlan Coben, Nicola Shindler), hoping I’d get something from Armitage on the creative process, but it was crumbs.

One thing I did learn: the whole Kayleigh / Carlton Flynn plot was pasted on to the novel. That does explain a few things.

Richard Armitage, you do NOT have to do this stuff.

Long after the thrill of living is gone

•January 9, 2022 • 17 Comments

HL called me late last night, half in the bag. He said he’d just been to this party. I knew he was going to go, and he invited me, but I have no desire to go that party, ever. I think, two years later, that party was where dad met Flower (did I blog about that?), but I never wanted to go, even since then. I’m happy to let HL inherit the family invitation.

HL called to tell me I should have gone because at least a dozen guys had told him a nice story or neat thing about dad. I do think this is pleasant when it happens. He said, “I remember them all being a lot younger.”

But apparently he also talked to Flower’s son. I haven’t seen Flower since the last time I darkened her door, a little over three years ago. I called her and her son about dad’s funeral, but when I didn’t get an answer I left messages. They didn’t appear and I can’t say I was sad.

HL told me that Flower’s son told him that she broke her other hip, on Christmas morning, and is now back at rehab. They were also finally able to give her a complete neurological examination (she had refused them up till now) and she is on the cusp between moderate and severe dementia.

Stay Close 1.8 [includes spoilers for 1.1-1.8]

•January 8, 2022 • 16 Comments

Continued from here. Keep in mind disclaimers here.

Reminder: SPOILERS. Do not read this post if you do not want to read SPOILERS.


I found this episode anti-climactic and somewhat disappointing except for the very, very end. Very little “action” and a lot of explaining (usually that’s not a great way to end a series). I don’t know entirely how I feel about the situation with Lorraine — insofar as it was easy to see how she was connected to the story, but very hard to figure what her actual motive might have been. It’s telling that in the “reveal” scene, Broome had to explicitly ask her the two main questions that I left episode 7 with. Lots of cheesy music selections. Not much to cap as there’s so much blood. I feel like this is more convincing blood than the usual British crime drama blood, though.

Episode opens with DDD male observing Lorraine. He orders tonic water from her at the bar and cuts through her mild attempts at bartender sweetness to the beleaguered male. He asks her about Carlton Flynn and she denies any knowledge at all. This is pretty lame / implausible and he sees through it. (Wouldn’t a normal investigation start with approaching her, anyway?)

Lots of grisly shots of the excavation of the corpses from that underground bunker. They haven’t found Carlton Flynn. In light of initial non-evidence (they haven’t found his body) I am more prepared to believe than Broome was that I was wrong about Flynn being part of the “serial killer” pattern. Ray calls for another meeting with Cassie: “I know what you did.” But she once again is prevented; this time it’s Grandma Frances calling because “a woman is in her room.” (How did Cassie know Frances? It’s never explained. Is it really conceivable that a mother who knew Cassie’s history wouldn’t tell her son?) Cassie drives to the nursing facility and although Frances was kind of the hostage to fortune I predicted she would be, at least the show didn’t rough up a grandma living with dementia. I didn’t think DDD female has any relationship to angels’ appearances, though. Pro tip: You’re not supposed to start conversation with people with dementia with “do you / don’t remember?” Tends to make them anxious.

However, after she leaves, Cassie gets it in the parking lot from DDD female in a fight scene worthy of Bryan Fuller (someone commented that the DDD colors were Fulleresque and I realized how much this last episode made me think of the visual level of Hannibal) in terms of gore, implausibility and mannerism. Isn’t this the first time she’s acting alone? Without any dance? She’s jinxed it.

Back at the station, they locate Ray’s phone just as Del Flynn is driving up to the excavation site. Broome convinces him that they will let him know as soon as there is anything to know. (Why is Flynn’s wife in the hospital? Why is the new wife so thrilled about looking for Carlton?) Cassie is taken to emergency, and DDD female is shown dead. The cops are driving to the boardwalk as DDD male calls his mate unsuccessfully.


First thing I wanted to cap in this episode. Kind of a neat shot with the shadow on the ground.


It turns out that the British police fire at suspects running away, even ones known to be unarmed. (This did not feel very UK to me, frankly.) Also, they can’t see the full trajectory of their shots, which is pretty foolhardy. They arrest him.


Look at those eyes.


Talk about understaffing in Blackpool — Cartwright and Broome have been at the excavation, arrested Ray, and now they have to go to the hospital to talk to Cassie. But first to debrief Ray.

DDD male follows Lorraine into the woods. Dave beats the cops to the hospital; he’s rediscovered his love for Megan / Cassie. Full on hug — she must have had a lot of drugs not to wince, after the fight she had. At the police station, Ray barters (implausibly) full honesty with the cops for ten minutes with Cassie. As she enters the room to talk to Ray, Broome learns that DDD male’s car’s been pinged near Vipers.

However temporarily ambivalent she was a few episodes ago, Cassie now fully #TeamDave and isn’t very sympathetic to Ray. They compare notes from seventeen years ago. As I suspected, Cassie found the body and ran; Ray found it, thought Cassie did it, took it away and “disposed” of it. That’s why he’s bloody in his flashbacks — it occurred after he moved the body. They also realized they were tricked into going out into the woods, though they don’t know by whom.

Learning that both Lorraine and DDD male had left Vipers, Broome rushes to her flat and does a B&E. Sure enough, DDD male’s corpse is there and she is obviously the murderer. Broome is never in severe danger; he talks her down. He also seems genuinely surprised and upset by what she tells him. We learn that she is the survivor of domestic abuse that led to the death of her fetus and the end of her fertility. Killing her husband one night when he propositioned her and wouldn’t take no for an answer led to a pattern of killing horrible men and storing them in the underground bunker.

It’s not that I find this totally implausible (although serial killers are more frequent in fiction than in reality), as much as I find it a rather pedestrian motive in relationship to all the buildup around it. I also think it wasn’t really effectively signaled, i.e., we learned a lot in the show about how Lorraine was connected to specific suspicious contexts, but not a lot about any general attitudes that would lead in this direction. There’s little explanation of how the murder of her husband — along the lines of self-defense — turned into the murder of so many others; it’s just assumed that it as a natural development. I don’t think Lorraine is given any flashbacks (unlike Cassie and Ray).

So she committed Guy’s murder as part of her project of ridding the world of annoying men (I was wrong, it was not collateral). But really? Men always fell for the trick that a girl was waiting for them in the woods? Hard to believe. She also murdered Stewart Green (but couldn’t figure out what happened to the body, after she left it for Cassie to see). And then Broome asks the $64,000 question: why revive the whole thing now? According to Lorraine, it was because she wanted to know what had happened to Cassie, and had the opportunity after she saw Cassie in her bar that night. This does not make a lot of sense to me plot-wise; Why not just locate Cassie and ASK how she’d been? (So I assume she told Rudy that Cassie’d been seen on the CCTV? Else you’d think Lorraine wanted to sicc Rudy on Cassie. And “it brought me back to you.”

THEN, Broome hugs her and promises her that the fact she’s a serial killer changes nothing: he still loves her. Huh. Chacun à son goût but I find this kind of creepy. Every man in this show (Broome, Dave, Ray) seems to have a very strangely “sticky” definition of love.

THIS LONG, WORDY REVEAL IS THIRTEEN MINUTES LONG. Almost a third of the episode. Serious ritardando. The cops come and take Lorraine away.

Cleanup phase. They take down the incident board and it seems the cops have decided for now that Carlton Flynn was among Lorraine’s victims. Some poor sod finally stumbles over Goldberg (it’s like two days later now? Three?). Del Flynn is arrested. Out at the water, Ray watches as divers enter the water to find Stewart Green’s remains.


“Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” Nice side-lighting again. Someone should teach the songwriter Frances of Assissi’s prayer.


Lorraine confesses to setting up Ray Levine and Jamal, and to murdering Carlton Flynn, over a montage of more gruesome corpse with maggot shots. The cops can’t find the body, though, and Lorraine can’t explain it.

The ever-faithful Fester (they are friends again) sends Ray back to war photography (I thought he said “don’t trust the police” as a farewell, but it was actually “don’t trash the place”). But Ray stops at Dave and Megan’s wedding party on his way to parts unknown and smirks mildly and approvingly before sneaking back out. I guess his obsession is over. Dave says a bunch of wonderful things.

The end is a little disturbing, though. Dave confesses hiding that car to Megan, who doesn’t say anything. (I’d like to note that my dad had that same talk with me — “I will always come and get you, no questions asked” — although I never asked him to cover up a murder.)


Troublesome: somehow Cassie escaped without any scar from that knife attack.

Dave returns to the party and finally we get to see the hidden conversation from the previous episode. Kayleigh evaded Carlton and had his car keys, but he kept chasing her and she sort of bonked him into the trunk (“boot”) of his own car. I assumed earlier in the episode that Lorraine copped to the murder in order to protect the murderer in the abstract (because Carlton would have deserved it, by her lights) and not because she had specific knowledge of Kayleigh, but now we see Lorraine seeing Kayleigh push Carlton into the trunk. Kayleigh and Bea drove it somewhere and hid it in the bushes after they ran out of gas. Dave picked them up, and when he saw the report on the news, he went back and took care of it. So now Kayleigh and Dave are actual murderers. (I was wrong about that, too, and this ending was pretty much unanticipated by me.)

But it’s a bit bothersome that Kayleigh kept a souvenir from Carlton. She “knew he would get out” when the drugs wore off, but why did she take his necklace? Another serial murderer in the making?

Speculation before the last episode [spoilers for 1.1-1.7]

•January 7, 2022 • 5 Comments





This bugged me all night. Something about that burner phone in Goldberg’s apartment is fishy — supposedly it has him mentioning Megan Pierce as Sutton’s witness, but when the DDD called to ask, Goldberg told them he didn’t recognize the name. Also, if the DDD are being run by Del Flynn, it doesn’t make sense that the DDD or Flynn would care about Cassie.

And I agree with Bolly that that flashback scene at the end of 1.6 is weird. If Ray is the murderer, the little bit of blood in that flashback is not consistent with all Ray’s “covered in blood” flashbacks, which then can’t be from the murder night.

[ETA: it’s also suspicious that Harry comes off without any dirt on him. The junkie with the heart of gold?]

So, going out on a limb now with where I am.

1. Stewart Green has been dead for 17 years. Green was murdered by someone who wanted his money — either Lorraine or the bouncer. Cassie discovered Stewart Green’s body in the woods and ran away, stole his money and shared it with Mrs. Green, then “disappeared.” Ray arrived after her, assumed she did it, and moved the body. As she disappeared afterwards, they never discussed what happened and he repressed it. The repression was possibly helped on by someone beating him up to try to get him to say where Stewart was.

2. Stewart Green’s murder is a separate conceptual issue from the pattern of murders in the woods, but connected in that some of the same people are involved or overlap.

3. Carlton Flynn’s murder is one of the pattern murders identified on the Keyboard Warrior’s bulletin board. Kayleigh was close enough to it to get Carlton’s necklace, but not the murderer. She had his car keys even before (for an unexplained reason) and used the car to get home, told her father the story, and let her father dispose of the car after it came out that Carlton was missing.

4. Lorraine is the pattern murderer herself or knows who is (the bouncer?). The murderer planted Carlton Flynn’s bank card in Ray’s car. I just can’t figure out what her motive would be either for killing Stewart, or reviving the whole thing now. Maybe she thinks Cassie knows where Stewart Green’s money ended up.

5. Guy Tatum was collateral damage — killed while Carlton Flynn was being pursued. He’s a red herring and the bar brawl (plus Ray’s fight with Dave) is supposed to make us think Ray murdered Stewart Green.

OK, I’m probably wrong about all of this due to confirmation bias (my partial inability to see Ray as Stewart Green’s murderer, and my total inability to see him as a serial murderer).

Will be back with the last recap late tonight.

Stay Close 1.7 [includes spoilers for 1.1-1.7]

•January 7, 2022 • 6 Comments

Continued from here. Keep in mind disclaimers here.

Reminder: SPOILERS. Do not read this post if you do not want to read SPOILERS.


