REVIEW: Deadwater Fell, Episode 4 – Finale

Deadwater Fell concluded its tragic tale with truth, justice, and even a bit of hope.

While the show first seemed to be set up as a mystery thriller, it proved to be simply but effectively a painful, affecting drama. In a way, it is reminiscent of The Leftovers in its exploration of grief and loss in a community after a cataclysmic event, without dwelling too much on what made the event so unique.

In the end, Deadwater Fell did not offer any shocking twist. Tom murdered his family because he felt entitled to when they would not fall under his control. After spending the last two episodes from the perspectives of Jess and Steve, we finally see things from Tom’s point of view and it’s an elaborate masquerade.

Deadwater Fell Ep4He has been lying to everyone, himself included, for years, trying maintain this facade of being a “good husband” and a “good father” when all he ever cared about was himself. He tries to act like a pillar of the community to hide the misogynistic poison within. He even tries to win sympathy from Jess by talking about an abusive childhood that Carol confirms never existed. And as mentioned in the last review, it was mostly other people’s fear and silence that had allowed Tom to get away with so much for so long.

Ironically, his own plan to commit murder-suicide of his family backfired on him and created the opportunity for people to see him as he really is. He found out that Kate was planning to divorce him and after a heated confrontation, he decides that no one is allowed to leave him. Watching him make the preparations for the horrible crime was chilling since he did it in such a cold and calculating way, never flinching or showing any real remorse or nervousness about the abomination he was about to commit.

David Tennant’s performance here may even be more disturbing than his turn as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones because Tom is a regular person and not a comic book villain. Jess even points out that he is painfully “banal” and that’s what made him so dangerous.

Deadwater Fell Ep4Thankfully, the show veers away from showing too much violence, particularly the murder of the three children. Once it is firmly established that Tom is truly the guilty party, the rest of the episode is spent trying to  bring resolution to the lives of those left behind.

Jess comes out on top here as she repairs her relationship with Steve and they both see a way forward. He recognizes the need to confront his own trauma and to let his young son face his grief. The couple have a serious talk about what they want for their future and whether it really is a child of their own or simply a way to be together properly. There is some hope for them yet and it’s a wonderful contrast to the overall tragedy of the series.

Deadwater Fell Ep4As Tom is arrested for a second time, he disappears from the scene and the focus is shifted to his victims, Kate in particular. The final scene is a flashback to a smiling Kate, from happier times, when her friendship with Jess had sustained her through her struggles. She may have died but she is at least finally free from the cage Tom had trapped her in and people, such as Jess, can remember her with more kindness.

Deadwater Fell is no Broadchurch but it is remarkable in its achievement of depicting the aftermath of a tragedy on a small community and how they realize that they had been living with a monster in their midst from so long.