In the first series we learn that Marcella is a brilliant detective with a problem: some horrible event in her past, which she can't remember, plus the death of her newborn daughter from 'cot death (called crib death or SIDS in this country), provoke panic attacks/fugue states in which she does things, often life-threatening, that she can't remember. Meanwhile, her husband is dumping her, she knows not why. She does some great detective work and eventually (very eventually) solves the overly complicated case, and that should have been enough. Unfortunately, the series got great reviews from people devoted more to histrionics than actual drama, paving the way for the lavishly violent, incredibly over plotted and utterly unbelievable second series. Here, almost every character--and there are WAY too many of them--is utterly despicable or a sicko of some sort. It starts with ritual murders of random children (17, it's eventually learned) for no known reason. The subtext is abandonment: Marcella has abandoned her family for her job; her husband has abandoned her for yet another woman (the first was murdered in Series 1, with Marcella made to look guilty for fake-drama purposes); her bosses (one of whom is sleeping with her) abandon the department to this nutcase who is a danger to herself and others; her children (a psychologically damaged 12-year-old son and a fairly level-headed 15(?)-year-old daughter) abandon her off and on; the boss who sleeps with her semi-abandons her for an ice-queen blonde who is a saintly do-gooder running a foundation for poor kids which is in turn threatened by the pig-capitalist husband to whom she is non-credibly married and whose tone-deaf behavior would send Bernie Sanders into cardiac arrest. Then there is the lesbian couple demoralized by financial troubles because of failed in-vitro treatments, which leads one of them, who works at the Foundation, to get involved in a lucrative blackmail scheme in the ice queen's behalf to pay for another shot at in vitro, even though she doesn't want a kid anyway, while the one who DOES want a kid tries to get pregnant the conventional way by inviting some random saloon lout to violently shag her in a restroom toilet stall. There's also a sick member of Marcella's squad, who uses his tech expertise to spy on her home life. At first furious, Marcella cools off when she realizes that she can a) blackmail the guy into digging up dirt on her husband's lover and b) get proof that her husband was trying to blackmail HER. A marginally sympathetic customer in the first series, he's despicable in Series 2. During one of Marcella's attacks he slashes and bruises himself; when she 'comes to,' so to speak, blackmails her: if she doesn't sign over the kid, he'll tell the court how she knifed and beat him, thus costing her not only the kids but her career. Meanwhile the latest kidnap victim just barely escapes from his country-house dungeon and is given a lift by passing motorists, but any hope of great-god-almighty-and-ending at-last is quickly dashed--bashed, really, when the rescuing motorists' car gets into a competition with an oncoming train and wins the silver medal. This give the scriptwriters the chance to produce another kidnapping, and the victim, wouldn't you know it, is Marcella's son! From here we proceed to the further lunacy required to ID and nail the killer who is--well, you wouldn't guess in a million years because it's totally made up and straight out of left field. Enough? But wait--there's more, as they say on TV. In fact there are TWO more endings coming!. First, it has already been established that Marcella is seeking help for her mental derangement via laughably silly recovered-memory therapy: the therapist simply says she'll count down from 5 and presto! Marcella will go back to the Terrible Thing that occurred. And that first time, she almost makes it. Now, after the serial killer is caught and her son has been saved, Marcella goes back for more therapy. She voyages back to the very day and place of the Terrible Thing--her newborn baby's nursery. The infant has colic and has been screaming her bloody head off without letup for two solid days. (This scene feels as if it were filmed in real time.) Alone, with no one to help her, distraught, frantic and on the edge, Marcella hugs the infant to her breast and, overdoing that as she does everything else, accidentally suffocates the child. This in time leads her to the ledge on the roof of police HQ, thinking to end it all. But then a fellow officer who has been nothing but a cold fish for all of two seasons, suddenly turns all melty compassionate and pulls her back. OK? Well, sort of. She compromises by slashing herself with her scissors and running off into the night. In the SECOND extra ending she's found sleeping rough under a bridge, looking homeless and destitute, which she is. But then she is wakened by a stranger from some mysterious, off-the-record enforcement agency. The squat she had been living in, he says, has burnt to the ground, its occupants so badly incinerated they had to be ID'd by DNA. Since Marcella's DNA was found there, she has been made officially and legally dead. And that, my friends, is exactly the kind of non-person the mysterious agency needs to carry out its mysterious deeds. Thus is the stage set for the threat of yet a third season of Marcella. The wise viewer is well advised to imitate the actions of Brave Sir Robin:Run away! Run away!
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