I found this episode a bit tedious, too, but maybe just because of my own mood at the moment. (I just corrected the homeworks about errors in inductive reasoning. Always fun.) I was always pleased that I was right that the bouncer was the one who was hassling Jordan Shaw, although I was wrong (I didn’t write this down, but I was thinking about it last night) that the source of the money for Mrs. Green was somehow Del Flynn (who is the only person who has shown any connection to large amounts of money). But I guess we now know that Stewart Green did, too (how? we know almost nothing about him). In the end I was a bit annoyed that the episode teased at least one significant conversation that we didn’t see (Cassie and Kayleigh, about Carlton) and one revelation that we should have by now (why was Stewart Green in Ray’s backseat?). I am still out on whether Armitage’s portrait of Ray ultimately works for me. He hasn’t been asked about it very much, but the wide swings are a little surprising. After all this time where he’s just seemed like a lowlife / Bohemian with a broken heart, now he’s revealed as an obsessive? But I know actors are very much at the mercy of the script.



B & E thumbshot.

This episode opens with Ray breaking into the Shaw’s house, apparently to sniff at Megan’s life? Or rather to schmear his thumb all over everything.


Contact list with thumb.


Wedding crasher thumb.


Snoop thumb.


Eureka thumb.

Two more big implausibility points as he manages to go directly to the one keepsake from him that Cassie has — and also escapes the house without the police — who have come to investigate it as a crime scene for Kayleigh’s abduction — apparently noticing him. Fester, driving the getaway car, wants to know what Ray remembers, but Ray insists he has to talk to Cassie.


That is a super tacky suit. We’re supposed to think this is Stewart Green, but we just saw him dead in Ray’s car, so. But if he’s Stewart Green, how does he know that Cassie’s in the station?


Cassie, being questioned in the wake of her flight to the station, insists she’s told Broome and Cartwright everything. We know this isn’t true, because she still hasn’t told anyone else everything. She rejects the hypothesis that recent events in her life have anything to do with Carlton Flynn. Police assistant Lianne has found the DDD’s rental car plates and is on the job. Broome sees Kayleigh and thinks he recognizes her. (At least this time the script takes the sensible step of him having to refresh his memory.)

Dave arrives at the police station to meet his family — they will be moving to a safe house of some kind. Kayleigh wants to get some chocolate while her parents speak and somewhat hilariously asserts that “she’ll be fine” in the station. [Uncontrolled coughing.] Cassie admits to Dave that the kidnapping was provoked by an attempt to get to her, and also that she had a previous identity.


The plastic carnival ring has the power to turn Ray into a full obsessive. This transition seems really abrupt to me. Still, nice lighting on the face — my favorite angle.


Back in his kitchen, Fester wants to keep Ray away from his phone and thus from Cassie. Ray is emphatically not having it. This is another really neat scene (reminds a bit of the end of HP 2, where Dumbledore mentions to Neville that it’s harder to stand in the way of your friends than your enemies) and Fester’s willingness to speak the brutal truth illuminates his deep friendship for Ray. Ray doesn’t take it well and accuses Fester of hiding his knowledge of her the whole time. Maybe Fester should have tried playing that Taylor Swift song to him, but Ray is angry and storms out.

Among the police, Lianne has found the DDD’s pictures — Broome says they’re too young to be involved with the Stewart Green thing. His “serial killer” theory is under siege. He glimpses Kayleigh’s jacket and realizes that she’s in some of the Carnival photos with Carlton Flynn, which he saw at the Keyboard Warrior’s house. He’s frustrated that Kayleigh hasn’t told the cops she was with Flynn (although that seems to be a pattern in this episode).

[My question as I’m antsy: No one’s noticed this whole time that Goldberg is AWOL?]

Next we see the Shaws going to their safe house — which I find really improbable — it’s very exposed. Cassie’s about to talk to her obviously distraught daughter when Cartwright and Broome walk up. So now the safe house is also being visited openly by the cops (which we see again later). She recounts the story we’ve already seen, is pretty unrepentant about not telling the police before that she had seen him, and mentions briefly that Carlton was in an argument with someone at the bar — an East Asian guy in a pink hoodie.


Bethany Antonia as Kayleigh Shaw. Broome tells her that now is the time for her to tell them everything, but she doesn’t, in part because Cassie intervenes.


When the cops leave, Cassie wants Kayleigh to tell her the truth  — but we don’t see that conversation (now or later).

Leaving, Cartwright says she believes Kayleigh. Broome notes that Kayleigh’s info comes out of the blue, and if the kidnapping was intended to shake Cassie, then the kidnappers didn’t know about Kayleigh’s encounter with Carlton. In the course of the conversation, they realize there must be a leak at the police station.

