The penultimate episode landed on Channel 4 Friday, 24 January 2020 and it wasted no time addressing one of the biggest questions the miniseries has set up. Within the first five minutes, we saw all ambiguity over Dr Tom Kendrick (David Tennant) dropped.
This third episode didn’t hold anything back. It showed us the real doctor and exactly what he’s capable of doing when he puts his mind to it. He’s an abusive sadist that made his wife’s life a complete misery. Even though they had a seemingly perfect family home, Kendrick was domineering over his wife. He regularly drugged, raped, and humiliated her.
Whilst it is the tragedy that most people are aware of, this episode focuses mainly on the doctor. Tom’s mother, Carol Kendrick (Maureen Beattie), had witnessed her son’s cruelty and depravity. Even though Carol only witnessed her son’s behaviour as an observer, both Jess Milner (Cush Jumbo) and Sacha (Seline Hizli) experienced the brutality first-hand. Further condemning the doctor is a conversation Kate Kendrick (Anna Madeley) had with Police Sergeant Steve Campbell (Matthew McNulty). She apparently told the sergeant that she thought her husband was going to kill her. Steve didn’t believe her.
Even though much of the episode revolves around the doctor, this third instalment is more about the police sergeant. Steve evidently influenced Dylan’s (Lewis Gribben) statement.
Dylan’s facial expression, as DC Gemma Darlington (Laurie Brett) reviews the interview video, suggests there is something going on between him and the sergeant that doesn’t quite ring true. Darlington pulls Steve in to speak with DCI Spencer Collins (Gordon Brown) about the Dylan interview. Much of the conversation is off-camera. Despite this, from what we did witness, it is clear the sergeant revealed the truth about him coercing Dylan.
Steve tanked the case because Tom f***ed his girlfriend. Darlington isn’t impressed with how Steve allowed his personal issues to influence his actions. Later, we see the sergeant taking his anger out on Dylan.
Through the sergeant’s eyes, this episode tells a sad story. Steve’s inability to speak openly about his thoughts about the tragedy is telling. His silence is deafening. In many ways, both McNulty and Tennant carried this episode. Their ability to personify Steve and Tom, respectively, is daunting. It was painful to watch, there is no doubt. It was filled with things left unsaid. Tennant, in a performance vastly different from The Doctor he is known to have played in a certain science fiction series, is chillingly convincing a psychopathic doctor.
When Carol tries to speak to Kate about Tom’s behaviour, she refuses to engage in the conversation. It’s obvious from Kate’s tone that she’s trying to protect herself. This brief scene shows that there is more to what was happening in the family relationships than previously recognised. Whilst Carol might have been critical of Kate’s parenting, Tom’s mother clearly cares about Kate and didn’t like she was treated.