After the first episode of Rillington Place, which looked at a toxic marriage of manipulation and control, episode 2 turned its focus on new lodgers in the house. Shown from the perspective of Tim Evans, as he tries to balance a new wife and child alongside an uncertain income, we still stayed one step away from Tim Roth’s John Christie and his horrendous actions remained out of sight.
Tim Evans (Nico Mirallegro), when depicted in the drama, is a complex and flawed person, having spent years lying to himself and others whilst never standing up to his responsibilities. He’ll change himself to just fit in, as if never really sure what his true character is. Causing a little controversy, Mirallegro chose to emphasise this by dramatically changing Tim’s accent from Welsh to a Cockney Londoner throughout the episode depending on his surroundings. It works, but to a point – in one scene, he’s completely torn by fear and grief but retains the false Cockney accent. It’s hard to believe that someone wouldn’t slip back into their natural accent in situations such as these, although perhaps Tim would be an exception.
What this drama has been very good at so far is to keep that feeling of dread throughout every scene. Time spent in 10 Rillington Place becomes particularly claustrophobic in the gloom, whilst Christie shuffles around the corridors in near silence. The score sometimes border on being overblown, but ultimately it does work to really create tension.
The timeline again is a tricky one. After an hour spent with Ethel in the week previously, it’s hard not to miss the perspective that she offered now that we’re moving forwards in time. We can only assume as to her life now, as we’re shown a new marriage with deep, unfixable cracks. However, with the next episode focused on John Christie’s perspective, we’re likely get a vision in the dark events that lay outside our view.
For Rillington Place, it’s a mark of strength that the drama is already harrowing, despite not relying on shock factor by unveiling very few dark visuals of crime. The next episode is likely to be even harder to watch.