The DDD are sunning themselves on Del Flynn’s lawn — this is a scene that more or less only serves to give the DDD a reason to go to vipers. But there’s a lot of threatening on both sides. He wants them to work more and not to show up on his lawn, they want him not to swear and also to give them more money.

Before they get there, Broome and Lorraine meet there and have a conversation. Broome wants her to be treated for cancer in Sweden in an experimental program, and she tells him that terminally ill girls just want to have fun, and he should stick to making her laugh. She wants to stay with her Vipers family. (I’d actually agree with her if I weren’t still fairly sure that she’s somehow involved in the Stewart Green scam.) He then sings “Sweet Lorraine” to her. I’d question why they spend so much time on this, but obviously they’re vamping until the DDD can arrive.

DDD, in the parking lot, get more of Flynn’s money and talk about their planned honeymoon. DDD chick suggests that they could retire after their honeymoon, but DDD dude seems sad to hear that. “This” is their couple hobby. (I guess bowling isn’t twee enough.) They see Broome and Lorraine kissing and speculate that she has info they want (from Broome).


Ray’s thumb wistfully rubs the Carnival charm ring outside Cassie’s house.


Back at the safe house, Dave is throwing rocks into the sea. He’s angry (he honestly has got a lot of nerve, given that he hasn’t told Cassie about his escapade with Carlton Flynn’s car). She claims that she’s the same person he knew (except for that name thing. This is coincidentally funny to me because tomorrow in philosophy we’re talking about identity). He wants “time apart.” She appeals to his sense of family. He remembers the scene in the street on his stag night, asks her how many times she’s been engaged, and learns that she can’t admit she was engaged to Ray.

As Dave walks away, she gets a voicemail from Ray, who now remembers what happened to Stewart Green and wants to meet. Tacky bald suit guy watches this — so Goldberg can’t have been the only leak at the police station. Or he’s just randomly hanging out at the coast. They focus so much on filming the dragon embroidery on his shoulder that one kind of thinks it’s a clue. But I don’t know to what. It’s been a long day. (Is that a viper?)

Aware of the leak, Cartwright looks suspiciously at her coworkers (and there’s an ostentatious shot of her singing her child to sleep via FaceTime while she looks at a gruesome murder photo on her computer). She talks to Broome in the hallway — he wants her to get more surveillance footage to locate pink hoodie guy. She freezes Lianne out when Lianne asks her about Kayleigh shore. Could she be implicated in the leak, too? Then why would she show Cartwright the footage from the uniforms that shows Goldberg at the Harry Sutton crime scene? We see Goldberg take something out of the crime scene van and conceal it in his coat. At home, Broome works on identifying pink hoodie, while Cartwright discovers evidence is missing in the Sutton case.

Anyway, Lorraine slows Broome down by arriving for a sleepover. When he wakes, he calls Cartwright, says “Goldberg,” and rushes away. They search his apartment (with a warrant, and “professional standards” are looking for his phone / GPS location) and find the missing evidence bag and the phone (which we know is the DDD phone). TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE, this phone appears not to have a PIN, but a text verifies that it was used to pass on the information about Harry / Cassie.

A weird conversation between Cassie and Kayleigh ensues, in which Cassie informs Kayleigh that her main memories of Vipers are good ones and the world isn’t such a horrible place. It turns out that Bea is also coming to visit. This is the most porous safe house ever.

I really like Cush Jumbo’s pullovers, but I’m too tired to cap one right now.

At the police station, they have already located pink hoodie guy — who also failed to get in touch about Carlton Flynn but knew him, admits to producing legal amounts of GHB — a date rape drug — which he did not sell but gave away. He alibis himself for the whole night with his social media accounts. Finally, he mentions seeing Guy Tatum and identifies Ray as having been at Vipers that night.

So Broome and Cartwright break in at Ray’s. We’re now at the “speed up” moment in the episode. They see all the photos of Cassie are gone, leaving holes. Broome finds Carlton Flynn’s credit card in Ray’s car. My first thought was “plant,” but that was my Armitage Protective Mode switching on. I’d also have to speculate about who would want to pin Flynn’s disappearance on Ray. Main candidates: Lorraine (for reasons as yet unclear) and possibly Dave (if he’s hiding something else, like knowing more about Ray than he has let on), and certainly Stewart Green if there still is a Stewart Green. They also find a jazillion illegal depressants in his kitchen (so I was right to recognize the lugubriousness of the addict in Ray’s remorse).


