Putting the D in the P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 7)

Putting the D in the P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 7)

death-in-paradise-70

Hello and welcome to ‘Putting the D in the P’, my weekly look at the latest episode of Death in ParadiseDeath in Paradise is one of my favourite shows on television, and when casting your eyes down to the article below, just remember that my light-hearted ribbing is coming from a place of love.

Death in Paradise is one of the most confident shows on television. Not only does it outwardly revel in how silly it is, it inwardly takes itself rather seriously. It is also a show which knows if you’re going to watch it, and stops pandering to those who don’t give a shit. In a world where many television programmes bid for your attention, Death in Paradise is comfortable just existing.

That can be seen in it’s advertising (or lack thereof). Think back to when you last saw an advert for Death in Paradise. It was probably the start of the current season, right? Adverts are needed then to get the fans coming back, and is the only time it bids to attract new fans, at least at primetime.

I expect that there are a few adverts for Death in Paradise during the daytime schedule…because let’s face it (and this isn’t a bad thing) Death in Paradise is a daytime show on at primetime. Unfortunately I can’t verify that as the doctor said if I watched anymore Homes Under The Hammer my heart would explode. I just get so excited when they value the houses is all. And that estate agent music. Durr du du du du du duu duur.

Wait, what were we talking about?? Anyway, this week showed the inaugural outing of DI Jack Mooney (Ardol O’Hanlon) who is our new awkward Brit in the sun. It was nice to see that things felt decidedly different with Mooney bringing his unique investigative style to Saint Marie. It was both a breath of fresh air…and a little clunky and awkward. There were a fair few awkward silences. It was weird. I mean, if they were going for Mooney awkwardly adjusting they kinda nailed it. But that doesn’t negate the fact it felt awkward to adjust.

Anyway, let’s take the training wheels off this Irish man and start Putting the D in the P! (My titles are better than the ones on Wikipedia. So there.)

Series 6 Episode 7 – The Cold Call

death-in-paradise-71

Cups of tea. Love a good cup of tea. And so do the team – well, at least Florence, Dwayne and JP. Unless they’re just teacups, and that’s rum in them. Ah well… anyway, this rude American guy comes in and interrupts their rum break. He’s got some information about a seven year old case – the murder of some lass called Julie Matlock. Apparently the woman they pinned the crime on, Nicole Hunter, didn’t do it. And he has proof because Nicole and him were Humph-ing all night long. Shit.

ROLL TITLES.

At the shack, Mooney’s doing some re-decorating which Humph probably wouldn’t appreciate. Like literally throwing out all of Humph’s furniture. Little extreme for a holiday but we all know Humph isn’t coming back any time soon, so I guess it’s fine. Harry the lizard doesn’t seem to mind, but that’s because he’s an extreme racist and British people all look the same to him. Anyway, Florence calls by because she wants some help with the case of Julie Matlock.

death-in-paradise-72

So Mooney goes to the station to talk to Rude American man, who’s called Tyler I guess. He explains the night when Julie Matlock got murdered, a night when St Ursula’s Festival was in full swing with dancing and balloons and various other festival thingimys. Nadine was indeed with him the whole night. We can verify that because there’s flashbacks so it’s totes true. Turns out Tyler’s marriage ended, and Tyler came back to look for Nadine knowing it was festival time once again. Unfortunately, Nadine died in prison of pneumonia. Talk about a….COLD…..case. (We are all just bacteria infesting this planet)

Well, looks like we’re gonna have to re-open this case. Fuzzy flashbacks don’t lie, you guys. It’s the first rule of police school. Dwayne remembers the case well. Julie Matlock was editor of The Saint-Marie Times. Nadine Hunter was a photographer for the paper. Nadine and Julie didn’t get along well – Julie suspended Nadine for being off-her-tits drunk most of the time. Julie was shot while on the phone, alone in the newspaper office. She was on the phone to her daughter and in mid-sentence when she got shot. Her body was never found, and Nadine’s car was fished out of the bay the next day. In the glove compartment of the car was a gun and a bloody scarf.

death-in-paradise-73

In the police files, there is a recording of the murder. Julie Matlock does indeed get fucked up. So it looks like we have a case. The team go to the newspaper office to have a little look see. Obviously, seeing as it was seven years ago, there’s no real evidence here. On the night of the murder, Julie Matlock had sent everyone else in the office home. Mooney does some weird kind of investigating thing which is half puppet show, half interpretive dance. It tells him nothing, because of course it doesn’t.

Whoever killed Julie needed a key to get in so it’s probably one of the other people from the office. Seems like they used a lift to get the body downstairs and then got out the fire exit. Simple, right? There’s only four (Godammit. Four, again. It’s always bloody four.) people it could possibly be (apart from Nadine) Grace Matlock, Julie’s daughter, journalists Tony Garrett and Kai Johnson, or Brian from My Parents Are Aliens, who here is called Ian Matlock, Julie’s husband I guess. But the snag is that Nadine Hunter was the only one who had no alibi. (Wow. That Tyler guy basically killed her.)

death-in-paradise-74

Group interview time! Grace Matlock explains how Julie threw everyone out after Nadine stormed in the office totally tanked. Nadine screamed to Julie that they weren’t finished and then pissed off. Seems Julie wanted some alone time after that. Nadine may have been so messed up because some guy broke her heart. That old chesnut. On the night of the murder, Grace and Kai were at their house, Tony was at a bar seeing as it was festival night, and Brian from My Parents Are Aliens was at his beach house 40 minutes away.

Mooney wants a closer listen to the phonecall, because he thinks there’s something else in the recording. JP gets on it, enlisting his cousin who’s a sick ol’school DJ. The Commish comes to the station to greet Mooney. It’s super awkward. JP brings back a speaker to listen to the call, but it’s not enough. Looks like they might have to get technical on that one.

death-in-paradise-75

In Nadine Hunter’s possessions, Mooney finds a lock of hair in a poly bag. It’s about as weird as it sounds. But seeing as there’s absolutely no way at all in any universe to test a lock of hair to see who it belongs to (like maybe get hairs from each suspect and test them against the lock of hair), I guess that doesn’t mean much.

