Episode 2 of Ordeal by Innocence shows that being an ass to everyone is guaranteed to get you killed.
Atonement: Arthur, Leo, Mickey, Bellamy, Lydia, Jack
So, when it comes to Arthur, he has told half-truths so far. Is he a doctor? Yes. Was he driving a car that night that he let Jack get into? This is true. However, the whole artic story? That was BS. Really, he was escaping an asylum he seemingly went to when he realized he had a small part in the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs. At least, that is the closest thing to a reason for going mad we are given.
But, this we don’t find out until Arthur returns after Mickey, rather forcefully, takes Arthur to the train and makes sure it takes off. However, upon his return, he calls the cops and the same man who reported the evidence against Jack, Bellamy sees Arthur, turns about, and tries to kill him. Only killing himself in the process.
Thus leading to the need to question why? Was he trying to cover up he framed Jack for messing around with his wife? Could it be someone paid him to take out Jack and also Arthur, later on? We know Leo gives his kids an allowance so it could be him but with him fine with the cops coming, so begins the question of whether he is innocent or has a tight alibi?
Question: How could someone like Arthur escape an asylum? He is lanky, jittery, and doesn’t seem to have that much in strength. How did he get past the bars, guards, and overcome whatever medicine and procedures I’m sure he was subject to? On top of that, what are the chances Leo killed his wife for the money?
One thing we have yet to see is Leo’s relationship with his wife or any real indication he had money of his own. All that we know is she adopted children and he was expected to play dad to them. Which he seemingly did well enough for the kids to not hate him and feel a bit protective of him. Hence why, outside of Philip, no one has said or done anything which could be considered cruel towards him.
Well, maybe the exception being Jack? While Jack seemed to care more about getting a rise out of Rachel, who is to say Leo, perhaps already upset about all these kids, couldn’t deal with Jack’s antics anymore? But, all of this focuses on Jack and ignores Rachel. Which may or may not be intentional.
Where Were You The Night Of?: Mary, Tina, Mickey, Hester, Philip
With Arthur claiming to be able to exonerate Jack, and Leo not chasing him away this time, it puts everyone on notice. Particularly it puts Philip on notice for he has spent quite some time harassing his in-laws. He even gets fresh with Tina and Hester. But, with realizing one of them could be a murderer, if not a multitude of them, it causes quite a bit of fear in him. Something Mary relishes in since he is consistently cruel to her. However, her vitriol gets saved for her siblings during nightfall.
For it is in the forest, a secret sibling meeting, when she puts out how much she truly hated them all and felt Rachel should have stopped adopting children after her. Like Philip at breakfast, she insults each and every sibling and it comes to a point where you wonder if she snapped on Rachel. Hence the blood she had on her person that night.
As for Tina, Mickey, and Hester? Well, Hester’s excuse was she was sick so that blood could have very well been her own. Then, when it comes to Mickey and Tina? Well, they were outside. Tina came to the house because she wanted to change her position in the library and Mickey was there to support her. However, what gives them an alibi is Rachel saw them both before she went back to the house, and seemingly greeted them at the car.
Well, maybe greeting them would imply the conversation was taken kindly. In truth, she said no or demanded something. Whatever it was, Mickey didn’t take well to it. Either way, we get an alibi out of Mickey, Tina, and Hester. As for the blood on Mary? That hasn’t been explained.
You really do have to wonder what led Rachel to pick each child. What was so special or interesting about them? Were they orphaned by the war? Local children she bought just because? While often shown as a cruel woman, this group doesn’t seem capable of killing her. Well, at least Tina and Hester. Mickey has a temper but could he hurt a woman? Then with Mary, considering how little bite she has, what would be the thing Rachel could say or do to back her into a corner and make her snap?
Plus, all things considered, if Mary was a murderer she probably would have killed one of her siblings long before Rachel. Especially since she was the only one who didn’t pair up with someone. Giving her all the reason to take someone out for feeling forced into isolation.
You Should of Kept Your Mouth Shut: Philip, Arthur, Leo, Kirsten, Rachel
With Leo claiming innocence, even advocating Arthur going to the police, he presents himself as someone who likely didn’t kill his wife. Add on Philip was in bed with a broken back and even he, for money, seemingly didn’t do it. Leaving Kirsten. She was worse off than Mary since, unlike the rest Rachel adopted, she didn’t get to be treated as a child. She was the help. Add on she was with Rachel up to two minutes before she died and it does push the idea she might have snapped and screamed upon realizing what she did.
It would also explain why she is lurking about, always trying to listen to what other people are saying. But, what really pushes the idea Kirsten could be the murderer is because Philip is found dead. Now, he is found dead in the shower, looking like he overdosed. And while Philip surely wasn’t a happy man, considering he tried to leave and seemingly saw the would-be killer, that has to mean something right? Plus, with him in a wheelchair, moving the body and dumping it wouldn’t be hard. Maybe flipping him over and making it look like he OD’d would be troublesome, but considering most people sleep upstairs, it isn’t like they could make hear what went down.
In my life, the only thing of Agatha Christie’s I read was And Then There Were None, and that’s only because it was mandatory in middle school. With that said, I find this story a tad bit of a bore. Which I want to say isn’t the performances but more so the writing. There is no air of mystery and as much as the wheels are turning for who did what, being that Jack was a bit mad, Rachel was an ass, and so was Philip, it isn’t like I strongly desire justice. They all liked to antagonize people. Which doesn’t mean they deserved to die but everyone knew what kind of people they were dealing with. Rachel picked and raised these children with a bit of cruelty. Jack decided everyone was fair game and eventually he played with the wrong one. Then with Philip, he was a miserable ass who made sure his misery had company.
When, amongst all of this, am I supposed to be invested in a killer being found? Especially from a cast that doesn’t elicit strong scrutiny? Should we take interest since it seems Tina and Mickey were messing around and Rachel didn’t approve? Mary because she wanted to be an only child or Hester because? Well, Hester is rather a blank slate at this point. What about Kirsten? How about Leo?
To me, while I understand the reverence that Agatha Christie gets, and don’t necessarily have bad memories of reading her book, a part of me wonders why, in modern times, adaptations can’t match her perceived brilliance? Is it simply, like most famous books, a daunting task which requires too many changes to fit into a cohesive narrative? Isn’t that the point of a mini-series?
Luckily, there is but one additional episode so maybe we may get the climax and an interesting conclusion all in episode 3. Since it seems we’re still building up to something in this one. And I hope Philip’s death wasn’t supposed to be the shocker before the fall.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- Leo notes they lived in that house and area for 25 years.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Was Tina the only one who moved out of the house or did the others as well?
- What was Hester sick with that made the others think she’d die?
- Was there any significance to Bellamy’s Signet Ring (with a crown shaped emblem) it was focused on twice, and noted as a means to identify him. Have we met another person with the same ring? Also, taking note of Jack’s kiss, was him jailing Jack, and attempting to murder Arthur, maybe to hide some homosexual relationship? I’m just saying, with Jack, you never know.
- Did Philip marry Mary just for money or was there love in that relationship?
- The bomb shelter didn’t seem to be something Rachel shared with everyone. How did Kirsten discover it? Why does she like to go into it fairly often?
On The Fence
- While the performances are kind of interesting, they don’t push a real desire for answers as much as you are intrigued about their relationships with each other. Making it sometimes feel like Rachel’s death, even Jack being falsely accused, could easily become an afterthought if it wasn’t brought up.