The Split BBC

BBC One’s The Split season 3 premiered last night and viewers are reacting to that devastating ending

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BBC One’s legal drama The Split is back for a third and final season, but a surprise ending to episode one has left viewers in disbelief. 

Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Split season three, episode one.

As well as being one of the most-watched drama series on BBC One back in 2020, fans of The Split have patiently been waiting for its return. What more could you want from a drama, after all, than to have divorce lawyers navigating their own messy relationships?

Well, last night, fans of The Split were overjoyed – and quickly put into a state of shock – with the premiere episode of season three.

The upcoming season will be the last and it seems as though it’s already getting off to an explosive start. We got a glimpse into Hannah (Nicola Walker) and Nathan’s (Stephen Mangan) now fraught relationship that was made even frostier with the addition of Nathan’s new girlfriend, Kate. 

The Split
Nicola Walker as Hannah and Stephen Mangan as Nathan in BBC One's The Split.

While that was one of the first episode’s main focuses – not least because we all assumed Hannah and Nathan were one of the last remaining “happily divorced” couples in the series – we also explored Tyler’s (Damien Molony) affair with Nina (Annabel Scholey) and James and Rose being approached to become adoptive parents.

It’s safe to say it was already a jam-packed episode that we had no problem slipping back into after the series hiatus. What we weren’t quite expecting, though, was the shocking death of James (Rudi Dharmalingam). 

Just as we thought the episode was wrapping up, the final few minutes saw James being hit by a car while riding his bike. It came just moments after he’d admitted to Hannah that he didn’t want to “miss out on life”. 

The Split BBC
The Split season three is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

In another tearjerking realisation, his untimely death came after Hannah also told James she was “all in” and expressed that he’d be the best father.

It seems as though we were all clutching the Kleenex in those last few moments of episode one:

While it was an emotional one, we’re still bowled over at how great a series return that was:

All the cast are just superb, but Walker really is one of our all-time favourite actors:

And it may all be available to watch on iPlayer but we’re going to try and exercise some control and watch it weekly:

While the first episode of series three can only pave the way for all the drama we’re sure will come in this final season of The Split, it may not actually be the last time we see some variation of this legal drama on our screens.

Speaking to RadioTimes, series creator Abi Morgan revealed that she was still hoping to work with the cast again in the future, stating that there are “more stories to be told”.

“Watch this space,” she teased. “I’m sure there’ll be news about that very soon. But I really love those actors. I’m definitely hoping I get to work with them again.

“And I think we know that there’s a real audience and appetite for this world,” she added. “And certainly the world of divorce law, which is just infinitely exciting and fascinating. And there are just more stories to be told. So fingers crossed.”

We won’t begin to speculate which characters may or may not be involved in this potential spin-off because if this first episode has taught us anything, it’s that we’re in for a series of surprises. 

All episodes of The Split season three are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer, with episodes airing weekly on BBC One on Mondays at 9pm.

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Images: BBC

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