My review of the previous season finale: The Blanket Mire.
Vera series 8 starts off with a rather lukewarm installment, at least compared to the shot across the bow that was the premiere to series 6. Oh wait, this is series 8? I remember nothing about the entire last season. This isn't starting well.
In an opening that had me sneak-googling the word abattoir, a body is discovered in the furnace of a slaughterhouse. A fortunate power outage meant that the body - a gruesome sight - was found before it had disintegrated completely. It's soon identified as D.C. Harry Fenton, a local copper on the verge of retirement.
The abattoir boss, Iain Hobswain, isn't particularly happy Vera and her team are poking around, probably because he's been investigated for skimping on regulations. We soon learn the body was delivered to the abattoir in a truck for Acreman's Haulage, driven by surly ex-con Naz Ahmed. His manager, Gill Crowley, isn't thrilled they're looking into Acreman's either - unsurprisingly, when it turns out they're being investigated for fraud. (Everybody's in trouble for something.)
In charge of that investigation is D.I. Sunetra Chandha, who's very anxious about the case as well. She keeps badgering Vera for information, and attempting to wheedle it out of Aiden (he has nothing else to do in this episode except be flirted with).
Back at Harry's home is his wife, Rita, and daughter, Hayley. Rita was convinced Harry was having an affair, thanks to some mysterious phonecalls. Her daughter thinks she's being paranoid. Mysteriously, Dale Acreman sent Harry Fenton's wife flowers, yet when Vera challenges him about it, he claims they were sent by his P.A.
One lead is the fact that Harry was murdered the day he was due to retire. Harry's friends at the local pub - the Hennings family - were planning his retirement bash. Their rather innocent son Gareth works at Acreman's Haulage.
As I said, while competent, the episode doesn't break any new ground. Brenda Blethyn could make literally anything watchable (and she's tremendously watchable here), but it makes me wish she had something she could really sink her teeth into. I don't need you to kill anyone, but give Vera some genuine work conflict, not just a half-hearted flirting subplot.
My review of the next episode: Black Ice.
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.
My reviews of the seventh season of Vera.
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