Mooney calls it a day, which means he has exactly the same work ethic as Humph. Hey, sometimes you need some time to have a SUB-PLOT! At Catherine’s bar, we get reminded that Catherine is running for Mayor. Remember, from way back in episode two I think. Anyway, I’m sure that’ll come up again…maybe next week. Mooney and his daughter, Siobhan have a touching family moment sans a wife/mother because she’s fucking dead. Mooney and Siobhan miss her very much. I know how they feel. My ex-wife was buried alive. I tried to save her but I was too late. Mainly because I forgot where I buried her. Hey, turns out a lot of Delemare Forest looks the same. You live and learn I guess.

death-in-paradise-76

Anyway, back to the case! Mooney’s made up a timeline of events. It looks detailed and super boring. Mooney seems to talk to himself when he’s thinking which all the others find super weird. Time for some quickfire clues. Florence is going through Julie’s diary and finds a 5 digit number – 19871. Interesting. JP finds a resignation letter from Tony Garrett in Julie Matlock’s inbox. Curious. Dwayne finds Brian from My Parents Are Aliens’s been spending money in a lingerie shop – not somewhere you would shop for your wife. Wow! Looks like Ian was having an affair AND got a big payout from his wife’s death. Which one do we even follow up first? If you want to follow up the 5 digit number press 1 now. If you want to look into Tony Garrett’s resignation press 2. If you want to go shopping for lingerie press 3. Oh wait…

death-in-paradise-77

At Ian Matlock’s beach house, Mooney gives the old Good Cop Irish Cop routine. Ian admits to having an affair blaming a mid-life crisis. His mistress was a travel rep, who would pop in from time to time. Julie never found out though. At the newspaper archives, JP and Dwayne are looking into Tony Garrett’s articles. Not much happens really, except a SUB-PLOT where Dwayne is going to reconnect with an old flame.

 

Mooney and Florence go to talk to Tony Garrett about some articles he wrote. He wrote about a school called Calder Hill where a teacher was diddling one of the kids. I’m not going to go into it much, as SPOILER ALERT it isn’t relevant in the slightest. But Julie kinda forced Tony to resign, so maybe he killed her. Even though I kinda already told you that he didn’t. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because both Tony and Brian from My Parents Are Aliens have rock solid alibis.

death-in-paradise-78

Looks like JP’s sick DJ of a cousin has isolated the sound on the phonecall. Mooney decides to go over the case again so none of us forget. He does this while putting sugar in his tea. He puts in like nine spoonfuls which is a concoction I like to call diabetes special drink. JP gets back just before Mooney has to take his insulin and the gang listen to the tape. It’s a weird fucking sound that no one can really pin down.

Seems like maybe we should give up. But a taxi driver gave a statement that Julie was down at the harbour the morning she was murdered. So Mooney decides they should go down and have a look. While there, he and Florence find a safety deposit box place. That five-digit number? The code to a safety deposit box! Mooney cracks it open and finds…some incriminating photos of Kai Johnson, up to his old criminal ways, taken by a private detective.

death-in-paradise-79

Mooney and Florence pay a visit to Kai, who isn’t particularly surprised that Julie hired a private detective to tail him. That would be a doozy of a motive, to keep this info from Grace, his sweetheart, his bae, his underwear buddy. But Kai’s having none of it. He says that Julie even tried to pay him off to get him to fuck off. He told Grace about it and she was furious.

Turns out though that Grace already knew about the pictures too. But she didn’t care. You see her and Kai are having a baby and she looks to be about 18 months pregnant. With a baby on the line, who cares about some shady drug dealing. Well, the police… She told Kai to stop whatever it was he was doing and told her mother to go do one.

death-in-paradise-81

So what did we learn? Nothing really. Waste of fucking time.

 

It’s St Ursula’s Festival time! And let me tell you, Saint-Marie is going fucking nuts. We’ve got bright colours, silly costumes, and everyone is absolutely tanked. Mooney and Siobhan kick back with the team while Dwayne goes to meet his old sweetheart. But it turns out he got the names of two of his old girlfriends mixed up, and, of course, he picked the clingy annoying one. Oh Dwayne…

St Ursula’s Day parties into St Ursula’s Night and Mooney even gets some dancing in. Siobhan tries to tell him something but he can’t hear. The music is way too loud. And that’s what triggers the revelation.  Mooney figures it all out, all while doing some sick dance moves. He calls the team together and they finally get that DNA test on the lock of hair.

death-in-paradise-83

Time for the big reveal! And everyone gathers at the newspaper office. The Commish even comes, to make sure Mooney handles the reveal with the right amount of ridiculousness. It’s key to the job, you see. But the Commish has nothing to fear. Because HOLY MONTY MCSHITKINS it was Brian from My Parents Are Aliens (or Ian I guess). Ian shot his wife…but not in the office. He shot her at the beach house. You see, Mooney was so obsessed with what he could hear on the tape, he didn’t realise what he couldn’t hear. St. Ursula’s Day party music, which would have been deafening in teh office.

Ian was sick of his wife and saw a way to get rid of Nadine Hunter as well who was his mistress. Yes, not the travel rep who pops in and out but Nadine Hunter, who was obsessed with Ian (it was his lock of hair) Ian invited his wife to the beach house, told her to blow off Grace by telling her she was still at the office, then he shot her. Then he drove Nadine’s car into the sea, with the gun and bloody scarf and buried Julie in the concrete of the beach house. You see, that sound that was on the tape? A cement mixer.

death-in-paradise-84

Hot damn! Take him away.

So that was the story of Mooney’s first case. And something’s telling me it won’t be the last because Ardol O’Hanlon is contractually obliged. Overall, it was pretty good. The final revelation actually made a lot of sense. And O’Hanlon seems to play the role of Mooney with the right measure of humour and sincerity. I’m interested to see how his character will develop along with how the team will accept him further.

But we’ve only got one episode left this season. Have I really done seven of these? So let’s go out with a doozy, shall we?….Hopefully

UP NEXT: Voting! Catherine! Murder! Polls! Finales!

See you next week!


If you or someone you know suffers from Homes Under the Hammer addiction call the BBC Action Line on 08000 566 065 for support and advice. Just know that you don’t have to be alone through this trying time. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who are addicted to the high of house valuation.

Advertisements
Putting The D In The P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 3)

Putting The D In The P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 3)

Programme Name: Death in Paradise - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 6) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Florence (JOSEPHINE JOBERT), Humphrey (KRIS MARSHALL), Dwayne (DANNY JOHN-JULES), JP (TOBI BAKARE) - (C) Red Planet Pictures - Photographer: Denis Guyenon

Hello and welcome to ‘Putting the D in the P’, my weekly look at the latest episode of Death in ParadiseDeath in Paradise is one of my favourite shows on television, and when casting your eyes down to the article below, just remember that my light-hearted ribbing is coming from a place of love.

Putting The D In The P is about taking an indepth look at the story of an episode of one of the most popular crime shows on television to try and delve into why it is so popular. Also it’s fun.

There’s probably something to be said that Death in Paradise is always aired in January and Feburary, the heart of the British winter. It’s not incredibly warm outside…in fact you might say it’s fucking freezing, and we’ve already been plagued with flooding and snow. Therefore, it’s just nice to turn the television on and see a show with a bright colour pallet for a change. Maybe there’s some kind of holiday porn about it.

Look at Kris Marshall…he’s having a grand old time…he’s not freezing his tits off in High Wycombe. He’s not drowning in Cumbria. He’s on a beach. And there’s sun. It’s almost as if Death in Paradise lives in a universe of it’s own. Saint-Marie exists out of time. In a place where Winter doesn’t exist. In a place where Brexit and Trump don’t exist.

Basically Saint-Marie is the island from Lost. But with less polar bears and more murders.

And maybe that’s the appeal. When you tune into Death in Paradise, you know exactly what you’re gonna get. Sun. Sea. And a murder which will be sufficiently wrapped up in 57 minutes. It’s not going to blow your mind. It’s not there to change your perception of murder mysteries. It’s just incredibly safe.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, this week we got a pretty good one. So let’s start Putting The D in the P, for Episode 3. (Again, no title for the episode, so I make my own.)

Series 6 Episode 3: The Detective in Love

death-in-paradise-31

For a nice change of pace, this episode doesn’t start with some randomers – one of whom gets offed. No, we start off with Humph himself travelling to an island getaway with his island girlfriend Martha. They both seem pretty excited about it, and why wouldn’t they be? Sun, sea, and romance on an island paradise. You know, different to their usual sun, sea and romance on Saint-Marie. Oh well, at least Humph won’t have to deal with any murders while he’s there.

Oh. Oh dear. Oh deary me. At their inaugural dinner, promising to be followed by a night of unbridled steamy Humph-ing, Humph and Martha see some commotion on the staircase going up to the rooms. Humph has clear line of sight of the staircase, and a man he had seen earlier in the day is staggering around looking drunk. Humph disregards it as the man disappears upstairs.

death-in-paradise-32

Not a minute later, Humph hears a scream. He runs upstairs to find the man collapsed. And get this?? The man is dead as disco – with a knife wound to the gut.

Looks like all the Humph-ing’ll have to wait. ROLL TITLES!

Humph acts quickly. He sees the man’s been super stabbed. Two people are in the room with him, finding the body. Ernestine Grey, the resident chef, and Elliott Taylor, one of the owners of the hotel and the deceased’s brother and they’re almost definitely fucking each other. Elliott doesn’t seem that bothered by his brother Charlie’s death, but I think that speaks more to the actor’s range than the actual story.

Humph sees the room’s a mess, and the window has been broken. A robbery, perhaps? Charlie’s watch and wallet have been taken. There was no other access to the room other than the staircase which Humph had line of sight on all the time between Charlie going upstairs and Charlie getting murdered. I guess, for Charlie, that staircase was a real……….STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (sometimes I stand directly under a shower for hours just to convince myself I’m not crying)

death-in-paradise-33

At the jetty, Humph can’t see any boats. The killer is still on the island, I guess. He sends everyone to bed while he and Martha inspect the ground outside Charlie’s window. It isn’t trampled on at all, and all the flowers are undisturbed. The room was staged like a robbery gone wrong. But the case of the staircase means it was impossible for anyone in the hotel to have killed Charlie, unless it was Ernestine, who found the body. Humph knows all that because he is the witness at the foot of the stairs.

Humph inspects the crime scene again. He finds the sandwich he saw Charlie carrying to his room, spots of blood next to a wall, and a really fucking stinky pack of cigarettes. These cigarettes are like super out of date, meaning they’re probably like a massive clue.

The next morn, Humph tries to sneak out of his bedroom without waking Martha up, but he trips on a bag and wakes her up anyway. It is both as funny and as unfunny as this description suggests. Anyways, Martha’s gonna head back to the mainland, as there’s truly no hope of any sexual activity anymore. A dead man is not an aphrodisiac – at least not for most people.

death-in-paradise-34

Subtract a Martha, and all the wordless extras who were dismissed from the case because PLOT, add a Florence, Dwayne and JP, and we’re really starting to get somewhere. There’s like three minutes of Humph just recapping stuff, which might be welcome if we weren’t only 11 minutes into the fucking show and even the least of all people tend to have memories that can hold 12 minutes of ridiculous telly at a time.

When we’re all caught up, Humph and Florence go to interview people while Dwayne and JP go to search the hotel. Humph remembers he saw Charlie carrying a red folder before the dinner in the evening so he tells them to be on the lookout for that.

death-in-paradise-35

Everyone was alone in the 10 minutes between Charlie going upstairs and Charlie being brutally murdered. There’s Elliott Taylor and his wife Linda Taylor, the cook Ernestine Grey, Samuel Palmer the barman, and receptionist Irie Johnson. No one has an alibi and somehow got up to Charlie’s room without going up the stairs. Charlie owned a share in the hotel, but had been gone 20 years. He used to run it, but got bored and left. He hardly ever came back, and they don’t know why he came back this time. The other two dudes had never met Charlie before.

Ernestine is interviewed and is quickly dismissed. She seems to have an affection for the Taylors, and she’s worked in their employ for years (the brothers Charlie and Elliott own the hotel). She’s also the most likely suspect, which means, in Death in Paradise terms, is that there’s no flippin’ way she did it.

death-in-paradise-36

In the kitchen, JP and Dwayne have a SUB-PLOT while searching for the murder weapon. JP seems a little off his game. It turns out him and the missus are having a tiff. Yeah, JP got married last series, remember? No? Don’t worry, it’s not that important. Anyway, Dwayne gives him some advice which seems a little curt. JP should just get her some flowers and apologise. JP says he doesn’t want to be that kind of couple. Oh, they also find the murder weapon in the dishwasher I guess.

Back in the MAIN PLOT, Ernestine said that Charlie and Irie had had a bit of a tiff as well, so Humph goes to ask Irie about it. He’s only been duplicating guest’s credit cards and stealing money from them. Actually not a bad crime for a receptionist. Poor old Humph might’ve got duplicated too, if it wasn’t for those meddlin’…him. Anyways, Charlie found out. Pretty good reason to kill the SOB I think. Still we’re not even halfway through the episode, so it probably wasn’t this guy. He’s not a murderer, he’s just a cock.

death-in-paradise-37

Charlie Taylor seemed to be a nice guy, and as Dwayne hacks looks into his laptop, he finds correspondence from a local solicitor. Seems like the solicitor wanted Charlie to return to Saint-Marie to convince his brother to…something. Also Charlie Taylor had a flight back booked for the morning after he was killed.

