Patrick Malahide in The Singing Detective, Episode Five

Episode Five, Pitter Patter

Again, I’ll divide the synopsis into a few key parts. Marlow’s reality, memories and fantasies are blending together still so it is easier this way.

Patrick Malahide as Mark Finney in Singing Detective 12

Checking out an obviously blank space on the wall.

Noir Story

Marlow is performing a cute number called The Umbrella Man at the Laguna. The two trenchcoated guys are there preparing to kill him. He notices them and raises his prop umbrella in time but the poor drummer is shot. Marlow runs out after the killers but they get away.

There is a funny moment where one of the patients, Reginald (Gerard Horan) is reading Marlow’s novel, The Singing Detective. He has it held up so the viewer can see an ad on the back cover promising to “kill tobacco craving” 🙂

Excitement abounds as it is visiting time. Nicola arrives to see Marlow and to discuss the screenplay option. The scene suddenly segues into Nicola typing the screenplay onto a word processor (she half expects it to make coffee too) and Finney smugly copies it onto a 5 1/4 floppy disk. Now they can shred that old shoebox with the script. Yikes! I hope they make a backup first because those old floppies weren’t terribly reliable 😛

Mark pours drinks and seductively implores Nicola to get Marlow to sign the option, even if that means being nice to him. Their snuggling is cut short when a voice from above distracts Mark. Oooh, eerie!

It is Nicola’s voice and we are back into the hospital with Marlow and she’s asking him about the screenplay. Marlow is distracted by the two trenchcoated creeps who are now in the hospital ward. Nurse Mills approaches them and they run away. Marlow is getting really paranoid now.

He finally agrees to sign and Nicola goes outside into the waiting area to meet Finney, who is sitting rather creepily in a chair. They both begin talking while using punctuation again. “You did it question mark.” “I did it exclamation mark.”

Marlow later pays a visit to Dr. Gibbon and they do some word association.  Marlow acts like it is all meaningless but there does seem to be the beginnings of a breakthrough.  He imagines Finney &  Nicola repeating the same word game but that is disrupted by a knocking sound which is coming from the hospital ward.

There is a neat scene where Finney is again hearing knocking sounds.  There is no one at the door so he goes up stairs and gazes at a conspicuously blank space on the wall.  The image then shifts to Binney staring at the painting of the woman who looks like Nicola.

I really like Mark Finney. He is so nefarious and snaky but I also sort of feel sorry for him since it is pretty obvious now that he is stuck in Marlow’s head. It’s like he’s aware of it too. Poor guy, it’s not easy being imaginary.


The scene in the school room is repeated but this time they show a deeper connection between the young, innocent Mark Binney and the villains that are infesting Marlow’s mind. There is also a scene in the railway where young Marlow confronts his mother about what she was doing in the woods with Mark’s father, Mr. Binney. Phillip runs away with his mother calling after him.

Oh, and for some reason, the two trenchcoated guys ran all the way from the 1980s hospital ward to the forest of Phillip’s childhood. It’s a tough existence in Marlow’s mind.

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1 Response to Patrick Malahide in The Singing Detective, Episode Five

  1. Pingback: Analysis of a Scene XVI: Singing Detective — The End (not really) - Patrick Malahide, An AppreciationPatrick Malahide, An Appreciation

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