The Tunnel-my review of first three episodes-PART ONE (PART TWO Posted 29th December-update and Final Review) Minor spoilers only-on in the UK on Sky Atlantic Channel Wednesdays @ 9pm-Nb. see also small Preview here posted on 10th October 2013

Nb. I am re-posting this preview here for convenience.

The Tunnel
Starting 16th October on Sky Atlantic.
Nooooo!  I don’t have this Channel.

This is a remake of the Scandinavian series, The Bridge.

The Tunnel is an English-French collaboration and as The Bridge fans know-the body is found on the border half-way between two countries. In this case in the Channel Tunnel.  Apparently this is the first film ever shot in the Channel Tunnel.

Oh yes and a Detective from each country has to work the case together.  Cue supposed stereotypical differences..

There is a large and interesting preview of this series in The Independent which i will dig up soon and post the link.

Here it is:
The Tunnel-Chunnel Vision by Gerard Gilbert Wednesday 9th October
Nb. There is another review somewhere in the Independent but can’t rustle it up right now.


The Tunnel


Well i have seen three episodes of The Tunnel. & it was just OK.

Beautiful to look at of course.  But never as beautiful as the breathtaking still scenes of The Bridge.  (Sigh)

Rather tiresomely as seems to be de rigeur these days, we spend a lot of time as viewers flying metaphorically above the scene.  Like we were trapped in a small bi-plane forever.

Useful i suppose, to get the general layout of the buildings and the exact nature of the approaches to the white cliffs of Dover.  If we ever need to make a landing.

Huge and sweeping vistas of views is all very wonderful and cinematic.  However a sort of vertigo is creeping in lately for me.  Perhaps I’ve just had enough of inexplicably but barely being land borne any more.

So many swooping shots of brightly lit cities we view, twinkling from above in drama upon drama.  Why?

Yes, pretty twinkling lights, smooth expanses of sea. To signify we have landed back in Calais. Again.  The time spent on land is the complete opposite of the detail you would expect. The occasional outside of a building for reference.

 However no real idea of how the character arrived there. Unless its along an eponymous road.  With the two talking heads in a car.

Unlike The Bridge, well except for the Scandinavian interiors which seemed to be uniformly bland and beige, there is precious little rich colouring in The Tunnel.

Everything seems washed out, pale and bleak.  Grey, white, insipid shades.  Although the French Police wear some jolly nice jumpers more British in appearance than French.  One could say Scandinavian. Perhaps it is much colder there?  by the sea.

Somehow we know in spite of looking like Arran knit from Argyll these jumpers would never be worn in the British Police Station.  so the French are signalled as more casual and cool.

The English Detective has a Tweed jacket under a Balfour style jacket. See, the stuffy old English wear suits.

As in the Bridge, the British Detective is easy going and humorous, with a sarcastic humour.  Although not as humble and self-deprecating as Martin from The Bridge.  They (both men) have had vasectomies.  We feel and see his pain every time he sits down with a wince which mostly left me wondering exactly which part is sore.

The French detective as in the Bridge is meant to be on the spectrum of Aspergers syndrome.

Yet to my mind, the actress has way overdone this as she mostly appears continually so spaced out and stiff that she makes Data from Star Trek, a a humanoid android, look over emotional by comparison.

The story, so far, is pretty much the same.

Oh and the British Detective lives in a giant farm house, stylishly converted of course, in the middle of an enormous cornfield.  Where his 2.2 children gambol and play and life is forever sunshine.

The French Detective lives in a tiny flat with vertical Venetian blinds and sits on the floor eternally working the casewhilst eating baguette sandwiches of French fries with lashings of hot chilli sauce.  Because she officially doesn’t care about sustenance and food is just a fuel.

When the French Detective returns to a hotel she was in earlier for a meeting and beckons the handsome bartender for a frolic in a room she could have had The Terminator vision:

“Human life form-do not terminate-male”
and uttered the words:
“Give me your clothes and your motorcycle”
“Tzz.  Tzzz.”

Rather ridiculously. as in American dramas, we are subject to viewing energetic shagging but swiftly censored bras.

I did like how the Barman just kept giggling at her.  I thought they would be a good match.

Then there is the officially arrogant English Newspaper man who live sin a fictitious place called Sandgate.  In a completely fabulous pad by the sea.  it looked more like California than England. No wonder they had to make it up.