The team call it a day, Humph goes to eat lobster with Martha and JP goes back home to face the music. Dwayne tries to convince him to apologise again but Florence is on JP’s side. Well, looks like Dwayne was right for once, because the next morning he finds JP sleeping at the station. It’s a nice subversion of the standard Dwayne-gives-bad-advice plotline that’s been used too many times. Brownie points here. Also, JP in his altogethers makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

death-in-paradise-38

Humph and Florence get back to the island, and it’s time to tread some serious water. There’s always one of these an episode. A lead that goes absolutely fucking nowhere. Well, turns out we get two in this episode. Florence finds an old picture of Charlie Taylor with Samuel Palmer. But Samuel Palmer said he’d never met Charlie before?? SAY WHA–?

Samuel Palmer the shitbag liar reveals that he pretended not to know Charlie because as youths they both set fire to a community centre, but Samuel took the wrap for both of them, going to prison for five years. So that’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for:

death-in-paradise-39

THE DEATH IN PARADISE ‘CRIMES THAT ARE TOTALLY DISREGARDED FOR SAKE OF PLOT’ LIST brought to you by SILENT WITNESS, the ‘pathologists going way out of line’ show.

  1. Identity Theft (E1)
  2. Illegal Substance Abuse (E1)
  3. Sexual Harrassment (E2)
  4. Credit Card Fraud (E3)
  5. Arson (E3)
  6. Perverting the Course of Justice (E3)

And that was THE DEATH IN PARADISE ‘CTATDFSOP’ LIST.

Anyways, it’s not relevant and it’s completely swept aside.

Dwayne finds out from the solicitor that the hotel is haemorrhaging money out the arse. The file in the folder Humph saw Charlie carrying was the paperwork to liquidate the hotel. The folder is found to be empty but JP finds the papers, signed, shoved to the bottom of the bin in Elliot’s office.

death-in-paradise-40

Seems Elliot and Linda didn’t want to let go of the hotel. But they say they didn’t kill him. Elliot merely snuck into the room after Charlie was murdered and stole back the signed papers. It doesn’t seem very likely, but we get a flashback of it so I guess it must be true. He’s not a murderer, he’s just a massive cock. Seems like that sentiments going around.

So we don’t seem to be any closer to actually finding out who murdered Charlie. It’s time for some of that good ol’ Humphrey brainpower. As he starts recapping (FUCKING AGAIN) the case, Dwayne has a splinter in his hand. And of course, this leads to him having his big revelation! He knows who killed Chazza, and he knows how. But this time he doesn’t want to get everyone together for a big reveal. He wants to do it one-on-one this time (you know, like an actual fucking policeman would do). Humph and Florence wait in the killer’s room and in comes…HOLY TIT ‘N’ BOLLOCKS!! it was Linda Taylor!!!!

death-in-paradise-41

Humph explains how Dwayne’s splinter got him to the answer. An injury sustained in one place can be carried to another. Therefore, Charlie was stabbed in the kitchen and then walked up to his room. (It’s a bit of a flimsy thing, but we’ll go with it I guess) So Linda stabbed him, but why? And why would Charlie try to cover up the injury as he went up the stairs and then stage his own crime scene to look like a robbery?

Easy. Love. Charlie and Linda were in love. The reason Charlie left all those years ago was because he couldn’t bear to his brother together with the one he loved. Linda stabbed him by mistake during an argument, where she wished to leave the island with him. Charlie wouldn’t allow it. And somehow he got stabbed. He took a sandwich, made his way up the stairs and fucked up the crime scene.

The last detail? That out of date pack of cigarettes. See, Charlie needed a place to stash his wallet and his watch, and the bloody rag he had used to try and stop the bleeding. He hid them in a childhood nook in his room, where the pack of cigarettes used to be. Boom! Case Closed!!

Take he…Oh, yeah, let her tell her husband or something. I don’t give a shit. Take her away!

Back on Saint-Marie, JP decides to finally take Dwayne’s advice and say sorry to his wife. Humph and Florence reflect that the case was really all about love. Pulling in to Humph’s driveway, Humph tells Florence that he’s fallen in love with Martha. But Martha’s leaving soon. And he has no idea what to do next.

death-in-paradise-42

I guess Humphrey Goodman really did turn out to be the THE DETECTIVE IN LOVE.

Overall, this episode was okay. Early on, it seemed like it might be a story with just Humphrey from the core team. That would have been a hell of a lot cooler than what we got, but it might’ve been hard to justify. The theme of love tying the main plot and the sub-plots together was a nice touch and the idea of the dead man trying to cover up his own murder was interesting, even if it could have been executed better.

Up Next: Humphrey investigates a murder…because that’s his job. The others are there too…because that’s their jobs.

See you next week!

 

Putting The D In The P: Last Night on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 2)

Putting The D In The P: Last Night on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 2)

Programme Name: Death in Paradise - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 6) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Florence (JOSEPHINE JOBERT), Humphrey (KRIS MARSHALL), Dwayne (DANNY JOHN-JULES), JP (TOBI BAKARE) - (C) Red Planet Pictures - Photographer: Denis Guyenon

Hello and welcome to ‘Putting the D in the P’, my weekly look at the latest episode of Death in ParadiseDeath in Paradise is one of my favourite shows on television, and when casting your eyes down to the article below, just remember that my light-hearted ribbing is coming from a place of love.

Putting The D In The P is about taking an indepth look at the story of an episode of one of the most popular crime shows on television. Indeed, 8 million people tuned in to watch the premiere of series 6 of the inherently ridiculous Death in Paradise. Also indeed, it seemed like the inaugural outing of ‘Putting The D In The P’ (the last post on the blog) reached a few more thousand people than I expected.

Thus I incurred the wrath of some hardcore DP fans who thought I was merely making fun of something they loved (a love which I share). But no, this series of articles is not about taking the piss at Death in Paradise, it’s about looking a bit deeper into what elements make up Death in Paradise and attempting to puzzle out why and how it is so popular. And for one final time (to reiterate once more) I think the popularity is well and truly deserved. It’s a show that knows exactly what it is, and flaunts it proudly. If we happen to have some fun along the way, so be it. Hell, it’s a mantra that the show itself has.

So here we go, it’s episode 2 time. It’s time to start Putting The D In The P. And what a doozy this one is. (Again, these things don’t have titles, so I’m making one up)

Series 6 Episode 2: The Shadow of the Flame Tree

death-in-paradise-21

It’s time for a party! And you know it’s a pretentious party when there’s random art exhibits everywhere. Hey, look, here’s an archway! Guess what, it leads fucking nowhere. This must be one of those terrible literary festivals, where someone who’s written something practically masturbates in public. Don’t worry though, the masturbation is figurative. At least I hope so.