Another evocative shot.


Fester calls to update Ray about the cops, tells him to stop protecting Cassie, and suggests that it’s time to run. Ray ignores all this.

Maybe Cassie did want to meet Ray, but she’s interrupted by tacky shaved-head suit guy — it’s the bouncer (Rudy is his name). Seeing Cassie at Vipers made Rudy realize that she and Stewart hadn’t run away together, so she must have killed him. He wants his cut of Stewart’s money. Cassie says that she didn’t kill anyone, that she took some of it, plus a suitcase full for Mrs. Green. (Why that? Seems weirdly altruistic. Atonement for something bigger? Like an insurance payout?)  When a cop spots them, Rudy disappears and Cassie goes back into the house. So much for Ray.

Inside the sculpture, it’s Broome who confronts Ray (GPS found his location) rather than Cassie. Ray rushes Broome, but Broome gets the literal upper hand (ouch).


Ray proclaims that he killed Stewart. Question: does he believe this? Or is this just a ruse to protect Cassie (the way is scripted in this episode kind of points that way).


However, he rejects Broome’s assertion that he stole Carlton’s credit card or that he murdered anyone else. He then breaks free and runs away, bonking Broome on the Adam’s apple with his head. Ouch.

At his home, Del Flynn sees the DDD’s pictures on his TV in conjunction with the report that Goldberg is missing. Marlene Flynn is there and I had forgotten her. (So is the woman in the hospital bed from last time his ex-wife?) Marlene reassures Del that doing everything to get Carlton back is the right thing — but why is she so enthusiastic about getting Carlton back?

The cops are swarming over the sculpture again, as Broome asks what else he has missed. (My answer: Lorraine. Lorraine.) He’s also bothered that Ray wouldn’t admit stealing Carlton’s credit card. And then admits to Cartwright that Lorraine has cancer. Cartwright shows him photos that Ray has been taking every year on April 16 and then Broome goes back to his statement from episodes ago that Carnival can’t coincide with the date every year. I’m having a hard time believing that Ray is compelled to photograph the area on the 16th of every year and has no memory of what else happened there.

But that’s not the end of the implausibility. The show is really trying to confuse us over whether the serial killer theory stands up — and seems to be unraveling the theory as we speak. But as Broome and Cartwright explore the area, they find a metal handle to a door to a bunker that turns out to be a gruesome charnel house kind of place. Given how often the police have been up there just in the week of this show, you can’t tell me that the signs they follow were not noticed by anyone else. But the charnel house of course supports the serial killer idea. I’m tempted to say that there are serial murders going on and the murder of Stewart Green is separate, but I can only say that because I don’t know what Ray remembered or whether either he or Cassie is telling the truth about the events of that night.

At Vipers, DDD looks like he’s ready to murder Lorraine. At the safe house, Cassie has Carlton’s necklace / charm (this she must have gotten from Kayleigh, in the conversation we didn’t get to see) and flings it into the sea.

It doesn’t help that I’m watching these late at night. Anyway, my money is on Lorraine still somehow masterminding Stewart Green’s disappearance and Ray being involved as a factotum but not as the murderer in the sense of intent. I may only be saying that — especially after episode 6 — because I’m partial to Armitage. My only problem is I don’t know why Lorraine would have murdered Stewart Green, and I don’t know why she would want to start all this mishegoss by implying to Cassie that he’s still alive and looking for her.

Ah well. Once more tomorrow.

She didn’t ask him about Dibley this time, did she?

•January 6, 2022 • 12 Comments

Stay Close 1.6 [includes spoilers for 1.1-1.6]

•January 6, 2022 • 15 Comments

Continued from here. Keep in mind disclaimers here.

Reminder: SPOILERS. Do not read this post if you do not want to read SPOILERS.


