With all the jumping around, one era blending into another, I think it’ll just be easier to split the storyline into a few main parts.
Marlow is in London with his mother and is not faring too well. Her family, while seemingly much jollier than her husband’s, are experiencing a bit of a culture clash with young Marlow, not understanding what he is saying. He longs to be back amongst his trees and desperately misses his father.
It is also revealed that while he was in his old village, he (presumably) defecated on his teacher’s desk. After a very long and uncomfortable scene (that teacher is one intimidating and even cruel lady) he assigns the blame to young Mark Binney, Raymond’s son.
We don’t get to see much of Binney in this episode. We do see him peering through his blinds in a scene that was blended from the 1980s Mark Finney character looking through his blinds.
Marlow is trying to figure out what is going on at Skinskapes and is hiding up and shouting out in German to the women as they leave the establishment. Amanda, who was in episode one, goes to see who shouted at her before running off.
The two trench coated guys get a lot more screen time and they are really funny. They go to see Marlow sing and the short one is constantly bossing the big one around. (Their relationship reminds me of those old Warner Brothers cartoons that spoof Lennie and George from Of Mice and Men.) They know that Marlow is onto whatever the heck is going on at Skinskapes; and the short one reveals that he shot Amanda.
Hospital and Mark Finney
Nicola visits Marlow in hospital and seems to be hinting at reconciliation but it isn’t long before we see how contentious their relationship is. Nicola is trying to be warm and wants him to start writing again. She suggests he writes about his experiences in hospital but he doesn’t want to write something that is “all solutions and no clues”. That sentiment makes sense since clues are being dropped about all over the place 😉
She then reveals that there is interest from a film production company in taking an option out on his first novel, The Singing Detective, and turning it into a film. Marlow informs her that he had already made it into a script. Marlow doesn’t understand why she has all the details on this offer while it is all news to him. He assumes she must be up to something. As the meeting gets more and more contentious, she leaves while Marlow stews over what awful things she could be getting up to.
The awful thing turns out to be sitting in the waiting room with his back to the camera. He is Mark Finney (Patrick Malahide, of course). He and Nicola are planning on using Marlow’s old script and passing it off as Mark’s. She says she didn’t fare too well with Marlow so Mark implores her to try again. In an interesting exchange, he makes a buzzing noise and tells her she’s like a wasp. She complains that Marlow used to say that and that he sounds just like Marlow. She should have told him he looks like a snake. Really, he looks like a handsome Voldemort, only with hair, ears and a nose 😀
Back in Finney’s flat, he is busy freaking out over the script and how the name had been changed to Binney which is too close to Finney for his liking. The flat is located in the same place as Binney’s and some of the décor is the same too. Nicola thinks he is fretting over nothing and is more interested in her shadow puppets. There is a great moment where Finney grabs the back of his neck and claims to have a really terrible premonition. He and Nicola suddenly start using the punctuation out loud too. It is really weird and seems rather like a clue ❓