A young PHD student who lives in England, but came over to write her thesis, called Esther Monroe is trying to keep a happy face as she organises pamphlets to be signed. An absolute bitch tells her to hurry up. They’re almost clearly fucking each other. And the novelist being celebrated, Sylvie Baptiste, asks Esther whether she’s considered her offer. This couldn’t be more of a clue if a dog called Blue was pissing on it.

Esther just tries to carry on, a bit rattled. The literary festival gets underway aproper, with a reading from Sylvie Baptiste’s famous novel The Flame Tree, a novel which is set on Saint Marie. Sylvie sits down with a crowd, including Professor Anna Wolf (Esther’s mentor) and Dr Oliver Wolf (her hubby). Giving the talk is Sylvie’s PA, Patricia Lawrence, who starts reading a passage from The Flame Tree. Esther sneaks off, to a cliff.

The very cliff the protagonist of The Flame Tree throws herself off. As the talk continues, Esther takes a little tumble…obv. Geez, a literature student dying…I guess that means she didn’t have….the WRITE stuff….I cry myself to sleep every night.

Cue the titles I guess. Thar’s bin a merrrdeer.

death-in-paradise-22

At the station, Humphrey’s happy. Probably because he got his end away last episode, with the lovely Martha. She’s even moving in to Humph’s love shack for the rest of her stay on the island and Humph needs some help cleaning. Yep, that’s the level of SUB-PLOT we’re dealing with this episode. But it doesn’t matter because the actual murder mystery is pretty good. In fact, it’s so good I regret not being harder on last week’s episode.

Anyways, Humph and Florence go down to the beach to investigate the crime scene. Esther’s totally dead. And the smashed watch on her wrist reads 1.25. Sounds like a time of death to me. Florence recognises Esther – they went to school together. It gets a bit sad for a moment.

death-in-paradise-23

On the famous cliff, Humph looks through Esther’s bag. A laptop lead but no laptop. An expensive fountain pen. Purse. Diary. All the usual stuff…and then a suicide note, typed, and then signed. But signed in biro – not the same pen as the one in the bag. Humph laments that he’s the only one who’s not read The Flame Tree. Florence has read it. JP has read it. And Dwayne has SUPER TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY SUPER read it too, you guys.

Even though there were like a hundred people at the festival, only four seem important to the plot. None of the silent extras would have killed Esther surely, so they’re just waved away pretty quickly. Left behind are Sylvie Baptiste, Patricia Lawrence, Anna Wolf and Oliver Wolf. They all seem suitably distressed, except Sylvie who just looks fucking bored. Esther left the festival at 1.15. Every suspect has an alibi because they were all there.

Esther was working on her thesis while she was on the island so didn’t socialise much. Her thesis was on The Flame Tree. Esther helped Patricia set up the festival, but apart from that, no one saw much of her. Although Esther did interview Sylvie a few days before.

death-in-paradise-24

Humph thinks Esther’s definitely been offed. The suicide note is a big clue and there’s also the fact of a missing laptop that Dwayne and JP couldn’t find anywhere. There’s a bungalow on the grounds, that JP and Dwayne go to search. A mysterious woman appears to be living there, who’s not taking any of Dwayne’s shit. She slams the door in his face.

In a waste of time clue line, it seems like Dr Oliver Wolf has been sexually harrassing Esther. But Oliver didn’t kill Esther to shut her up. His wife, Anna, already knew. Similarly, Anna didn’t kill Esther out of some kind of revenge – she knows her marriage is dead. Looks like we’re barking up the wrong tree – a tree that took 5 minutes and 12 seconds to bark up.

The owner of that bungalow is Sylvie Baptiste – so who is the mysterious lodger? Humph wraps it up for the night. He wants to start reading The Flame Tree, and pick the others’ brains about it. I mean they’ve all read it. Florence has read it. JP has read it. And Dwayne has SUPER TOTALLY OBVIOUSLY SUPER TOTALLY read it.

death-in-paradise-25

At the bar, a twist is revealed. You know how Dwayne had SUPER TOTALLY read The Flame Tree? Well get this! He was only flippin lying. Also Florence is still investigating. She feels a little sentimental I guess. She gets a call from Esther’s parents. It seemed like Esther had uncovered some kind of secret whilst on the island, a secret she was putting into her thesis. In a bar Esther had visited, Florence found a photograph of Sylvie Baptiste. But not just her. Lizzie Baptiste too. Sylvie’s sister. Dur Dur Durrr.

It seems that Lizzie is the woman staying in Sylvie’s bungalow, and she may have also actually written The Flame Tree. Esther had been studying all of Sylvie’s novels for her thesis, concluding that The Flame Tree was so different…it was almost like it was written by a different person entirely.

death-in-paradise-26

Lizzie’s seen better days. She has some mental issues, and she can’t remember writing The Flame Tree. Thus Sylvie has almost committed the perfect deception. But Esther found out, finding a poem that was written by Lizzie at the Honore library.

Sylvie gets interviewed, and still has a face like a slapped arse. She’s such a fucking bitch. But Humph isn’t buying any of her shit. Dwayne and JP search Sylvie’s house and find Esther’s missing laptop in Sylvie’s room. Patricia stole it, under Sylvie’s orders, and it’s all getting rather exciting isn’t it?? When Esther interviewed Sylvie, she told her what she found. Seems like Sylvie is our woman. She has the biggest motive.

death-in-paradise-27

Unless…Humph wonders if Patricia might kill for her boss. Patricia waves this away quickly – she has little love for Sylvie, a woman who constantly bosses her around and orders her to write up her terrible short story ideas. Honestly, they do sound fucking terrible. Well, you’ve gotta pursue every avenue in an investigation I guess. Back to Sylvie…

Humph calls it a day again. Florence says she’s going to finish up some investigating. But Humph won’t hear of it. Florence has to help him clean his shack, his love shack baby. Again this is the SUB-PLOT.

It seemed Esther wanted to meet Lizzie on the cliff where the most important part of The Flame Tree was set – to hopefully spark her memory. It seems like it might actually be Lizzie. Although there’s no real motive, she’s the only one without an alibi. Unless…

Dwayne comes in, and he’s reading The Flame Tree. Or more accurately, he’s listening to it as an audiobook. Humph does his special investigating Sherlock thing, and he’s got the case all wrapped up.

death-in-paradise-28

It’s time for the final reveal, so let’s gather all the suspects up. Humph does like a touch of the dramatic and HOLY SHIITAKE COCKROOMS it was Patricia!! Patricia knew Esther had found out about the real author of The Flame Tree, and although she had no love for Sylvie herself, Patricia wanted to maintain her sunny lifestyle. Patricia used the festival as a foil for her plan. As she started to speak, she dodged out of the way of a Powerpoint presentation, getting out of the view of the others. She switched a recording of her voice on, so it would appear she was still there.