This was a somewhat better episode than the fifth one, mostly because we now have to be on the home stretch. There are only 90 minutes after this episode to tie up the many loose ends. So they have to reveal more information. The other plus was a number of really great Ray moments toward the end. Some great visuals for the Armitage fan. I was not that interested in Dave’s stag night. And at some point I need to calculate a percentage “implausibility ratio” in minutes.

The open is some history of the jerky murderers. I had no idea that anyone would arrange an accident in order to take on the female lead in Pinafore, or that if she did, that any guy would find that attractive. Whatever. On the other hand, this script does have the rough plausibility level of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. We see the female chloroform Kayleigh.

Back at the police station, Broome and Cartwright are trying to “rule Cassie out” as Harry’s murderer. She mentions she saw the “dumbass dancing duo” (thanks Lurkerella — for the rest of these posts I will call them the DDD), which would be more convincing to me if we had seen her seeing them. Cut to the Weak Signal, where Ray is also wondering about Megan’s kids, although for him it’s more about why Guy and Megan didn’t marry earlier.


This is the questioning thumbshot. Ray uses his thumb to reason through his thoughts.


They discuss Dave’s hotness quotient (I agree with Fester, incidentally, I would not run away from Dave in a darkened bedroom — unless he actually has some bad qualities other than concealing evidence relevant to a murder inquiry). Ray’s really got a lot of nerve saying Dave’s got anger issues at this point. Honestly, dude, back away. Following this up is doing you NO GOOD. I know a history professor who’d love to discuss your photography with you. Or anything else.

Dave’s embarrassing stag night begins, with Ray stalking him in the Volvo via social media.


Ray’s sinister stalking thumb. A little Latin never hurts. Or a little alliteration.


We finally see why Goldberg’s rotten: he needs money to pay for his daughter’s advanced piano lessons and coaching. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It’s meant to humanize Goldberg, in any case, although the joke about his daughter’s hair color is wildly tasteless and takes back any sympathy I had with him. I mean, who jokes about their child’s parentage? (As someone whose father occasionally called her “milkman’s child,” I may be overly sensitive.)

At the station, Cassie is doing an identikit of the DDD. The similarity is astounding. Goldberg walks in.


It’s interesting that she looks ostentatiously away from him, as if she knows him. Maybe it’s just that she doesn’t want him to see her.

The identikit photos are good enough that Goldberg recognizes and calls the DDD on a special phone for that purpose. It turns out that they work for Del Flynn, Mr. £100,000 Reward — I had kind of forgotten about him — and despite prior appearances, that Goldberg doesn’t have the power to command them. (So Flynn’s running Goldberg, not Lorraine. But that doesn’t explain how the DDD knew about Tawny Allure.) When they ask him if he recognizes Cassie, he lies. (Now I’m wondering who told the DDD what. If Del is running them, it would make sense to sicc them on Kayleigh, as there’s all kinds of social media evidence about what Kayleight was doing that night. But Lorraine or Broome has to have passed on the info about Tawny Allure. And it’s not clear why Lorraine would want Broome killed, apart from the obvious reason that he’s handling the case.) Anyway.

Now back to the stag night. Ray’s in the gents when Dave walks in, more than three sheets to the wind. They chat and eventually Dave waves Ray over to his table to do a shot of tequila. At the station, Broome guilts Cassie into revealing that the source of her information is Lorraine. He looks mildly taken aback. Randomly calling family members, Cassie reaches Lorraine and tells her that she’s revealed her identity as Stewart-Green-sighter to Broome. Lorraine is crying (it’s the wake for Harry), but she doesn’t seem much fazed. Cassie agrees to go to Vipers.

At Dave’s stag night, the question comes up of why Megan finally said yes, now. Good question.


He looks menacing. Honestly, this doesn’t totally fit with my picture of Ray, but he is drunk. Although I thought it was Jägermeister shots that made people homicidal, not necessarily tequila.


Menacing thumbshot.


But Ray’s sober enough to come with an excuse when he reveals he knows Megan’s name, and excuse himself.


Armitage fumans. Can I say that now?


Dave is not sober enough to leave things be. (Okay, so I wouldn’t want to spend a night in a darkened bedroom with him, after all.) Armitage gets to use his Spooks-era stunt skills (although I think I saw at least one frame that was probably a stunt man) and Ray just about kills Dave, before he’s saved by a flashback of (apparently) killing Stewart Green. Ray runs away.

