Inside Men: Episode 2 Review

Shady geezer...but who is the real John?

INSIDE MEN: Thursday 9th February, BBC1, 9pm (2/4)

Our three unlikely heisters-to-be journey deeper in to the doodoo this week and amidst the mayhem an alpha male is finally on the ascent.

There are more strong performances from the Inside Men leads, whose interpretation of newbie crooks remains refreshingly free from the constipated swagger of Guy Ritchie’s gangster characters. But with John moving into the role of silverback and his grip tightening around his increasingly clueless sidekicks, I’m wondering whether he could end up fitting a little too neatly into his role as “boss man” and lose that intriguing duality?

Upon realising the need for some external help to pull off the job “gruntâ€? Marcus is also fitting nicely into his grunting stereotype. His wideboy contacts sure do come in handy, with the trio ending up in the murky criminal underbelly of…a lime green call centre? But this is a call centre with a steely Indian (or Pakistani “somewhere round thereâ€?) gang lord at the helm. The speed at which this virtual unknown is accepted onto the board is perhaps one of the less plausible aspects of this week’s action – especially given that his snaffling of 40 grand is swiftly forgiven and forgotten.

Episode two is essentially a gigantic  battle for control on all fronts, with former pen-pushing walkover, John, reaching deep into his trousers and hoisting himself up – right up. “You don’t know anything about me”, he teases in an elevator. Helped by a few double-mirror reflection moments, the ease at which this suit has slipped into the role of Vito Corleone is beginning to suggest he has done this before…but can we really be expected to believe that John  lived another life as a mafia don before taking his current post?

The double timeline continues to play out, bookending the big event with action from the months preceding and hours immediately after, the robbery. Thus far the “spoilersâ€? have only ever been successful in building the suspense leading up to the main event. This Pulp Fiction-esque chronological mayhem may be relatively new to the TV genre but with two episodes remaining it is hard to see how the post and pre-job stories will work effectively alongside each other.

Cramming so much into each episode means that this superior drama jogs along at a nice pace but as the post-job action begins to heat up, this could mean that episodes will begins to feel a touch messy. Having revealed that each of the heisters intend to stay in the country following their crime, and with such hefty quantities of actual paper cash to hide, one begins to wonder how they will ever get away with it and whether we will believe it when(if) they do…

“The stammering prickâ€? — Marcus
John’s ju-ju-juddery speech in front of work colleagues is dropped in favour of smooth, slick, hard-nosed business chat in front of a gangland don. But when juxtaposed with the sweaty calamity that is his job interview, the question is; who is the real John?

A nervous disposition and the propensity to burst into tears at any given moment is a nifty way to dodge suspicion. But can we really believe that John has been able to embrace his criminal alter-ego with such ease? Or could it be that his entire meek business life has been in preparation for this moment…?

“I don’t have to believe in you to love youâ€? — Gina
Not necessarily a phrase to borrow for your Valentine’s card but one which came easily to the glossy lips of Marcus’ girlfriend, Gina. Having learned of his latest scheme to raise cash, Gina is keen to make sure that the failed wheeler dealer cannot eff things up again. She is in charge; the satin-clad Lady Macbeth behind the warehouse dunce.

Over at John’s house, wife Kirsty directs her apparently feeble husband to “knock ‘em deadâ€? in his interview. The family unit she has so desired is tightening its grip around our protagonist in much the same way as Kirsty tightens his polyester tie on interview day. My money is on these women, at the very least Gina, taking a far more prominent role in all this crotch-thrusting, pump-action-machine-gunning action by the end of next week.

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