Esther thought she was meeting Lizzie on the cliff  but actually she was meeting Patricia. And Patricia was feeling a bit shove-y. Patricia put the suicide note in Esther’s bag, written on some of the paper Esther had touched while setting up the festival. Patricia was adept at forging Sylvie’s signature at book signings, so it wasn’t too hard for her to forge Esther’s.

Take her away! Looks like Patricia was the one in the THE SHADOW OF THE FLAME TREE.

death-in-paradise-29

Overall, this was a great episode. Every clue felt earned, and everything was presented to the audience. It wasn’t a mad leap in logic like last week’s episode and Humph’s final eureka moment (listening to the audio book) made total sense and tied nicely into Dwayne’s little C-PLOT. If there is any criticism at all, it’s that the characters of Oliver and Anna Wolf had little to do.

There’s also a nice through-line appearing (that I didn’t mention) as a new Mayor has to be elected (because, you know, the previous mayor was arrested last episode).

Humph comforts Florence, inviting her over for a meal. I don’t know if it’s totally fact, but I felt a little something. You know, in that weird knot of muscles and arteries in my chest. My balls heart. I felt a little stir of romance between them. Humph and Florence, I mean really?? I might be totally off base here.

Oh well, Humph’s going for some Shepherd’s Pie. So it’s time for me to fuck off.

UP NEXT: Someone murders someone. It is sunny. Whiteboards are written on.

See you next week!

 

The Top 5 Books I Read in 2016

The Top 5 Books I Read in 2016

Ah the holidays. A wonderful time of year, filled with fun, festivities and as many arbitrary and pointless lists as your brain can handle. As dumb as Top 10 lists actually are, there’s something to them, something that even I can’t escape. It’s like those stupid clickbait articles, where you have to click on the link to see which celebrities had a sex change and you don’t know why you’re doing it, but in that moment – that one pre-click moment – you realise that your entire life has been leading up to this point and all you want from now on is indeed to know which celebrities got a sex change. It’s a primal guttural urge. And even though you know, that website’s probably gonna give you malware you have to do it.

Of course Top 10 lists are good for reflection, but every time I read one, I feel it’s probably best experienced by the person who wrote it. This is precisely because they are good for reflection. As the writer, the structured list helps you to organise your thoughts – create your own time capsule of the year – one that you can come back to forever…or at least until Google gets drunk on power and burns the internet down.

So yeah, that’s my long-winded way of saying I’m probably writing this for myself more than you. And I hope that by establishing that upfront, this whole thing is going to feel slightly less masturbatory. But for anyone who does want to wrench their eyes through this list, I guess I better try and make it entertaining. So we’re going to lay down some ground rules here. Because nothing is more entertaining than rules.

This is the Top 5 books I read in 2016. That’s because I actually didn’t read that many books that came out in 2016. I mean, that truly would be a pointless list. Secondly, we’re only going to give an author one slot. Mainly because I don’t want this list to be dominated by Sarah Lotz (although that is a list I could truly get behind). And finally, original review scores are going to be thrown out the window. There’s a few review scores I look back on that I gave, but don’t ring true to how I feel now. Also, if I was just going to list the top 5 from my review scores I wouldn’t have to think about it. It’s just numbers at that point.

Alright, I think we’re ready. So with no further ado, here are the top 5 books I read in 2016:

 

Honourable Mentions: Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (for being a hyped-up novel that actually kinda lived up to the hype), Skios by Michael Frayn (for being an entertaining farce novel) and Animal Farm by George Orwell (of course this would win best book really, but that would be unfair.)

 

5. In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

in-a-dark-dark-wood-cover

In a Dark Dark Wood took me by surprise towards the start of this year. In many ways it’s an unremarkable story. A hen party weekend in the middle of a wood goes south when the groom-to-be gets murdered. It’s a classic whodunit but it’s told really well. Ware crafts a great debut using familiar tropes of the genre to tell a solid story.

It’s old-school. A confined location. A limited set of suspects. It has echoes of a Christie novel. The protagonist, Nora, is flawed and convincing – the novel’s greatest strength, as the outsider who gets invited to her old friend’s hen party weekend. The novel explores themes of darkness, not just in the wood that surrounds the house, but in the characters themselves.

It’s not going to blow you away, but In a Dark Dark Wood is a really solid novel. It’s a shame Ware’s second novel The Woman in Cabin 10 burned up a lot of the goodwill I had for her.

 

4. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

tkwk

The Kind Worth Killing is about a guy called Ted and a plot to kill his cheating wife. At an airport bar, he meets the mysterious Lily, who agrees to help him. One of the beautiful things about this book is how simply it starts, and how quickly it manages to ramp up.

Another big part of The Kind Worth Killing is something I wasn’t able to mention in my review. And I don’t really want to mention it here either. See, The Kind Worth Killing is more three interconnected novellas, than a novel as a whole. Ted’s plight is only Part One. Two thirds of the novel are fantastic, and although the final part seems to get ahead of itself and trip over it’s own feet, it doesn’t affect my overall enjoyment.

The Kind Worth Killing is worth reading….

 

 

…Yougedit?

 

 

3. Slade House by David Mitchell

slade-house

So I ended up not reviewing Slade House, mainly because I read it while doing Christmas hours at work. By the time I got a day off to review it, it seemed like the moment had passed. I tend to write a review the second I finish a book so it’s fresh. That was why Slade House fell off.

But that doesn’t mean Slade House isn’t great. A horror novel by David Mitchell, Slade House is about an old quaint manor house that cannot possibly exist. Accessible only through a small door in a dark alley, Slade House sits on land that was built over decades ago. Anyone who sets foot on the grounds of the manor is doomed to be the meals of two powerful entities, Norah and Jonah, a brother and sister who have found the secret of immortality.

Slade House reignited my interest in horror fiction, providing a set of vignettes about the various victims to fall prey of Norah and Jonah’s facades. It’s not perfect in any way, but I found it to be a enthralling and captivating read.

And it’s real spooky.

 

2. The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

the-burning-air

The Burning Air was the first book I read this year. And it was almost the best. The Burning Air is a brutal revenge story centered around one family and their secrets. It’s beautifully written, packing in an insane amount of content in a way other authors rarely manage. There’s something almost An Inspector Calls-ish about the unfurling of the mystery, which sees the reader spending years with the characters. By the end, they almost feel like your own family. Which makes the final act all the more tense.

The Burning Air is a standard length novel, but it’s so rich and detailed that it feels a lot longer (in a really good way though). And the title actually makes sense after you’ve read it.

Simply put, The Burning Air is phenomenal.

 

1. Day Four by Sarah Lotz

day four

Hot damn, Sarah Lotz is an amazing writer. Her high-concept, multi-layered novels had me giddy with excitement when I found them in the middle of the year. Her debut, The Three, was a world-encompassing science fiction thriller about creepy children that inexplicably survived separate plane crashes. It was fantastic, but Lotz’s follow-up Day Four just edged it.

In Day Four, the passengers on a cruise ship start to come down with a mysterious illness. Through the eyes of five protagonists, we see the horror unfold as the ship’s engines fail and the situation goes from bad to worse. Toying with sci-fi horror elements, Day Four can be deeply unsettling.

The best part? Day Four exists in the same universe as The Three, and the story manages to tie itself in with the events of it’s predecessor.  It seems that Lotz is laying the groundwork for something big. Even bigger than the end of Day Four which is pretty mind-blowing in it’s own right.

Sarah Lotz’s writing and storytelling excited me in a way nothing else did in 2016. It speaks to me as a reader and as a writer. Ratchet everything up to 11 straight away for maximum entertainment and fun. The Three and Day Four are massively entertaining and it’s easy to tell that Lotz is having a great time writing it.

Day Four is, without question, my favourite book of 2016.

 

And there we have it. But the festivities aren’t over. Tomorrow, I will be braving the garbage fire and looking at the 5 worst books I read in 2016 and oh boy, is it a doozy!

City Crime 2016 Anthology By Various Review – A Book of Chapter Ones

City Crime 2016 Anthology By Various Review – A Book of Chapter Ones

img_1743

So I just finished reading the City Crime 2016 Anthology and of course this isn’t really a review. If nothing else, there’s a rather significant conflict of interest here… seeing as I wrote 1/16th of it. See, this isn’t a book you’ll ever read. You’ve never seen it before and you’ll never see it again. You’ll never read what’s inside. But for at least 16 people (myself included) this book means something. It represents a significant part of our lives. Hundreds and thousands of hours of work. Two years of hard graft. Working and reworking and reworking until we forgot what we were doing in the first place. Sixteen novels that are, at the very least, complete.

For the last two years, I have been sitting a Masters in Creative Writing (Crime) at City University London. Before that I had written three novels, all of which were comedies. The first was called Sculpture to a Block of Marble and was inspired by my school life. No one’ll ever see it, because I pretty much copied the style of Joshua Ferris’ And Then We Came To The End. (I never told my family that. They just thought I was being clever) It was also slightly more depressing than I intended. The other two – The Dog That Turned Into A Cat and Amateurs are actually available to read and they’re about a heartbroken young boy taking drastic measures to protect himself and my observations about being part of an amateur theatre group respectively. They’re not phenomenal by any means, and I wouldn’t necessarily advise seeking them out. But they’re things what I did. So I guess that’s a good thing.

Starting the MA course was interesting because I had to totally switch genre. Turns out, it wasn’t so hard. I think because one of the key components of my comedy was parody and satire, aping concepts and aspects of other genres. So maybe at the start, I was basically parodying crime fiction, just without the jokes. But quickly enough I was actually writing crime, something which I had only read before. I started to use my love of Christie and Conan Doyle (and my inherent love of showing off) to craft something impossible. It’s brash, it’s a little silly, but it’s (at least I hope) a lot of fun. A high-concept thriller called Dead Room, a novel which takes place (almost) entirely in one hotel room. To quote an agent I recently had a conversation with, it’s ‘Saw meets And Then There Were None’ (or at least it will be in a few edits time) I did four drafts of Dead Room during the course, each clocking in at around 80,000 words. I probably poured at least 500 hours into each. That’s a big thing. At times, I was spending more time with my fictional characters than I was actual humans.

Why am I telling you all this? It’s just an example. The anthology is the collection of the starts of all sixteen students’ novels. That’s sixteen stories like mine. Not the novels. The stories behind the stories. Sixteen two years. And what we made of them. And the anthology also represents whats to come. Sixteen potential careers. Some of us will keep trying. Some of us will give up. Some of us will keep writing for the joy of it. And some of us might never write again> Some of us might even get published. So this is truly a book of chapter ones. A book of beginnings. But they’re not necessarily the beginnings on the pages.

That’s what I feel when I look at this book. This big dumb book that won’t mean a thing to most people. A sense of pride – not just for me but for everyone. And I wish everyone all the luck in the world, because the number one thing I learnt on the MA is that getting published is damn hard. Sometimes it’s not just about writing talent. There’s a lot of luck involved, a good sense of timing, sending off to the right agent in the light of a full moon after sacrificing a lamb atop a mountain. We need all the luck we can get.

What does this mean for you, reader? Nothing really. I’m going to continue running this blog with the bald-faced passion that I hope sufficiently comes across. And every time I tear someone’s work apart just remember I would only expect the same for my own book. And remember that I love fiction. I love it so much I want it to be better. I want every book to earn it’s right to be essential. Because when it comes down to it, stories are the best human invention. And I enjoy every one of them.

 

 

Even Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham.

 

 

Which was fucking shite.

So let’s talk about buying games and actually buying games…

So let’s talk about buying games and actually buying games…

The news broke last week that Batman: Arkham Knight’s Season Pass was £40, the price of the game all over again. With the announcement, players and potential buyers were promised 6 months of content and literally nothing else. But you guys know that you can pre-order now and play as Harley Quinn, right?? Because that was literally in the first goddamn trailer. You know last week on the So Let’s Talk About… when I said I might stop playing games for a while. This is what I was talking about. So let’s peruse the dirty world of marketing video games shall we?

slta 1

It’s probably important to preface this by saying that I was totally onboard for Arkham Knight. The Arkham series (the Rocksteady ones anyway) has largely been great and although I enjoyed Asylum far more than City, I am invested in the story enough to want to see the thing through to the end of the trilogy. But the dark force of video game marketing has reared it’s ugly face. It’s constantly bombarding me with utter shit. And with all the shit comes another fee.

Now I am a university student. When I buy something, I expect it to be a complete package. Because I’m investing an actual sum of money which I could use on food, water, travel…etc. I don’t buy a ham sandwich and then find out the ham is an extra £14.99. Why should this be different with games? But Arkham Knight is just that. It seems to have been carved up into little morsels to be doled out at the will of WB.

I totally stand by the thought that if you announce stuff before a video game is out, it should be in the video game. Case in point. The Last Of Us. Great game. Great DLC. Left Behind was a fantastic prequel DLC, but it didn’t appear until months after the main game came out. That might of been because Naughty Dog built the whole thing from the ground up (Ellie models notwithstanding) from the ground up AFTER THE GAME CAME OUT. We didn’t even know what the story DLC was going to be for months.