Cassie arrives at Vipers. That fan dancer is there again. Cassie and Lorraine have a drink before Lorraine gives a speech. She begins as Broome walks in. When Broome confronts her afterward about not telling him about Stewart Green, she suggests she forgot about it, and he appears to accept this lousy explanation. They kiss as “this is goodbye” is being sung in the background.

Ray goes home.

Anguished, Ray demands that Fester accompany him somewhere.


And then he’s driving, we know not where. This is another moment where he looks somehow Russian to me. Those cheeks. Must be the Uncle Vanya hangover.


At Vipers, Broome asks why Lorraine lied to Ray about Cassie’s death. He, like all of us, wants to know why she didn’t just say that Cassie had moved to Canada. (OK, we want to know why Cassie didn’t move to Canada, period.) It’s clear that Lorraine didn’t like him. We get the answer to my question of two episodes ago, that Broome knew Ray because of interviewing him after Stewart Green’s disappearance. Lorraine casts a lot of shadow on Ray here, characterizing his attitude to her as “more like an addiction.”

Megan / Cassie comes home to learn that Kayleigh’s been abducted by person or persons unknown. Bea doesn’t know where she is. Megan can’t locate her on the GPS app. She talks to the DDD woman who tells her where to meet and threatens here. Here we begin with the “Broome isn’t answering his phone” device. As Megan leaves, she grabs — cough — a bread knife.

Next, Del Flynn is mourning his son, then we see him in a nursing facility next to a comatose body (which we later see has a trach inserted in it), who is by implication of the photos in the room, his wife. (Did we know this?) While he’s there, Goldberg calls him to complain about the DDD. Del brushes him off, then promises his unconscious wife that he will find Carlton.

It’s twelve minutes to close, so the tension has to rise now. Cassie is driving to the meet with the DDD. Ray and Fester are in the woods.


A tortured Ray tells us that this the place they were on “that night,” i.e., the night of Stewart Green’s murders.


Lots of flashbacks to gory Ray, but I guess I still don’t really feel like capping them.

A clever Cassie — I will say I admire her resourcefulness — fakes out the DDD. She is able to circumvent the woman, find the cabin where Kayleigh is being held, and then SAW THROUGH the rope holding her in WITH A BREAD KNIFE. Wow, good grab, Cassie, much better than a Santoku. The male DDD doesn’t notice it because he is singing Gilbert and Sullivan again, but hears them scream or something, so he screams, alerting the female DDD (not her bra size) and gives chase. Sensible for a change, Cassie and Kayleigh make it to the car before he does, and drive off with him clinging to it. He eventually falls off, and appears to hit his head.

Broome sleeps through Cassie’s phone call, happily in the arms of Lorraine. She promises Kayleigh to keep them safe and drives to the police station, where she ends up in the problematic hands of Goldberg. Unfortunately, he locks them in and calls the DDD, which makes him look bad. Cassie and Kayleigh take the opportunity for a mother-daughter heart-to-heart in which Cassie explains convincingly why she chose exotic dancing as a career path. Cue a chorus of “What I Did For Love.” Just kidding, it’s been a long day. She was probably more appreciated than some history professors are. Cassie does reassure her daughter that she would kill for her.

Meanwhile, Goldberg tells the DDD how to enter the station without being seen. REALLY? THEY HAVE AN ENTRANCE WITH NO CCTV? IN THE MOST HEAVILY SURVEILLED NATION IN ALL OF CRIME FICTION?? But, surprise, surprise, he locks chick DDD in a different room when she arrives. Sadly for Goldberg, she alerts male DDD (who is NOT dead — also pretty implausible that he’s that stable on his feet after that kind of impact with the rock on the country road), who garottes Goldberg. Very artistic montage of Goldberg thinking of his daughter as he’s suffocating. Although I guess that none of it is captured on CCTV.

Broome finally looks at his phone. Hungover Dave at the morning-after breakfast realizes he doesn’t know how Megan is. And Ray is driving back, as all of the flashbacks coalesce and we see a frame of Stewart Green in the back of Ray’s car. Just as Ray sees it himself.


Shocked Ray.


Shocked thumb. You can tell because it’s so upset that it can’t be capped sharply.

Two more episodes.

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