Synopsis: A man named Ed who works for a railway meets a mysterious woman named Linda who wants to travel to a stop that doesn’t exist. His curiosity piqued, Ed, played by Timothy Spall, boards a train and travels for the exact length of time it is stated to reach the stop. Leaping from the carriage into a field Ed soon discovers the town of Macon Heights, a seemingly perfect place.
At home Ed’s son Sam, played by Anthony Boyle, is struggling with psychosis and aggression. After Ed has been to Macon Heights more than once he returns home to find his wife in tears that they never had a child. After hearing jazz music playing in the night Ed discovers some old videos of Sam in the roof. He returns to Macon Heights demanding his son back. After an emotional exchange with Linda Ed goes back to his house to find Sam in the kitchen.
Review: This was an utterly fantastic episode. The shots of Ed’s workaday life at the start presented the grim and gritty reality he inhabits really well. I felt Ed and his co-worker spoke and acted like real people would, which becomes a Chekhov’s gun when Ed demands that his son be returned to him despite the problems in their relationship. There were some brilliant human moments throughout the episode like when Ed and his wife ask each other if they are frightened by their son. There are some lovely camera shots used in this episode when the people are walking across the fields to get to Macon Heights as well as the imagery of the train journeys.
The initial shot of Macon Heights looming out of the fog is amazing and also subverted in the next scene with the town being eerily clean. Special mention must go to Hayley Squires, who plays the waitress in the café Ed visits. While at first she seems ordinary the actress delivers an amazing performance when she recalls being raped. Also brilliant was Tuppence Middleton who plays Linda. I loved the final confrontation between her and Ed when Ed orders her to give Sam back to him. Tuppence Middleton plays the cold and clinical character very well which contrasts nicely with Ed’s everyman hero.
I loved when Timothy Spall talked about the moments of happiness he experienced despite the issues in his relationship with his son. The music in this episode is excellent, from the frenetic score used when Ed first gets on the train to the inappropriately timed jazz when he is trying to connect with Sam. As I watched this episode I thought it would follow the pattern of last week’s, ie an everyman is seduced into a dreamlike world by an attractive woman. This was subverted when Sam was returned to reality at the end. I loved this conclusion and I felt it fitted the ordinary hero that Timothy Spall portrayed.
Overall a great and touching story that was well acted.
- Incidental Music10