BBC One’s Sherwood is already shaping up to be one of the drama highlights of the year, not least because of episode two’s deadly twist.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Sherwood episode two.
If you’ve been tuning into Sherwood on BBC One these past couple of nights, you’ll know that the crime drama has everything we love – and more. It manages to blend topical British history with murder (that quickly escalates to two murders in episode two), family, policing, politics and a simmering whodunnit that you just can’t tear your eyes away from.
We know that the BBC has treated us to some truly excellent series in the past but we mean it when we say that Sherwood is one of the year’s finest. Not only does it have a cast of familiar faces, but after last night’s episode, it underlined its ability to weave in unexpected moments that left us with our jaws skimming the floor.
After episode one, we knew there was an arrow wielding murderer on the loose, we knew that the word ‘scab’ was one of the most derogatory things to be called in the Nottinghamshire mining town and we also knew that the tensions from 1984 miners’ strike were definitely not forgotten. In episode two, we start with Julie Jackson (Lesley Manville) being given the news that her husband, Gary, is dead.
That grief unfolds throughout the entirety of the episode: her sister Cathy (Claire Rushbrook) doesn’t quite know how to comfort her after years of not speaking, Julie’s grandchildren have to console their heartbroken grandmother and the eyes of suspicion start to fall on those around the town.
But it’s the somewhat unexpected focus on Andy Parker (Adeel Akhtar) in this episode that foreshadows the twist that we’re still reeling from. His train is targeted by an arrow in the opening moments of episode two, and like many, you’re left to wonder if Andy is a potential target. He lives by himself, often sitting in the darkness and watching train documentaries, so you can’t help thinking he’s a passive, sitting duck.
He’s on the fringes of society, and generally, you just can’t help but feel sorry for him – he’s dealing with his son Neel’s (Bally Gill) marriage to Sarah (Joanne Froggatt), changing family dynamics and is still reckoning with his wife’s death.
So, of course, it comes as a major surprise when, in the final moments of the episode, we’re confronted with a side to Andy that we weren’t expecting at all.
“I’m sorry, I really don’t like how you can just walk in,” Sarah says as she comes out of the bathroom to find Andy in her kitchen. He’s dropping off a package, but it’s clear that Sarah is generally very uncomfortable in Andy’s presence.
Andy lingers and the conversations proceeds to revolve around Neel, with Sarah stating: “He’s not just your son anymore, he’s my husband. And we want a life together.”
Andy is upset about the plans for their shared garden and a gate that he wanted erected between their spaces. Instead, the newlywed couple are siding with what their landscape gardener wants. But it’s something that Neel’s mother would have wanted, Andy argues. “His mother isn’t here anymore,” Sarah says, and that’s when we learn that Andy’s wife died by suicide.
It’s a visible trigger for him, and as anger flashes over his face, he picks up the shovel on the countertop and kills Sarah. He’s no longer the timid, well-meaning family man, but instead, someone who doesn’t take well to change – a sentiment that is woven throughout Sherwood.
And it’s safe to say it was an episode ending we truly didn’t see coming:
The series may be a slow-burner, but it certainly does deliver on shocking moments:
We may only be two episodes in, but we just know the next episodes are going to continue to deliver:
The weekly instalments of the new drama are proving to be great. After all, tension and questions need to build over the weeks, right?
Lest we forget that as well as that shock ending, Lesley Manville delivered a chillingly excellent performance:
And, of course, the cast is jam-packed with recognisable British acting talent:
It’s a well-crafted television series, and one we can’t wait to see unfold over the coming weeks:
The first two episodes of Sherwood are available to watch on BBC iPlayer with the next two airing on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 June at 9pm on BBC One.