REVIEW: Deadwater Fell, Episode 3

Deadwater Fell Ep3

The penultimate episode of Deadwater Fell reveals more of Tom’s villainy while also exploring the catastrophic consequences of toxic masculinity. The miniseries continues to paint a picture of Tom as the cruel and controlling psychopath who had successfully integrated himself in his society by adopting a facade of affability and respectability. But after the fire, his true colors and the true state of his marriage, are becoming clear.

Deadwater Fell Ep3The real tragedy, as another writer notes, was that the signs were all there but people chose to look the other way. Tom’s mother, Carol, allowed him to get away with his problematic behavior even when she saw the toll it was taking on Kate. Jess and Sasha were unwitting victims, and even Steve had not believed Kate when she had explicitly begged him to save her.

Tom’s power lay in somehow convincing or subtly coercing people not to stand up to him and that’s what let him get away with wreaking such havoc on his community for years. The silence of those aware of his transgressions made them complicit in his crimes.

Deadwater Fell Ep3While the previous episode showed much from the perspective of Jess, this episode spent more time with Steve as he continued his investigation and grappled with the guilt about having ignored Kate’s cry for help. Steve made the mistake of forcing Dylan to give false testimony, just to incriminate Tom, but this backfires on him. He’s still dealing with the trauma of having jumped into the fire to save the family as well as his own family struggles with his sons, his ex-wife, and the increasingly frustrated Jess.

Steve is mandate to attend therapy sessions but the way he has been raised has made him reluctant to express and acknowledge his own emotions. He believes the therapy is not effective because he does not take it seriously, choosing instead to take the macho route of drowning his sorrows in drink and lashing out at others. While clearly he means well, Steve is yet another victim of the kind of toxic masculinity that continues to pervade even in our modern society.

Deadwater Fell Ep3Deadwater Fell also shows the depths of Tom’s misogyny not just in the obviously horrendous way he manipulated Kate, Jess, and Sasha, but even in his casual, condescending interactions with other women like his lawyer, and DC Darlington. He also seems to dominate his mother, Carol, who has become a more sympathetic character now that we see the kind of son she has to put up with.

Carol does make some acts of rebellion in this episode by repaying Tom’s debts to his in-laws and not visiting him in prison. Because of Steve’s mishap, Tom does get out of prison in the end but his innocence is still being questioned.

The case is looking more and more damning for Tom on Deadwater Fell and while there are no definitive answers yet, the finale will have not only to resolve the central mystery but also find a way to bring a hopeful conclusion to those who were left behind in the ashes of that grisly crime.