Anyone familiar with Inside No. 9 will know that the final episode in each series always tends to be the scariest one. This is no exception.
Following on from the demonic The Harrowing, the ghostly Séance Time and the murderous Private View, Tempting Fate is another chilling story. Set in a flat, the story begins with three people coming to clean the place after the death of occupant, a lottery-winning hoarder named Frank (Nigel Planer).
The three cleaners: new employee Maz (Weruche Opia), killjoy boss Keith (Steve Pemberton), and folklore expert Nick (Reece Shearsmith) begin cleaning, when Maz finds a safe. She and Keith open it to find inside a video tape and a package with words “DANGER DO NOT OPEN” written on it. All three ignore this and open the package to find inside something very familiar to fans of the show: a statue of a silver hare. Those who follow Inside No. 9 know that this hare makes an appearance in every episode, but it is normally in the background. Now, the hare is the main attraction.
The trio then play the video which sees Frank giving a message saying that they should not open the package and it should be destroyed. The item grants the owner three wishes which all backfire. After this, Frank hangs himself. The gang obviously don’t believe in this story, but then Nick wishes that a dead rat to come back from the dead – and it does. Soon things boil over as whether to use these wishes, if they are true, or not.
This episode is truly creepy. The atmosphere is genuinely disturbing. Due to the darkness of the surroundings and huge piles of boxes all over the place, it feels really claustrophobic. Although there are episodes set in much smaller spaces, the whole tone of the show makes you feel that you are trapped, in the same way the characters are trapped by the wishes of the hare.
The comedy in this episode mainly comes from the generational differences between young Maz and the older Keith and Nick. There is a fair bit of chat about things from the 1980s. But as this episode is meant to be scary, the comedy is obviously played down in favour of drama and tension.
This was a good episode, especially for fans who have been following the show and know all about the hare. It is certainly an improvement on last week’s edition. Series 4 does feel like the best so far in terms of overall quality. My personal favourite of all the episodes was Bernie Clifton’s Dressing Room thanks to the mixture of comedy and drama between the characters played by Shearsmith and Pemberton, but Tempting Fate will be remembered too.
Inside No. 9 is available on the BBC iPlayer. Series 4 is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday.