RECAP: Prey Episode One
Taking over from Life on Mars pal John Simm, this time around Philip Glenister portrays our lead character, David Murdoch – inhabiting the role of the titular “prey”. Murdoch is a prison officer at a woman’s prison; we learn that his wife died recently of cancer, leaving behind David and his pregnant daughter Lucy (Sammy Winward).
Filled to the brim with tension, the high drama of the last series continues in this fast-paced, dynamic episode. Opening the show, we see Philip Glenister handcuffed to Myanna Buring, running for their lives through a dark forest. Chased by a whole lot of police officers they have no choice but to take a plunge into the dark waters of the harbour. Run titles. Oh they do like a cliffhanger.
“18 hours earlier” we meet Murdoch with his colleague in the gym at work, demonstrating his “regular guy” status that I assume we’ll be shocked by later when his situation dramatically changes. Right on cue, prison inmate Jules Hope faints and Murdoch is required to accompany her to hospital.
In DS Reinhardt’s world she wakes up next to new love interest Phil (rather indifferently) before getting back in that trouser suit and off to the scene of a murder. Inside a burnt out car is the body – or “charcoal briquette” as Reinhardt describes it – of Daniel Hope. Making connections yet?
At the hospital, David gets a phone call from a very tearful Lucy. His daughter sobs instructions down the phone: David must get out of the hospital with Jules and take her to a specified location. A disturbing deep voice takes over the phone call to add one final command… if he tries to contact the police, Lucy (and baby too) will be killed. David dials 999 and then pauses. The tension ramps up. He cancels the call setting the whole episode in motion. They run for it.
A quick bit of detective work back at the police station and the first connection is made. Daniel and Jules are siblings. Here, the episode gets interesting as we, the audience, are now in possession of knowledge that Jules and David are not. This dramatic irony helps to keep us on the edge of our seats throughout. When and how will they discover it? Jules believes that it is her brother keeping Lucy captive. We know it’s not. So who is the mystery kidnapper? Did they kill Daniel too?
The episode maintains some light distraction in following Susan Reinhardt’s personal life. Phil meets her for dinner and whips out an engagement ring minutes after she’s sat down. She panics, mouth full of food, and we never really get an answer. Sue’s a wee bit busy with this murder/kidnapping/prison escape case to think about marrying again.
Meanwhile, after a stressful afternoon, Murdoch decides he will go to the police – he doesn’t want to go past the point of no return. Jules, however, has other ideas: picking up a beer bottle she smashes it over David’s head and makes a break for it. This changes things. David is forced to chase and grab her, accidentally knocking a policeman into the path of a car in the process. This shit is getting serious. The pair have just managed to add possible manslaughter to their list of misdemeanours, effectively waving the point of no return goodbye as they guiltily scurry past.
David takes no prisoners (pun most definitely intended) and handcuffs Jules to him, yanking her after him and away from the scene of their latest crime. After having further instructions from the kidnapper to meet at a flat, the pair hop into a taxi and pretend everything isn’t spiralling out of control.
More dramatic irony – we find out that Jules is in prison for fraud and that she used to operate her crimes using a number of different addresses, one of which they are on their way to in the taxi. Jules mentions nothing about having been to the flat before, what is she hiding from David?
The pace doesn’t slow down as the taxi comes to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road. Up ahead, the police are doing checks on every car. The pair have no choice but to break out of the taxi and scram, which they don’t do quietly. They attract every pair of police eyes in the vicinity.
We come full circle to the opening scene of the show: David and Jules sprinting through a dark wood being chased down by a large group of police. They jump into the dark – and I imagine very cold, it is England – water in the harbour and manage to escape the police. After a night spent in a nearby greenhouse, the two make their way to the flat.
Obviously the lift is out of order, so our criminal duo huff and puff their way up the stairs to the seventh floor just as Reindhardt and DC Richard Iddon (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) arrive on the scene. As they reach the fifth floor, I jump out of my skin when a body drops out of the sky and crashes onto a parked car. The hair on the back of my neck stands up and the levels of tension treble in an instant. We hear a woman scream up above Murdoch and he shouts and runs, believing it to be his daughter. The flat is empty but a left-behind shoe tells David that Lucy was there moments before. Rushing outside, Jules clocks Iddon who’s caught up with them. Eyes wide with panic, they lock themselves in the flat and the screen fades to black.
Told you they love a cliffhanger. Beats me how they’re going to get out of this one.
The second episode of Prey airs at 9pm next Wednesday (16.12.2015) on ITV 1.