Past and Present come crashing together as The Living and the Dead’s finale episode reveals the answers to so many of the questions that have been bubbling up for the past six weeks.
So much exposition is revealed within the first ten minutes of this episode, we find out that the woman in the red coat is actually called Lara and that she is interestingly Appleby’s great great granddaughter. Moreover, Lara has checked herself in a psychiatric hospital due to the sightings of Gabriel, with a diagnosis passed by the skeptical doctors of Postpartum Psychosis. It’s interesting that this was revealed at the beginning of the episode because as a result we the audience are fully invested in the unraveling of this mystery thus a big tease like this whets the appetite and builds suspense and intrigue for more to come.
In this finale episode Nathan Appleby has descended into fun blown madness but not because of presence the spectres of the dead, it’s actually their sudden absence that has sent him off the edge because it means that he has lost Gabriel all over again so he frantically wanders aimlessly, dabbles with Psilocybin Mushrooms (something that he states is a Cure or Kill) and stares at his reflection in the mirror willing him to come back to him, all the while repelling his pregnant wife. Charlotte at one point in full gothic melodrama stands on the stairs and questions Nathan “Shall I fall down the stairs and give you your miscarriage?” as she is adamant that is exactly what he wants due to the fact that he is scared at the prospect of being a father again due to the tragic fate of his previous child Gabriel. The next shot after Charlotte and Nathan’s explosive argument is of frozen grass, a metaphor perhaps for iciness or probable death of their relationship. This transitional shot is particularly effective and evocative of Gothic literature as it was common practice for authors to link the surroundings with the characters like for example in Wuthering Heights the “Stunted Firs” reflect the unfulfilled characters namely Heathcliff who never quite reached his potential as a man due to his upbringing and the wild forbidden and ill-fated romance he shared with Catherine.
So the main question that came to mind after the reveal of Lara’s overturned car and the conclusion to the overarching storyline of this 6 episode run was will there be a series 2? and in the last minutes of the finale episode I think I got my answer, the episode fast-forwards a year to show us Appleby with his wife and young child all seemingly happy until late one night Appleby awakens to find a seance in his living room (clearly people of the future, perhaps 1920’s?), a plucky young man announces “The Notorious Nathan Appleby. Welcome to the land of the Living, We have a question. Why did you kill your Wife?” The camera zooms straight towards Nathan’s face he is just as confused as us the audience! This conclusion has left me expectant BBC One, please continue this very intriguing and mysterious story I (like many others) want to know why Mr. Appleby has become The Notorious Nathan Appleby.