The Tunnel won’t call the Newspaper man a Journalist since he works for a tabloid.  Officially sneering boo hiss.  Particularly from the British Detective who instantly stereotypes his column and readers.

The Tunnel especially give the Journalist white trousers to wear for reasons that later become clear..

It was for cinematic purposes and so the British Detective can inexplicably taunt the Journalist later over what you might have thought rather a traumatic experience.  One that you would have expected to elicit just a little sympathy too.

Oh and please note, i think we quite clearly hear the French Detective right at the start of The Tunnel when she and two colleagues are standing near the newly discovered body and see the British Detective coming mutter pejoratively that:
“(Here comes) Les Ros Bif” (The Roast Beef)

This is translated as British in the subtitles.  I think we all know that this is about as correct as calling the French:
“Frogs” and translating that as if you really said the French.

There is also a disturbing side story concerning a vulnerable woman failed asylum seeker in Calais.  Strangely or not from Columbia.
(I only say this since Columbia is an unusual pace to seek asylum from to Britain)
“I can’t go back there all my family were murdered”

I vaguely remember this side story in The Bridge but for the life of me cannot remember it’s outcome beyond grenades and her being trapped in an isolated country house.  In The Tunnel they give the Columbian lady a son.  Who appears out of nowhere as he isn’t there at first.

Oh and presumably because it is set in Calais mainly, multiple references to immigration are made,  But only by the British Detective including scathing comments to the tabloid Journalist. All very tiresome as teaching moments.  Particularly as he lives in the middle of a giant cornfield.


Perhaps it’s me and i am biased towards the Scandinavian original, The Bridge.  I do find myself wondering, nay pondering the oddness of making an exact replica of a series just in a different place with a different language.  Why?  One might ask.& What exactly is the point?  This would occur more of course if you have seen the original.

You or I find yourself questioning whether you thought the Scandinavian The bridge was better somehow because it was different?  As in seeming more glamorous, wonderful and interesting just because it is in a different country?
Maybe so.  Partly.

However people are still pretty much the same.  so are Police, Police Stations, Policemen, Policewomen and murderers.
  & Victims for that matter. The only real difference is on the scenery, sometimes in the interiors and some supposed, slight cultural quirks.

The English Detective necessarily must wear Tweed.  The French must be deshabille’ chic in jumpers and neck meeting chin beards. yet none of the French smoke!

Maybe everybody in Europe has given up.  Nowadays it is a very rare rebel in dramas who smokes. Although strangely, apparent non-smokers hold onto a craftily secret pack squirelled away. Which they in rare moments unearth for a pensive and deep moment puff.

At which point an equally traumatised but brave faced colleague (or even a victim) will say:
“Give me one of those”.

The thing is The Tunnel is not just insipid of colour in its palest of watercolour wash.  so much so that i found my eyes visually feasting on  the deepest palette yet found, a shot of a blue verdigris green weathered seaside stone wall.

It is a bit boring and bland.  & So are,mostly the characters.  They seem to move too slowly and oh so expressionlessly, through their whitewashed water colour world.

Dialogue comes out of their mouths yet seems strangely disconnected and flat.  Almost like an unexplained time lapse had occurred between speech, movement and action.

When I find myself minutely examining the French Detective’s bun and marvelling at its construction, whilst concluding that the secret is hair pins then really I’m bored.

Homeland Series 3-Episode 4 & 5-warning minor spoilers-on in the UK Channel 4 or Channel # 104 on Virgin TV Sundays @ 9pm

Homeland Series 3- Episodes 4 & 5

Episode 4


“I’m an Associate at Bennet Parr & Hamilton..”

“No matter who the hell you are, you’re working for the Syrians, the Iranians”

Carrie wakes up.
“Let me go, no, no!”
(heavy breathing)
Carrie looks on.
“Is everthing here OK?”

Saul & Fera:
“That’s a hell of a way to clean money”
“Nassar Hejazi”
“You know him?”
“Yes, he played goal-keeper for Iran in the World Cup!”
“It can’t be him”
“Becuase he’s dead!”
“I’ve always dreamed of owning a football team”!

