We’re back Inside No 9, and back to a more ensemble feel after what was essentially a two-hander last week. In this week's vignette, Tamsin is a young girl probably dying of some unnamed illness. It's her birthday and WishMakerUK have arranged for a middle-aged Michael Buble type to come visit her. This being Inside No 9, it's not long before this scenario devolves into fighting over a potentially valuable balloon, with a side dish of murder.
The most disappointing part was the character of Tamsin. Within the narrative, part of the point is that Tamsin is just a pawn in her parents’ machinations, whether that’s to score a visit from her mother’s favourite singer or to claim a larger share of money. The problem is, she is nothing more than a prop. Her entire role is to occasionally shout about being removed from the room, also providing an excuse for the more moralistic Jan to get out of the narrative’s way. There’s no point to her, so it’s difficult to feel like her parents are doing much wrong by using her. Merely having her end the story by removing the balloon wasn’t enough, as it was pretty clear throughout that she was going to do something to it.
The other episodes of Inside No 9 have left us with something to think about, some reason to rewatch and try to gain more understanding. If Last Gasp had ended with the suffocation, maybe it would have been stronger. Maybe it would have been saying more about the idealisation of celebrity, and our capitalist culture placing a price on everything. As it was, it was a funny tale that ended with a whimper, instead of a balloon-popping bang.