It starts with Laura Nielson dreaming but it’s soon becomes an all too real nightmare by the time the credits roll. She wakes to sounds in her house and is confronted aggressively by Andrew only to wake up for real. Dreams within a dream are usually a cheap trick but not this time. More of that later..
Maybe, just maybe the way Laura and Andrew are forced into a face to face encounter was a bit forced but as a way of tangling the spider’s web of all the character’s arcs even further it proved effective. Sixteen year old pupil Makeda is pregnant and has wolfed down some pills purchased from the internet in order to lose the baby. Laura sees the bleeding and takes her to hospital but soon learns that Andrew’s son Luke was to be the father. Cue Andrew turning up and a bitter stand off in the corridor. Laura labeling the surgeon as a “predator” makes sense later. His reply of “I’m not the man you think I am” turns out to be the exact opposite of the truth: He’s not the man everyone else thinks he is. We find out who the real Liar is. There is no one else involved. Andrew did spike the wine. He is the guilty party.
Where last week was all about putting Laura in a bad light, the tables now turn as throughout the course of the hour as Andrew Earlham morphs from the perception he shows off to the reality the writers Harry and Jack Williams were hiding. They made us doubt Laura so much until now and while Froggatt’s performance is purposefully on a level throughout, Gruffudd clearly revels in the two faces he portrays. His charm decaying, increasingly eroded by his arrogance. The nasty underside surfacing in his confrontation with Tom and when he finds out the case has been dropped he becomes downright unbearable. By approaching the detective for a celebratory drink the predator is set loose as soon as it senses freedom.
Hurrah for DI Harmon too, who despite still being frustratingly ineffective is now using that angst for good. When she looks into Earlham’s eyes and declares “I don’t drink with men who rape women” before the actual reveal, it’s a tense mic drop moment that Liar is built around. The DI also shows up at the school to offer Laura off the record advice, telling her that Andrew could potentially be very dangerous and to stay away from now on. The school hallway isn’t the most discreet of places it must be said. The same thoughts are echoed by sister Katy. Even is Laura does decide to keep a distance the same can’t be said of her attacker who is now set on filing a lawsuit.
The cobweb grows bigger with all the secondary events. Andrew knows about Tom’s affair with Katy, Liam suspects his wife is playing away but is lied to when asking for the truth. If buying concert tickets is this wrong then God help us all. Yes, we do know who the main culprit is but that doesn’t mean the show doesn’t have plenty of potential to explore. We know the truth incredibly early but the proof on just how brave this show is lies in the repercussions that follow. How bitter will things get? Will the truths only ever be known by the viewers? What effect will all this have on Laura?
There has been plenty of worry in many quarters that this could turn into a girl who cried wolf scenario (that is even referenced tonight) and that it would be a dangerous message to send out. Those doubts were understandable but it’s always best to let the story unfold before offering snapshot judgements. As suspected, this is a tale of the injustice of sexual assault victims and the laws that hamper rather than help. Bitter and frankly delusional testament by Denis Walter proves an extra barrier for an already helpless police force.
Laura’s mind wasn’t playing tricks to anyone but us. Her dream was right too. She did hear movement in the house while in bed. That bloody earring turns up again, this time on her teddy in her living room and only one person could have put it there. A man who has invaded her body, mind and now home. A man who wants to inflict further damage on his victim. Time to get #LockEarlhamUp trending.
Liar Continues Monday at 9.00pm on ITV.