Carrie’s lawyer:
“Don’t forget to tell the board you are grateful..”
(about time Carrie had a Lawyer to fight her sectioning as it is her right)

“You’re transitioning back into the community..”

Carrie & the Judge.
“If my Dad said he was coming he will be here!”

They don’t let Carrie out.

Nurse to Carrie:
“Your nails have got long”
“We will have to trim them later”

Ah, lovely Mike returns!

Beardy guy:
“The department is weak Saul and it could die of the common cold”
“and she (Carrie) is the full blown contagion!

Virgil gives Carrie a clue:
“Say hi to your Mom for me”

Dana and boyfriend:
“Kubla Khan..down to the sunless sea..”

(birds chirp)

I don’t want to see you again Mr Bennet!”
(Mr Bennet?! very Jane Austen)

end of excerpts

So there was a real twist in the tale of this episode.  & no Brody.

Interestingly there was a point where we hear a woman crying out against a man”no, no” “Leave me alone” “Stop it!” & i immediately thought it was the young girl in Caracas.  Fighting some guy in the tower block off.


& Dana is on an adventure with her beloved, or so she thinks.


Episode 5


Mia, as obsequious as ever,
“Come in…he’s going duck hunting”
“I’m going duck hunting, how do I look?”
“Why would you want to do that?”!

So who is Max? Ah.  Virgil’s brother.

So it was Quinn who came to see Carrie in the hospital.

The Senator & Saul.
The old games..”
(geese honk)

(jazz music plays)
doesn’t it always.

“There won’t be a prouder man”
“Or a humbler”
(a humbler)

(distant drilling)
glass breaks.

She’s on her own Saul”
“She’s always been on her own”.

end of excerpts


So Homeland bowls along at a merry pace.
I know that some are rejecting it on the forums and that viewer figures are reported to have dropped.

However me, I’m loving it,  When examined I suppose this could be down to rooting for Carrie.  As when it comes down to it, Carrie is the heroine.  & thank goodness for a strong and officially feisty heroin.  Inventive, resourceful and ever a survivor.

Carrie is real, not plastic.  & if her face is ever more mobile and sometimes crying with fear and frightened with her big bug eyes i just like her all the more for it.

Since Carrie still fights back in the middle of paranoid obsessive and manic periods.  For her status, her job, her respect.
(she won’t be labelled hysterical or mad or woman)

& It’s all so very refreshing when compared to the legions of frozen faced women.  With faces like melted cats.

Yes, the disorder they have given Carrie officially and something categorically gives her character a get out clause for her behaviour.  But it also relentlessly re-labels her when useful to her superiors.

When it is the aspects of her make-up that particularly lends itself to her being very good at her job.  Me, i was silently cheering when Carrie threw her tablets away.  At the same time as exclaiming:
“No you didn’t!
(not of course that i am recommending this and we know that Carrie can get very ill)

Because Carrie wanted and needed to have all her wits about her.  A heightened mental acuity at that.  A healthy dose of paranoia isn’t really paranoia at all in her job.  It’s real.  & Carrie is right.

Right now Carrie needs all her wits about her.  Every one.

I am also liking Quinn’s new maternal protectiveness towards Carrie.  Ah.  With his little mini-binoculars that he can conjure out of thin air.

Question: why watch Carrie from the front of the house?  Since evil baddies are unlikely to knock at the door?!

Oh yes, and how did Mrs. Brody (Jessica)  know where Carrie lives?

& Duck hunting seems to be the American equivalent of hunting with hounds.  Except they go off, trundling in fancy Jeeps like a throwback to Mash with black labrador hounds and talk of trusty Remingtons.  A rifle not an electric shaver apparently.

& Saul, all in all, for all his right on mumblings about drones and the old school spy ways, is evincing the coldly calculated aspect of some kind of surreptitious CIA pimp.  With Carrie as his pawn.  He’s playing now for all or nothing.


footnotes on episode 5


& Just what on earth is the oddly subservient usually, Mira up to?  entertaining the decidedly younger than Saul and deliciously handsome “Alan Bernard”?

In the etiquette of married couples, book of and a fairly conservative one at that, where is the chapter on inviting male friends to dinner at home when husband is away?

“I didn’t expect you back for another night”
Oops.  we can see that!
I can’t quite decide if this evokes a completely innocent conscience or not.  Mira certainly didn’t mention it, which would have reflected that.  (it was no big deal)
Why not?

& Whatever happened to going out to dinner or for a drink?  Oh i guess Mira could have been spotted and that could have set tongues wagging at the CIA?  Like the CIA were bothered about such things after a full blown terrorist attack.  Perhaps Alan Bernard is a known face?
 Who knows.

I find Mira distinctly annoying, i do, i can’t help it.  She really should have given Saul a good slap by now or at least a metaphorical kick up the arse.

Mind you apart from Carrie and the new, thankfully evolving Mrs. Brody, the women in Homeland are either completely absent or carbon copy Stepford wives. OK except Ferah.

I am so proud that Mrs. Brody  remodelled the bathroom, did her own tiling and grout.  I will even forgive her her new 1950’s hair.  Although it’s getting wilder by the day.  Escaping strand by strand from her previously perfect coiffure.
 & She is ever more beautiful for it.

& Thank goodness, Dana comes home.   Because the slight slip of concentration on the road by her beloved was a very bad sign.  Methinks he was going down the road into oblivion, for the both of them. Into a tree or off the highway, on the road to nowhere.

All because he didn’t want to work in Burger King.  All right he was really rather bonkers.  But not in a good way.

I await with interest to see if my prediction for Dana comes true. Dana, deeply attached to and linked with her father whom she literally replaced with her boyfriend.
(we were shown this as Dana put her boyfriend’s photo on top of one of Brody)

Now Dana is alone with her pain, her loss, her grief again.  She is desolate and bereft.  Dana cannot or will not connect with her Mum.  She is a Daddy’s girl and the little red prayer mat is calling, her only connection to her Dad.  Dana may convert.

Wentworth Prison Series One-Episode 9-Warning-major spoilers-on in the UK Channel # 5 or on Virgin Tv Channel # 105-Wednesdays @ 10pm-this is the penultimate episode in this series

Wentworth Prison Episode 9


Tell me!”

“We’re going to need some sedation..”

Fletcher to Vera:
“She should have thought of that about her kid,”
“before she got herself put in here”

Bea does that long drawn out forever gulp of intake breath that little toddlers do when upset.

Fletch has his headphones on.
(woman’s screams echo in Fletch’s mind)

Erica & man in the suit-Channing.
“Are you propositioning me?”
“I was only offering support”
“Not unless you want to get sued”.

“I can arrange for a grief Counsellor..”

“How’s Bea?

So does Fletcher have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Will Jackson & Bea.
“You don’t forget, you just stop remembering so much”.
“I know it’s not the same but how about if I go?”
“Tell her her Mummy loves her to the moon and back”

Fletcher is having problems with ghostly screams in the kitchen.

He keeps checking the clock.
Then Fletcher loses an hour of time in a blackout.
All the pots are burnt.

Then Fletcher decides it would be a good idea to go over to Vera’s house drunk and clutching dinner,
“You taste of alcohol”

(Nb. i think Vera is a virgin.
she just hasn’t said)

Bea to Jackson:
“I want you  to tell me everything”

“It’s a big building”
“Nice people work there”
“The morgue is in the basement”
“two floors down in the elevator”
“and they are taking good care of her Bea”
“She looks peaceful”
“I can see that she looks like you”

“Did you tell her?”

Jackson (previously)
“Your Mum loves you to the moon and back”.

The man in the suit is called Channing.
Channing to Erica:
“I hear the lunatics have been running the asylum when I was away”.

Bea’s husband Harry:
“I was making dinner..”

“She had a boyfriend?”
“What was his name?”

Fletcher & Debbie.
She comes back to the prison.
“Don’t expect any special treatment..”
“Oh, Bea, C’mon, we will get you home, all right?”

Liz, Doreen & Erica.
Liz & Doreen plead for Bea.
“We know that rules are there for a reason but..”

Erica & Mr. Channing.
Channing is biting back now he has been turned down.
“You are going to undermine my position”
“As you have undermined mine.”

Bea & the women sit together.  Doreen in her pyjamas.

Dumb song.
“They say the home is where the heart is set in stone”
“It’s where you lay your head”
“it’s where you make your bed”
“hooome, home”…

“I think I’ll just go to bed”

i think Bea is going to kill herself.

