These reactions compliment the immersive experience that writer Dennis Kelly and director Mark Munden want to achieve with theatre
company Punchdrunk. Episode two proceeds deeper into its spiky strangeness:
ramping up the paranoia, the hallucinations, and the Druidic folklore of Osea
Island. Although the plot stumbles into some very familiar folk-horror tropes, it’s
impossible to know where you will end up.
Sam (Jude Law) is caught between dreams and reality
episode begins in the thick of a dream, Sam (Jude Law) rushing after that ominous child like
the red-coated, dead daughter in Don’t Look Now. He finds a flaming
caravan, and gets so close that his skin begins to burn. He awakes, relieved
to be back in reality… until he sees the anthropologist Jess (Katherine Waterston)
lying naked next to him.
It’s a funny confrontation, despite the unfaithfulness
(‘We fucked, didn’t we…’) – rare in weird dramas that want you to be on edge all the
time. The two become closer, touching each other’s histories, embracing their
personal griefs and traumas.
details of the island’s mythology trickle into Sam’s awareness, its violence
appearing in the most mundane of places. On the menus at The Oyster, the Martins’
pub where Sam is staying, Christ is drawn hanging from a noose.
him, in an uncomfortable tone of acceptance, that Osea’s traditions are no less
crazy than crystals or Catholicism. He witnesses confusing rituals with an
ecstatic congregation, praying and shouting according to the words of a manic
learn more about the local religion: a trinity of different gods, one of which
is Osea's primary icon of worship.
Kelly presents this information thick
and fast – a helpful blur in a bigger, scarier mirage-on-the-sea. He pursues a
more psychological route through this forest of perplexity, revealing just
enough to make interpretation exciting. Even as Sam tries to leave he’s tempted
by Osea’s isolation, removed from the real world.
Sam becomes closer to Jess (Katherine Waterston)
the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, the island is a malevolent character
as much as an eerie setting. It wants you to stay. It needs you to stay. Although
Mr and Mrs Martin (Paddy Considine and Emily Watson) facilitate Sam’s continued
residence there – not waking him for the opening causeway, finding easy
solutions to his threatening paranoia – it’s like they’re commanded by the
Sam supposedly wakes from a dream at the start, the somnambulance never
stops. Visions from his sleep become tangible. Simon Smith’s editing shudders
and shakes into new places, capturing the disorientation of a dream state. Sam appears
rather than travels, leading into a psychedelic drug scene that floats
into terrifying surrealism. Logic melts into a ritual fire.
of this would be gripping without its detailed characters, shown as Sam mines his fraught
past: remembering his son’s death. Every image, sound and note of music cater utterly
to his bleak experience – often in extremely shallow focus, where exiting
characters become distant spectres. Sam talks about his
loss, showing Jude Law’s power as an actor. He keeps a heavy smile despite the
grief that stabbed a hole in his soul.
This episode pulls you into
a baffling tide, thick enough to drown the disinterested. But hopefully, they’ll risk
those waves of confusion for Sam. Despite the surreal nature of the series, its emotional side is just as powerful.
The Third Day continues Tuesdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NowTV
|What||The Third Day episode 2, Sky Atlantic review|
22 Sep 20 – 22 Sep 21, ON SKY ATLANTIC