The Tunnel Episode One Review

The Tunnel episode one review | Going up the wrong ‘un

Published by jamdog on 18th October, 2013.

 The Tunnel episode one review

Sky Atlantic

You know this one. Dead chick on a border only it’s two dead chicks either side of a border, an affable but grizzled old cop with a stroppy son and a recent vasectomy, a smoking hot Aspie with a sports car and the electric frisson of excitement you can only get from the flash of sports bra in the office. Where first there was The Bridge (Sweden-Denmark), then came The Bridge (US-Mexico) and now comes The Tunnel (UK-France) – a totally new take on the timeless conflict between cultures and the larks to be had by making your political point by disembowelling dead women. The Greeks believed there were only 8 basic stories but for many in TV there is only one and it’s got some seriously smelly entrails.

The Tunnel is a totally new take on the timeless conflict between cultures and the larks to be had by making your political point by disembowelling dead women.

This time around the body is halfway down the Channel Tunnel. The top part of the corpse belongs to immigrant bashing French MP Marie Villeneuve. She was sceptical about Europe and would no doubt see her murder as glorious vindication of her stance. Welsh prossie Gemma Kirwan brings up the rear and I imagine took it up the rear making her position all the more poignant.

Welsh prossie Gemma Kirwan brings up the rear and I imagine took it up the rear making her position all the more poignant.

DCI Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane who you’ll know as laugh-a-minute Master of Ships Stannis Baratheon on Game of Thrones) is our jokey everyman Britcop and Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy who you’ll know as Isabelle on Sebastian Faulks’ Turdpong) our icy continental cipher. He’s chalk, she’s a very different type of chalk, one that you would never think was chalk at all. Things are difficult between them. She’s strictly by the book; he’s strictly by the bar.

He’s chalk, she’s a very different type of chalk, one that you would never think was chalk at all.

In addition to all that we have the familiar teedy subplots of the blowcial worker helping the immigants, the brokenhearted rich widow and the scumbag journalist. If you were watching this for the first time you’d say this was great. It’s smartly written and moodily directed, Stannis and Isabelle are two powerful presences at its heart and the steam that rises from the clash of their fire and ice powers the drama through the early running.

Stannis and Isabelle are two powerful presences at its heart and the steam that rises from the clash of their fire and ice powers the drama through the early running.

The problem is that this is the third time you’ve seen this tale and so recently it’s absurd. The body isn’t still warm, it’s not even dead yet. The Scandinavian original began its second season in September and The Bridge US remake concluded its first season 3 weeks ago. I’m all for remakes as classy and challenging as Hannibal but this is becoming an echo chamber.

As I was saying to Aaron Sorkin when he floated the idea of a West Wing revival in 1,000,000 A.D.: it’s too soon.

The verdict: Write your own damn story.

Marks out of 10: 7.5

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