Requiem – Episode 2: The Blue Room

Starring: Lydia Wilson, Joel Fry, Joana Scanlan, James Frecheville, Claire Rushbrook, Clare Calbraith
Director: Mahalia Belo
Writers: Kris Mrksa

Reviewed by Sidney Morgan

This review contains SOME SPOILERS.

The first episode of Requiem ended with Matilda convinced she was Carys Howell, the missing girl from her mother’s newspaper clippings. The mansion, the recordings in the basement, it felt all too familiar. The Blue Room (the second entry in the series) begins with a police officer looking through the basement. Hearing what Matilda has to say, the responding officer isn’t convinced. We can’t really blame her. When pressed to explain how she knows Carys was held in the basement, Matilda says that she just knows. She offers no proof or explanation. Given the officer’s reluctance, it’s a good thing she didn’t mention that she believes herself to be Carys. She’d likely have been carted off to the local psychiatric hospital.

With no help from law enforcement, Matilda decides to continue the investigation on her own. Of interest to her are Rose and her ex-husband, who disappeared shortly after Carys Howell’s own disappearance in 1994. And while in town asking questions, a few things become clear.

The people here aren’t warm toward outsiders. To be fair, it could be because Matilda is opening up old wounds, asking questions about the abduction of a child. But some of them are acting too suspiciously. There’s Rose’s husband Aron, the retired detective who worked on the Carys case, Stephen Kendrick, the bartender Trudy, and of course, Rose herself. She is lying to Matilda and her husband. And she telling them to hide a secret, one that is taking a heavy toll on her.

PC Graves (Clare Calbraith).

Meanwhile, the constable on the case, PC Graves (Clare Calbraith), is the dogged, unfazed and methodical presence in the show. Though she wasn’t convinced by Matilda, she’s not ignoring the fact she’s had to go to the mansion twice within a week. She’s also unsatisfied with the information she has about Ewan Dean’s death (the man who jumped off the roof of the mansion). The facts and sequence of events don’t add up, and she’s already started to look deeper into it. Will she meet the same resistance as Matilda when she begins to ask questions?

Not to be forgotten are the strong supernatural elements. Matilda continues to hear noises in the house. Trying to find their source, she discovers a locked room whose windows are bricked up. She also finds one teddy bear and an unbroken mirror. Outside, birds fly right by her head, reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds. There’s a shower scene à la Psycho, with an eerily similar camera shot of the shower head and the flowing water. Meanwhile, someone or something brushes up against the shower curtains giving Matilda (and me) quite the scare. Oh, and there are witchcraft-like symbols painted on the wall. Perhaps they’re clichés. Perhaps they’re homages. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s all well done, it works, and it manages to keep you on edge.

Performances continued to be great. Lydia Wilson absolutely nails her role as Matilda, whose behavior could be considered as tactless to some. But she’s driven. She wants answers about herself and her parents, and there’s no doubt she’ll eventually get them, for better or for worse. But she begins to make questionable decisions as her frustration and increasing pressure from her agent (the tour is in danger of being canceled due to her absence) mount. She pushes away Hal, her only friend, the one who only wants what’s best for her as he sees her deteriorating mental state. And in a surprising out of nowhere scene, she uses Nick as a sexual outlet.

Rose (Claire Rushbrook)

Claire Rushbrook gives as powerful a performance as Lydia Wilson, giving us no doubt that she knows far more than she’s admitted. It’s a terrible burden and is wreaking havoc on her soul. And the addition of Clare Calbraith as PC Graves adds a strong voice of logic to a sea of emotionally burdened ones.

The sound and visual effects (CGI free!) are well done, helping to sustain that terrifying feeling of true horror. It reminds us that this isn’t just a story about a missing child. There’s a darker presence involved, and there are things that go bump in the night, which will undoubtedly lead to some viewers watching with the lights on. In this seemingly normal town, there are secrets. Not unlike another similar town, you may have heard of called Twin Peaks.

Verdict: Continue to watch!

There are still questions to be answered, and though we know who may have some answers, it’s too soon to guess what is going on. If Matilda really is Carys, how did she end up with Janice? And why won’t anyone speak of it openly? Is the whole town guilty of some unspeakable crime? Does this go beyond just Matilda, and is that why there’s a supernatural presence? There’s a tightly knit story, and I can’t wait to see what it will take to begin its unraveling. I only hope that its resolution will be a good one, even though the atmosphere may be pointing in the opposite direction. Stay tuned!

Sidney Morgan

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