Entertainment Magazine

Review #3094: Bedlam 1.4: “Hide and Seek”

Posted on the 31 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Bronzethumb

It’s even worse than a show that’s just plain bad: a show with nuggets of potential and moments of brilliance – or at least, moments of being not-terrible – that can never rise out of the television muck. “Bedlam”‘s shining moments from the previous installment are mostly absent in “Hide and Seek”, and the whole episode comes across as a very poor rehash of the “Doctor Who” episode “Night Terrors”, only without engaging leads or guests or stories.

Review #3094: Bedlam 1.4: “Hide and Seek”

The victims in “Hide and Seek” are single father Rob and his young daughter Ella, whose flat in Bedlam Heights is being haunted by the ghost of a young girl; as Molly gets closer to the pair, she discovers evidence of the haunting and asks Jed to help. Meanwhile, Jed and Ryan suspect that Warren was responsible for the death of Grace in the previous episode. And Kate stops sleeping with a married douche and gets upset about it – but even by “Bedlam”‘s standards, not every story can be a winner.

Rob and Ella might very well be the most well-adjusted characters who’ve shown up in the show to date, with a father/daughter relationship that feel very realistic. And Molly’s entrance into that dynamic works as well; it’s almost enough to get the audience invested in the storyline. But Chris Parker’s script hits every formulaic beat it can think of and the dialog is woeful: “As you know…” exposition abounds and the exchanges between the characters are enough to make one cringe. In the Rob and Ella scenes, it’s not quite enough to ruin things because of the great chemistry those actors have, but any of the scenes between the main five characters feels like it’s being weighed down with a brick.

Even when he’s sneering at a funeral and gleefully showing home movies of lobotomies, it’s hard to see Warren as the villainous figure that “Bedlam”‘s writers clearly want him to be, thanks to Hugo Speer’s performance that somehow manages to be hammy and lazy at the same time. His moments with the rest of the cast aren’t intense, they’re just filler. And the performance styles and (very meagre) characterisation of the apartment’s quartet is so different that we can’t believe for a moment these people are friends, let alone flatmates, yet they’re all so two-dimensional that none of the attempts at drama and conflict work at all.

The haunting itself is only a slight improvement over the pathetic attempts at drama. Again, Jed and Ryan are left to puzzle out the mystery of who the ghost is and how they can stop it, but it’s becoming such a mundane routine that the audience really doesn’t care about the process, and the writers wisely decide to go through it as quickly as they possibly can. Alice the ghost is not scary – what approaches being scary is how close she comes to hurting a young child, but even then, potential scares are offset by what an obvious ploy it is to put a child in danger for the sake of easy horror gags. The only genuinely creepy thing about the haunting is the doll that keeps showing up again and again, a dirty, disfigured thing that nobody with half a brain would leave around a child if they didn’t want the kid developing serious issues.

There’s one tiny, brief moment where “Bedlam”‘s main story arc comes to the fore in an interesting way, but it’s literally that: one tiny, brief moment, caught up in the midst of the haunting and the pathetic attempts at character drama. After the relative high of the previous episode, Bedlam seems to have slunk back into its less-than-stellar default of a weak, messy and unengaging series.

Rating: 4/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog