You may remember how cross I was when the BBC decided not to recommission Zen (if you’re not sure, the answer is ‘Very’). I am going to be double and triple that cross if ITV don’t give us (at least) a second series of Eternal Law.
There was a lot going on in the series finale. The case of the week reflected three of Eternal Law’s biggest recurring themes – war, sacrifice and family, but it’s main purpose is still to facilitate the bigger story.
Richard uses the case to pile the pressure on Zak and Tom and we learn a little more of what this fallen angel is capable of.
Speaking of which, I stand corrected on last week’s assumption that Mr Mountjoy was testing his angels in a rather callous way. All, unsurprisingly, is not what it seemed.
[Spoilers below the line]
We do get lots of answers here. Why is Hannah in York? Because Richard arranged it. Who’s been making the clock flicker into occasional life? Zak with his love for Hannah. Why has Billy’s brother suddenly turned up? Because Richard wants to separate Mrs Sheringham from her ‘overgrown schoolboys’.
We also get some pressing new questions – can the doomsday clock be stopped? How do you stop it and what *exactly* happens if it’s not stopped?
We also get some serious Foe Yay (as always, be warned that you can lose literally hours of your life in the glorious TV Tropes site…) as Richard and Zak have a slightly underwhelming fight in the cathedral (it felt like Samuel West and Tobias Menzies had been told to keep it low key because it was going to have SFX added later – but someone forgot to add the whooshes and sparks).
In all other matters however, Zak continues to be marvellous. I adored his shambolic jogging (with added hiding from Hannah and John, not to mention heavy drawing on his cigarillo, and the line “Jogging. In a universe of mysteries, it’s the greatest one of all.”), the fact that he loves cheese and biscuits and his adoption of “in your face, bitch”.
And when his goodness breaks through his grumpiness, it’s like a sunbeam on a rainy day. The conversation with Hannah about how essential it is to believe in someone, and how if that someone lets you down it doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you a victim, is sweet and lovely (and a testament to both beautiful writing and acting).
I know I keep banging on about how brilliant Samuel West is, but that’s because it’s true. After years of watching him play Nazis and serial killers, it’s fabulous to see him inhabit a creation as lovely as Zak. I can’t remember when I last saw someone do unrequited love so delicately – you feel Zak’s every tremble and his every ache for Hannah. I’m even prepared to suffer the end of the world for him to get the love of his life back.
But we musn’t forget Tom, who gurns like a teenager in his disillusionment with the human race (it makes a change to see a character retain their faith in god, but lose it in everyone else) and the ‘pointlessness’ of the cases they take on, or Mrs Sheringham, dedicated to the cause but mired in her grief for Billy. I’d like to think that Richard’s heartless meddling (not to mention Zak and Tom’s thoughtfulness) may have helped heal her a little.
Speaking of Richard, I really felt his menace this week – when Tobias Menzies stared straight into the camera after Zak promises to ‘fix’ the rift between the Hale brothers I really did get a shiver down my spine.
It’s astounding that in just four and a half hours (I’m estimating we lose 15 minutes a week to adverts) Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah have hooked me so completely into a new world. (Yes, they got me even quicker with Life on Mars, but that’s because they didn’t have to spend an hour explaining things – the whole point was to keep us off kilter.) So, if anyone from ITV Drama is reading this, can you recommission Eternal Law as quickly as possible please. The end of the world has never been more enticing…
Posted by Jo the Hat