Entertainment Magazine

Review #3069: Bedlam 1.2: “Driven”

Posted on the 18 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

The first episode of Bedlam was a mess: pretentious and silly, lacking in scares and drama and hardly worth the time and effort of sitting down in front of the television. So it’s a genuine shock when the second episode manages to deliver some creepy moments, a few neat twists and some genuinely entertaining content. It’s not a brilliant episode on its own, but compared to the show’s premiere, “Driven” is a masterpiece.

Review #3069: Bedlam 1.2: “Driven”

Episode two of “Bedlam” follows the four roommates – or friends, or acquaintances, the characters don’t seem to be clear on it themselves – and their involvement with new Bedlam tenant Leah and her haunted car. Over the course of the episode, rank-amateur ghost hunter Jed and the rest of the main cast figure out who the ghost was in life and why it’s coming after Leah, and surprisingly, the unfolding story is genuinely interesting. When Leah first gives Molly the infodump on her backstory, it doesn’t immediately come across as a lie or a red herring, and the rest of the details are parsed out at just the right pace, fast enough that the story moves but no so fast that the audience doesn’t have a chance to put the pieces together for themselves.

And within this A-story, there are some genuinely creepy moments. The scene of Leah’s seatbelt attempting to strangle her was achieved very simply and was very effective, touching on something that most people have thought about at least once when dealing with troublesome seatbelts. The jump-scare moments work much better here than they did in the show’s premiere, things like the quick flashes of someone in the back of the car or the crazy homicidal roller door. Even Jed’s visions carry more weight this time around, coming across as genuinely disturbing rather than just sudden and narmy, and the audience can almost understand why that character is as tightly wound as he is. Almost.

Unfortunately, most of what was bad about the premiere is still on display in “Driven”, chief among these problems being the characters. They’re still incredibly two-dimensional, with the few attempts at giving depth come off as either incredibly shallow – “Like, OMG, Molly totes has the hots for Jed!” – or woefully mishandled by the actors, in the case of Ryan and the storyline about his dead brother. None of the main cast has any discernable purpose other than facilitating the next step of the plot, which means that just about every decision they make seems contrived and silly. Ryan is suddenly the research guy just because that character had nothing else to do? Kate decides to roll with one of the sleaziest pick-up attempts in recent TV memory from a guy who is clearly a complete douchebag? And Kate’s father, Warren, might as well have an oversized moustache that he can twirl during is intermittent and overly aggressive scenes with Kate and Jed.

A strong main storyline puts “Driven” in far better stead than the premiere episode, but the show remains very bland, with uninteresting, two-dimensional characters and the beginnings of an overarching story that hangs entirely on those two-dimensional characters and the unconvincing actors portraying them. Despite an upswing in quality, Bedlam continues to be a thoroughly mediocre example of British television.

Rating: 4/10

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