TV Review: Strike - The Silkworm (Episode 2)
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Following the dramatic events of last week's episode, Strike returns with fervour this week, desperate to solve the case and set an innocent woman free. As he and Robin begin to provoke Owen Quine's inner circle, they discover new secrets and expose the truth of the grotesque 'Bombyx Mori' manuscript. The episode opens with Robin watching a TV interview of the ever-enigmatic suspect, Andrew Fancourt - an old frenemy of Owen Quine's who has been pretty suss up to this point. Asked about his late wife, Fancourt stumbles on her name, saying "Effigy" instead of "Ellie." Sure enough, this conjures up yet more weird, culty images, straight from the pages of Bombyx Mori, in which Fancourt brands his wife with a "lust" iron as punishment for her bad writing. Meanwhile, Strike faces questions from the press following Leonora Quine's arrest - ever the good and humourous investigator, he "bets his remaining leg" that she is innocent and proceeds to visit Leonora in prison with a lawyer friend. There, he reveals that the family credit card was used to buy some suspicious items - namely a burka, some ropes and overalls - that were delivered to the "nightmare" house that Owen was found in. Leonora protests her innocence, whilst also revealing that Quine's manuscript was about "how a silkworm gets boiled alive, like he was by his critics." Agitated, frustrated, scared - and desperate to return to her daughter Dodo - it's hard not to sympathise with Monica Dolan's affecting performance in this scene. With the "ugly truth" of a blindsided police agenda looming over her, the need for Strike to solve the case once and for all becomes more and more imminent. Elsewhere, Robin's jealous fiancée Matthew answers a phone call regarding the car from last week (in which Robin displayed some impressive off-road driving skills) and confronts her. Clearly driven by his mistrust of Cormoran, and unaware of Robin's own part in the decision to go to Devon, he says that he doesn't want Strike "anywhere near [their] wedding." Any scene with Matthew tends to be uncomfortable to watch, mainly because it reeks of a man wanting to claim ownership of "his" woman - ignorant to Robin's own desire to progress and thrive in her chosen field. A break-up seems imminent - and I, for one, would welcome it.
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