[http://www.seat42f.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/PRETTY-LITTLE-LIARS-S eason-4-Episode-12-Now-You-See-Me-Now-You-Dont-1.jpg]Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26View Source
Episode one of What Remains presents us with a game of Cluedo. A woman's body is discovered in the loft of a shared address, but who killed her, and with what? Was it the maths teacher with the rope? The journalist with the candlestick? Or the lesbian with the lead piping?
We'll find out over the course of the next three episodes thanks to David Threlfall's drowsy old-school detective, Len Harper, a widowed tortoise in a leather jacket determined to solve the case despite it landing in his in-tray on his - yes, really - last day on the force. (At least, we hope he's going to solve it. Since one woman had to point to her roundly pregnant belly and explain "It's a baby" to him, there's some cause to doubt his deductive skills.) Well might Len identify with poor dead Melissa Young, living as he does alone, now-retired, and with no children.
That's the distressing kernel inside What Remains' whodunit intrigue: how can somebody's disappearance go unnoticed? More provocatively put, were you to disappear one day, would anyone miss you? It's a more mainstream phrasing of the question posed by Carol Morley's powerful 2011 film, Dreams of a Life.
Wrapping its tragic themes up in a murder mystery thriller may have secured What Remains a prime BBC One slot, but it also cheapens them. Unlike Dreams of a Life's empathetic, non-exploitative approach to the deeply sad story of a young woman whose death goes unmarked for years, What Remains goes for shock over human sadness. Its compassionate enquiry into the isolation of modern society is undermined by the callous pun in its title and its gruesome insistence on parading a decomposed corpse around like a memento mori carnival queen. One glimpse of that grey, powdery mass of exploded person would have been enough, surely. Did we have to see it from every angle on the slab and hear about swelling, gas build-up and burst abdomens?