The second episode of BBC One’s Roadkill started off slowly, but it wasn’t long before we were back aboard a rollercoaster of intrigue. A rollercoaster which ended, of course, on a dark road and with a smash of broken glass.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?
“The time has come for a totally new approach [to the justice system],” he told them. “We are the European champions at locking people up… why are we wasting so much public money on a policy that’s not working?
Then, seemingly aiming his words at someone else entirely (our money’s on the prime minister), Peter added firmly: “I have come to Justice. Let there be no mistake: I am going to shake things up.
“Justice deserves that.”
Inside the prison, meanwhile, inmates Steff (Gbemisola Ikumelo) and Rose (Shalom Brune-Franklin) are accused of instigating the fiery riots we saw in last week’s episode.
Rose (that’s Peter’s alleged illegitimate daughter, keep up!) takes it all in her stride. She wants a public inquiry, she says, into the prison system’s failings. Steff, though, seems shaken to learn that she might have another 200 days added to her sentence.
And, while she doesn’t crack under questioning about her recent chat with Peter, it seems unlikely she will keep her silence for long.
Elsewhere, barrister Rochelle Madeley (Pippa Bennett-Warner) meets with Margaret Moore (Katie Leung) to find out what dirt she has on her former client, Peter.
Despite this, though, Rochelle feigns disinterest as Margaret shoves a dossier across the pub table at her. Margaret, though, is confident that the barrister will be unable to resist reading the contents of the file. They’re just that juicy.
Over at Number 10, PM Dawn Ellison (Helen McCrory) calls Peter in to rake him over the coals for his unapproved speech on prison reform.
“We lock people up. We’re famous for it. We do it in the interest of public safety,” she tells him, reminding the audience once again that she is a fictional Tory leader.
Then, looking Laurence right in the eye, she tells him: “You think you’re too popular to be sacked. But if the moment comes, I’d be more than happy to prove you wrong.”
It’s at this point that the drama really starts to ramp up, as photos of Peter’s daughter, Lily (Millie Brady), are plastered all over the newspapers. Photos of her (ahem) snorting cocaine at a party, no less.
She and her father are soon bickering over her irresponsible behaviour (“I just want you to accept when something is your fault,” he tells her, a sentence that’s clearly going to come back and bite him in the ass), and she sets to stalking him around London. Cue her uncovering his affair with Madeleine (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and dashing home to Hastings to spill the beans to her mum.
As this family soap opera plays out, Peter’s special advisor Duncan Knock (Iain de Caestecker) decides to add to it by stealing a DNA sample from his boss so that he can determine whether Rose truly is his illegitimate daughter. And, yeah, it turns out she is.
But the biggest story of the episode is playing out in Washington, where Charmian (Sarah Greene) is doing her best to gather evidence that proves Peter is planning to privatise the NHS.
Her mission starts off so well, at first: she tricks Barry (Michael Shelford) into having a drink with her and spilling his guts about the shady British American Development Forum (BADF).
“I work in a lobby group, dressed up as a think tank. It’s not illegal,” he tells the woman whom he believes to be ‘Stella’.
“Say for instance, you want to sell tobacco. You can’t just say smoking is good, so you have to dream up a philosophy.”
Charmian charms Barry, enough to disappoint him when she hails a taxi to head back to her hotel. It’s not long before she’s meeting him in his office for a private dinner, though, and, while she believes she’s fully in control of the situation, it quickly becomes clear that Barry knows more about her than he’s saying.
He plies the recovering alcoholic with spiked grapefruit juice, causing her to become “blurry” and a little unsure on her feet. He asks pointed questions about her fictional sister, too. And, when she staggers off to meet with someone who’ll talk to her about the BADF on the record, he watches her go with a steely glint in his eye.
The former BADF employee tells Charmian exactly what she wants to hear: that Peter was unofficially paid £500,000 via a shell company to meet with American pharmaceutical companies.
Glowing with excitement, Charmian leaves and promptly calls Luke (Danny Ashok) to tell him of her success.
“You sound a little blurry,” he tells her, just as Charmian realises she’s being pursued by two strange men.
