Last week, Reece Shearsmith warned us not to get too enamoured of the twist endings in Inside No 9. And then this week’s episode came with a sting in the tail, demanding two viewings just so you can watch it knowing what’s going on, rather than presuming you do.
It was easy to believe that Steve Pemberton’s Migg was a projection of Tom’s mind. He didn’t seem to exist as his own character, with his own clear motivations – instead, he seemed to be exactly what Tom needed. Tom’s a struggling novelist, with a love for Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, so what he needs is a man who met one of his heroes, right? And a man who will become a friend and encourage Tom to follow his dreams. When Tom first met him, Migg seemed oblivious to Tom’s polite social cues to leave. It’s only later that he becomes more openly manipulative, hiding Tom’s money and offering to take the flat away. At this point, the story started to take on a potentially supernatural tone. If Tom was hallucinating Migg, after all, there was a possibility that Migg was merely a spiritual doppelganger there to take over Tom’s life. Steve Pemberton’s performance in this role was brilliant, subtly changing each time he was on screen as he rose in counterpoint to Tom’s decline.
It ranged from disturbing, to sad, to comedic all over the course of a single half hour. Just as difficult to pin down are the characters, who are never entirely good or bad, but instead all just human. While all of the tales so far have left a sweetly sad feeling behind them, this was the saddest of the lot.