Oh my good God..

Liz sits with Bea.
“Why didn’t you let me go?”
“You’re OK”
“What do you think Debbie will want for you?”
“It is always going to hurt”

Erica & Liz.
“I need you to be a Peer worker again”
“mediate between the women”

Fletcher & Vera.
“I was in East Timor after the referendum”
“A soldier stopped them..
“the little girl ran away..”
“he shot her”
When I heard Bea screaming…”
“Do you think I could make it up to you?”

They make a shrine for Debbie.
“Ah, that’s beautiful Dor”
“Ah thanks”

But Fletch is still hearing screams.
“I’ve seen innocent women lose their kids,”
“I don’t think we should make it easy for them..”

Doreen speaks at the funeral.
“They were best friends”
“Debbie knew you loved her, you have 16 years of memories to treasure”.

Another damn song.
“Hey, heeey!”
“My head is a jungle, jungle”
“My head is a jungle”
“My head…”


end of excerpts


Next week it is an “explosive finale”.

Yep.  We can see that in the clip where it looks like all hell is breaking loose in the prison as an arm covered in blood, reaches up to the wall to press an alarm…

So Wentworth Prison is intense, hard hitting yet affecting Drama.  I have decided that is is a genre beyond.  Since like the original Prisoner Cell Block H it pretty much breaks all the rues of dramatic convention.

Apart from possibly that of soap opera.  & that is not to undermine it,  Soap opera is the essence of drama.  We could call Wentworth Prison more opera than soap. Since it is tragedy writ so large the characters might as well be wailing hugely in operatic arias on stage.

As poor Debbie was.  Just hunched up on the floor.

So we are learning that Fletcher’s throw away comments are piling up as proof of his uncompromising views.

& Erica utters the fateful word “sue” and is sidelined by the man in the suit, Channing.

The preview says that next week Bea finds out the identity of Debbie’s boyfriend..

& she has nothing to lose.

I am going to leave the final episode unwritten.


Short Reviews of Episodes 2 & 3 of Homeland Series 3-Minor spoilers-On in the UK on Sundays @ 9pm Channel #4 or on Virgin TV Channel #104

Homeland Episodes 2 & 3

Short reviews.

Episode 2.
(abridged version)

“ Saul….”


Footnote to the end of episode 1.
(carries on from last paragraph picturing Brody in his log cabin in the Canadian outback)

Dunno about food since we don’t know if Canada too will have his picture on the news. if they do then Brady better know how to hunt.

But wait, there may be a spy contact of Carrie’s to bring him shopping..

Episode 3.


“Shit what happened to you?”
“Something went wrong”
“I assumed..”
“Are you a doctor?”
“Interesting story..”
“Will he make it?”
“Yeah, he’s a strong one.”

Man to Brody:
“maybe somebody did you a favour once?”

Brody wakes up in pain.
The young girl jacks him up?!

“Where am I?”


Brody to Doctor:
“If you hate it then why are you here?”

“Don’t we all need to just get our strength back..”

Distant singing..
Brody sings along to one of the calls to prayer.

Episodes 2 & 3

So i will have to re-watch this as i swear i only missed a few minutes but what on earth was Brody doing shot, with a big hole in his stomach
(which just everybody and his Aunt liked to put their fingers inside)
being trundled along in a trolley in Venezuela?

Then shortly handed over to gun toting gangsters who lived in a humongous half finished tower block in Caracas?!
i mean wtf did i miss?

It was all immensely powerful and dramatic whilst being faintly ludicrous.  Not the tower block and the people in it so much. The tower block is real, i have heard of such blocks.  & the Doctor and his uhum, friend Pedro was truly sinister and scary.

For a while i was thinking it was a flashback.  & When did they shave off Brody’s hair?
Although Brody somehow looked like a young blue eyed Bruce willis.  Working the white T-shirt and jeans look to perfection.

Meanwhile Carrie is still charging around albeit in the Psychiatric Unit.  The nightmare of the endless cycle of trying to remain calm when your every utterance is taken as evidence of your paranoid madness is nerve wracking to behold.

Thank goodness Carrie really does work for the CIA.  Otherwise her claims would be taken as classic paranoia.  Carrie might as well be saying she receives radio transmission through her teeth and tin-foiling the windows.

However as Carrie points out, the CIA could have expunged her records.  A Statement which could be taken as pure paranoia. & so it goes on.

Poor Carrie, betrayed, to her mind by everybody she trusted.  Even her own family.  Everyone who has been in contact with Saul.  Who has been slithering about like a sibilant hissing serpent.  Whispering veiled threats and offers you can’t refuse in people’s ears.

Wonderful, moral, questioning and open-minded Saul of the previous series is now ruthless, swift, calculated, cold and unmoved by collateral damage.

Yes, we get it.  It’s revenge.  Driven by 200 deaths.  Maybe Saul was always like this.  He just sounds like a nice guy usually, when times are good.  It’s that gruff and grumbly voice and the Uncly, Grandpa beard.

Wentworth Prison-Series One-Episode 8-Minor spoilers only-on in the UK on Channel #5 or on Virgin TV Channel #105

Wentworth Prison Episode 8

Jac’s Episode.


Erica & Jacs
“I haven’t heard much talk on the ground..”
“I would like you to agree to go into protection..”
“If yo don’t take my offer,”
“I can’t tell how long you’ll last”..

Flashback to Jac’s Life.
“How dare Vinnie put out a hit!”
“I’ll rip his heart out!”

(back at the prison)
But what’s this?
Jacs is panting once inside her room

(muffled voices)

(steam press hisses)

Bea to Jacs:
“I only spoke up…”
Jacs (dreadful flashback)
“We all get what’s coming to us in the end…”

Bea’s daughter to Brayden:
“Is it better than smoking it?”

Fletch & Vera at lunch.
“It’s Mediterranean couscous..”
“em, there’s a Bond movie marathon”!..
“Well maybe..”

Jacs & simone.
“You’re a good woman Simone…”

& Jacs gets some bad news.
“Seven year I’ve been in here and another seven years all because of you and you’re sorry“!

Jacs walks along the corridor in slow motion…

More horrible flashbacks.

jacs to Brayden:
“It’s time, time to break up with Debbie..”
“Time’s up..”
You’ll be back!”
No, I Won’t”

end of excerpts


Well I have to say i nearly baulked about watching or writing about Wentworth Prison any more.  Since relating sexual shenanigans is one thing but describing verbatim violence is another.

Thing is, I found the ending of this episode to be utterly horrific and deeply upsetting. Not much fun to be had in writing about that.  No Siree.

I suppose i could say that Jacs takes the ultimate revenge.  Looking back on the episode we see that it is  tit for tat escalation of violence.  Predicted and warned about by Erica to Bea.

Loyalties are fluid and moving and some of the women, or nearly all and certainly Doreen: are subject to brainwashing and blackmail from the sinister power of Jacs.

Franky fearlessly fights Jacs on behalf of her gang/crew and as a lone power struggle one on one.  Indeed like the two matriarch Hippos in my original allusion.

Hey you don’t mess with a Hippo.  Ever seen two fight?  It ain’t pretty.  Likewise they could be any primates locked in a fight to the death battle.  Or at least a mortal wounding leaving the other to limp off, preferably seen as useless now and lost in status to the rest of their group.

Often left isolated and alone.

Erica too, is a powerful contender.  As once she leaves off fiddling about beneath her desk and mooning over Franky she too is battling to enforce some order, some power.

 & Erica is playing hard to get with Franky.  Either that or Erica has decided she really is straight.

& We see a whole other side to Vera that is rather unexpected. & Just what, we are left to wonder did Jacs ask Vera to do that caused Vera to have a full blown panic attack in the corridor?

Hopefully it just involved needles.

Yet how sweet and swift was Fletcher with his brilliant cure for panic attacks?
“Breathe in through the heart.”
“Breath out through the stomach.”
Look at me, look at me”

Ah.  I had high hopes for Vera & Fletcher. They may well still go to that movie.

Fletcher, whose blood-stained shirt changing caused Vera to increase her speed to furiously scrubbing the stain as we all, along with her, paused for an infinitesimal expectant moment for Fletcher to take his vest off too.  However this apparition never occurred.

But sadly Vera has given Fletcher the we-are-colleagues-and- I-wouldn’t-want-to lose-a-friend speech.

So there will be no Vera & Fletcher.
Sitting in a tree (on the steps at the prison)