Our favourite Irish journalist cancels the call, telling Luke she’ll ring him back in 20 minutes, and dashes into a terrifying labyrinth of dodgy alleyways. All the while, the unseen men pursue her, calling out that they “just want to talk” to her.
And then, as she turns to look at them? Bam! She’s taken out by a white minivan, Regina George in Mean Girls-style.
Charmian isn’t the only one to suffer a road accident, of course. Peter, summoned to Hastings by his presumably incensed wife, answers the phone to Duncan as he makes the drive home.
Duncan, of course, tells his boss that a) he sneakily conducted a DNA test behind his back, and b) that the results have come back positive: Rose (unless there’s some clever subterfuge going on) is his daughter.
Cue a panicked Peter smashing his car directly into a deer in the headlights (a clunky metaphor, but we’ll take it), his windscreen shattering into a million pieces. Phew.
So, has the first episode of Roadkill left you with more questions than answers? Don’t worry: Stylist’s digital editor-at-large Kayleigh Dray is here to do her utmost best to unravel them all.
First things first, is Charmian dead?
The laws of TV usually dictate that major characters are never killed off-camera, but it didn’t look good: that minivan was going at full speed. And Charmian was completely wiped out. And Sarah Greene is a very talented, very busy actor with lots of projects up her sleeve.
Hmm. I have a feeling that, should Charmian be back, she will no longer be in a position to take Peter down. After all, the hospital recovery time needed after an accident like that isn’t going to be quick…
Did Barry arrange for her to be killed?
He certainly seemed a shifty sort, didn’t he? And we wouldn’t put a crime like that past anyone who spikes a woman’s drink. However, he could just as easily have arranged for those two men to go pick her up and bring her back to his, so he could work out what she knew about BADF. The careening minivan could just be… well, it could just be bad luck.
Did Peter’s wife know about his affair?
Well, everyone certainly seemed to think that Helen (Saskia Reeves) knew that her husband had a mistress in London. Even she tells Lily that she both “did and didn’t know,” whatever that means. But she does call Peter home to Hastings at Lily’s behest, and she does insist he take her call when he tries to fob her off, too.
Maybe she suspected the affair, but didn’t actually know for sure. And maybe she’d been happily living her life as a choirmistress, preferring to put that sordid detail out of her mind, until Lily barged in and told her all about it.
We guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Will Peter survive his crash?
Peter’s going to be fine, guys: he was wearing a seatbelt, remember?
Whether his career will survive, though, remains to be seen. People are already mad that his daughter hasn’t been arrested for taking drugs: I imagine they’ll be less than happy to learn that the actual Minister of Justice has gotten away with driving on the phone, too.
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What is in Margaret’s dossier?
Something pretty terrible. Just last week, Margaret insisted that Peter’s past is a “sinister” one – and we know, too, that she is dating Sydney (Emma Cunniffe). As in, yes, Peter’s chauffeur. As in, yes, the woman who hears every conversation that goes on in the back of her car.
It probably won’t be long until Rochelle cracks and opens the file. And, when she does, we have a feeling it’s going to paint Peter in a far less favourable light than that of merely being a sleazy, power-hungry, self-declared “libertarian”.
How much does the prime minister know about Peter’s past?
The PM isn’t a fan of Peter. At all.
But does she really know anything about his shady past? Hardly. Indeed, McCrory told the Radio Times that her character “doesn’t realise how dangerous he is” at all.
“I think she realises that he is popular and that he is highly ambitious, as she is, and he is without scruples, as she is. But what she doesn’t realise is how many supporters he has,” she says.
Is Rose really Peter’s daughter?
Hmm, good question. The DNA evidence says yes, but Rose has already made it very clear that she’s smart – and that she wants to expose the truth about the prison system. Could it be that this is just a small part of her plan to make the media aware of what’s going on behind (literal) bars?
And, finally, is Roadkill actually any good?
It’s a bit silly and schlocky in places, yeah, but it’s got a stonking good cast. And it’s nice to have a proper political thriller to sink one’s teeth into.
Plus, it’s only four episodes long. And, in today’s busy world of streaming, an actual miniseries is a rare thing of beauty indeed.
The next episode of Roadkill will air Sunday 1 November at 9pm on BBC One.
Read our Roadkill episode one recap.
Images: BBC One
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.