Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode one of The Third Day. Read on at your own peril…
If there’s one thing we all want from a good autumn TV show, it’s a bit of suspense.
At a time when the nights are drawing in and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa under a blanket, there truly is nothing better than a show that’s able to keep you on the edge of your seat. And that’s what makes Sky’s new psychological thriller The Third Day so damn good.
Set on the mysterious island of Osea, The Third Day is a story of three parts – Summer, Autumn and Winter – with Autumn being performed as a “live theatrical event” in the middle of the series.
Throughout the other two parts, the show follows the story of Sam (Jude Law) and Helen (Naomie Harris) who both find themselves inextricably drawn to the island. The show’s first three episodes – which form the ‘Summer’ part of the narrative – focus exclusively on Sam’s story.
In the first episode, we saw Sam arrive on the island for the first time – and it was all very creepy. For starters, he only goes to the island in the first place because he rescues a young girl who lives there from hanging herself – an event which causes Sam to become entangled in her story. One hour and countless creepy moments later, Sam finds himself stuck on the island for the night – a situation which, if you’ve watched any horror movie, you know means trouble.
It’s safe to say that the first episode of The Third Day kept us on the edge of our seats, and left us with plenty of unanswered questions to ponder until it returns to our screens next week. Let’s take a closer look.
Who is the little boy?
It may be a cliché of the horror genre, but little kids will always be scary – and the little boy in The Third Day is no exception.
He first makes an appearance at the scene of Epona’s hanging, only to pop-up again once Sam finds himself stuck on the island after the causeway – the island’s only route to the mainland – is cut off by the tide. He also appears at the very end of the episode (when Sam is very drunk) and is shown holding a giant pair of scissors and covered in blood. Lovely, right?
We never get a good look at the little boy’s face – only that he has curly hair and is wearing red shorts – but all the signs point to the fact that he may be Sam’s dead son. Alongside the fact that he is seen laying a child-size T-shirt into a river at the beginning of the episode in a kind of grieving rituals, the Osea locals also make frequent references to his “loss” and appeals for a child on the television, so it kind of makes sense.
What is going on with Epona?
Despite being the reason why Sam ends up on the island, we know relatively little about Epona’s character by the end of the first episode.
It’s clear that she’s struggling – there’s no doubt that she wanted to die before Sam saved her – but after he rescues her and takes her back to the island, everyone acts as if nothing ever happened. In fact, Sam – a complete stranger to her – seems to be the only adult concerned about whether she’s done any significant damage to herself, and wants to take her to a hospital.
There’s also the fact that her dad seems incredibly violent and abusive, but everyone seems to turn a blind eye. What is going on here?
What’s with all the salt?
On top of all the big, scary moments, there’s lots of little details which make The Third Day extra creepy. I’m not talking about creepy monsters or shadowy figures – I’m talking about those something-isn’t-right situations which make you do a double-take.
One of the most obvious is the salt that kept cropping up. It starts when Sam gives Epona a bottle of water to drink, but before she takes her first sip, she pours a whole sachet of salt into the bottle. Then, later on, Sam enters the bathroom at the pub only to find a circle of salt surrounding the sink.
The only mention of these strange occurrences is when Epona and Sam first arrive on the island. “Everything here is either salt or soil,” Epona says. “Sea or land”.
Why are there so many creepy bugs?
I definitely don’t have the answer to this one, because it’s just so plain weird. Throughout the episode Sam keeps seeing these big, orange bugs that definitely don’t originate from the English coastline – so why are they there?
Who is Larry?
After Sam misses the causeway opening and finds himself stuck on the island for the night, he returns to the pub where he finds Jess (Katherine Waterston), an anthropologist who is visiting the island for the festival. But as the two are talking – in a completely deserted pub, by the way – a man called Larry appears and starts making threatening comments towards Jess.
After the rest of the islanders enter the room (at just the right time, might I add), Mrs Martin – one half of the couple who owns the pub – confronts Larry about his behaviour.
“Larry why don’t you go home – you’re not supposed to be here now,” she says.
“Who’s gonna stop me from being here?” Larry responds, to which she says: “I think you know the answer to that.”
Now, that wouldn’t necessarily be creepy on its own – but what comes next makes the whole thing even more mysterious. After Mr Martin leaves Sam and Jess to enjoy their evening and goes behind the bar to check something out, he comes face to face with Larry.
Stood in front of each other, the pair then complete the sign of the cross (a Catholic tradition) backwards – by touching their chest first and forehead last. Anyone else getting some incredibly unsettling vibes?