One of my favorite things about Vera has always been its style - stark lighting, artsy shots, atmosphere. I've felt that the first two episodes of this season haven't really measured up to the series' visual standards, but Broken Promise, from its compelling cold open to its evocative conclusion, brings colors and contrast that have been missing.
Jamie Marshall, a 21-year-old University of Northumberland student, begins the episode recording a new vlog episode, ranting about tuition and toffs. Simultaneously, we watch him throw himself up the murky stairway of a dilapidated, old pile. It's a dramatic contrast between his frustrated but relatively measured vlog rant and his emotional devastation as - reaching the top floor - he hangs out of a window menacingly.
Steve Devonshire, head of the university security, is the man who was come help Jamie, but he spent the time talking to John Greenhill, the surveyor working on the building where Jamie died. The two men, it turns out, were conspiring to defraud the university of millions of pounds, and Jamie knew about it.
Jamie's best friend, Lucy Curran, is nearby for Vera and Aiden to interview. She tells them that Jamie had had an argument soon before he died. One rugby player, Rory Marsden, seems unduly upset by Jamie's death, so Vera and Aiden pull him in for questioning.
Kenny is dismayed to hear Rory's father is Alan Marsden, a lawyer who's given him some trouble in the past. This twist makes for an interesting dynamic in the traditional Vera Stanhope interview. Alan's sympathies are more complex than a typical Combative Lawyer Stereotype - he's not serving a client, and he's just as interested in his son's answers as Vera is. He's also concerned about his daughter, Jennifer, who's just had an organ transplant.
As it turns out, Jamie Marshall wasn't actually Jamie Marshall. He'd said his father was an investment banker and his sister working on her PhD in Shanghai. were He was, instead, Jamie Stoddart, and actually, respectively, a boozy taxi driver and dead of an overdose.
Jamie did some reporting on the side, and had been interviewing Ian Holland, a bouncy castle owner, whose son was killed in a hit and run years before. Vera finds out that Holland assaulted Jamie a couple days before he died. Jamie had been using a pretense to really investigate Holland's son. What Holland didn't know: Jamie knew his own father had killed Nicholas. He felt guilty that he'd never told anyone, but he couldn't find the words to explain to Holland what he knew.
My review of the next episode: The Blanket Mire.
My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the third season of Vera.
My reviews of the fourth season of Vera.
My reviews of the fifth season of Vera.
My reviews of the sixth season of Vera.
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