My sentiment though is not echoed by the video game publishing moguls. Pre-order bonuses and DLC hype is pretty much a given out of the gate. Literally when someone announces a game, the pre-order bonus is there for all to see. The first trailer for Arkham Knight had that Harley Quinn bonus as a stinger.  Of course the Arkham series has that in spades, although (I at least like to think) its WB and not Rocksteady.

slta 3

Pre-order bonuses aren’t new, no, but they seem to have become more garish this year. Every game that’s announced is shoved in your face. Harley Quinn! Villains invading! Race tracks! I mean come on. Race tracks?? Batmobile race tracks?? That’s possibly the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Why would the Batmobile race? The sad thing is that the drama around the Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass sours me on the game. What was once a no-brainer to buy is now slightly foggy. I honestly don’t know if I’ll get it now.

‘I don’t buy a ham sandwich and then find out the ham is an extra £14.99’

Is that bad? I don’t know. It’s discounting all the developers who worked hard on the game. And the faith I had on the series. But I just find the myriad of decisions made by Mr Business so disgusting! And I think it’s because it so obviously peels back the layer of unreality on the business world. Everything is about money. MONEY. MONEY. MONEY. All we need is money. You live, you spend money, you die. That’s it. When all is said and done, that’s all. You and I love video games, but if people can charge more for them, they will. It’s disgusting but it seems to be the way the industry has been heading for a while.

slta 2

Mortal Kombat X was one such title that received a scolding postmortem. On day one, players enjoyed the game (it’s pretty good) but also received messages to ‘PURCHASE GORO’ shoved in their faces. Goro is totally and unashamedly on the disc of Mortal Kombat X as is a bunch of story NPCs. I think it’s acceptable to ask that it would be cool if I bought a game and not be asked to pay more at every opportunity. Easy fatalities for £3? No thank you. Everything unlocked in the Krypt for £15? No thanks, because I bought the game to play it. That STORY PAK better be free.slta 4

Are we living in a world where you can buy games without actually buying games? How far can this pre-order bonus DLC-baiting bullshit go? Okay, so a game I have enjoyed this year is Bloodborne (review incoming). It had three optional areas where I was actually surprised that it wasn’t DLC. These were areas that felt totally independent of the main world, and kinda felt like the DLC areas of Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. It was unbelievably refreshing to set foot into these areas, prolonging an already long game. From Software are great are providing value, and unfortunately that is a selling point in the current market. Value for your buck.

Money makes the world go round. So saddle up and be prepared to pay for your thrills.

You can pre-order the next post. Pre-order now and play as Chris McGeorge!

So let’s talk about KONAMI…

So let’s talk about KONAMI…

SilentHills3

What the hell happened? That’s what I’m left thinking. What in the hell happened? Going into 2015, KONAMI, the Japanese game publisher behind Silent Hill, Metal Gear, Castlevania and more, were fine. They weren’t the brightest ray of sunshine in the sky to begin with, but they were okay. Now KONAMI seems to be on the verge of an implosion, the company receiving more and more bad press every day. So I thought I’d add some more to the pile, and give my opinion on the utter shitshow that has been going on behind the doors of this sorry excuse for a game company.

The first cracks in KONAMI’s creaky shell came about a few months ago when beady-eyed peeps noticed that something strange was happening with Metal Gear. Series Director (and prolific video game auteur) Hideo Kojima’s name was disappearing from certain products. The Metal Gear Solid Collection and MGSV: The Phantom Pain trailers (I think anyway) no longer had Kojima’s name on. Now anyone who has even touched MGS knows that Kojima’s name is all over everything to do with that series. What seems like a real dick move even after an official announcement was made all the more dickish by no one even knowing what was going on.

SilentHills2

An announcement came soon that Kojima would be leaving KONAMI after the release of MGS V: The Phantom Pain meaning some time after September. Kojima has for so long been synonymous with KONAMI that sometimes, albeit disrespectfully of all the other development staff, it’s hard to remember anyone else actually works there. This is Kojima’s style after all; go big or go home. So hearing that Kojima was leaving the company, left the fate of KONAMIs game development division in flux.

Once I heard Kojima was leaving, it was obvious to me what was next going to happen. And KONAMI did not disappoint. About a week ago, they announced that the next entry in the Silent Hill series was cancelled. The dream team of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro was disbanded and as Del Toro himself so succinctly put ‘it breaks my greasy heart.’ Though this decision was not a surprise by any account, it was still rather gutting. Silent Hill had strode confidently onto the scene in last year’s E3, at the Playstation conference, where this dumb scary thing called Playable Teaser was announced to be available to download immediately. About a week later, someone cracked it’s bizarre and convoluted puzzle open and found it was actually a demo for the new Silent Hill game.

SilentHills

It was refreshingly exciting and it helped that PT itself was less dumb and more scary than it first seemed. In fact, it was pretty much the horror experience of the year. At the point of putting something on the PSStore with this trailer inside it, it felt more concrete to me than just a trailer on Youtube. Something had already been made, now they just had to make more of it. To me, maybe it did feel set in stone. And though, this was setting me up for disappointment, it’s probably a mindset that KONAMI should have adopted. Namely, let’s not put this thing up before we know it’s happening.

Everything that has come out of KONAMI has felt like a kick in the balls to anyone who’s more than a passing fan. Silent Hill is my favourite game series of all time and Metal Gear is not far behind, so it resonated with me a little more. Kojima leaving, KONAMI execs pulling Kojima’s name, PT being pulled off the store and finally the cancellation. Plainly, KONAMI seem like a bunch of stumbling five year olds trying to do ‘the business’. If you gave KONAMI a plastic plate, they’d find some way to fucking smash it.

KONAMI was never really the hallmark of excellence. Their E3 showings are laughable, they regularly forget to announce when their games are launching (including announcing one had launched three days prior) and their relationship with gaming journalists has been rocky at best. They don’t really know what’s best when it comes to games with recent offerings from Silent Hill and Castlevania being just plain shit.

‘If you gave KONAMI a plastic plate, they’d find some way to fucking smash it.’

At this point, it seems like KONAMI is on a self-destructive path. They clearly do not care about game development anymore which, while not great, is their choice. The most distressing thing however is that they also do not give two shits about the fanbases of their games. While I can not claim to be deep into Castlevania and Pro Evolution Soccer is something I will never care about, I am heavily invested in Silent Hill and Metal Gear. I’m so invested that when KONAMI farmed out Silent Hill development to the West, I still blindly followed. And what an embarrassing mess of two games that was.

How are we supposed to take the recent news coming out of KONAMI as anything but a giant middle finger to all of it’s loyal fans? Why would we even bother continuing to support a company who thinks that merely saying ‘we’re gonna continue Silent Hill’ makes up for the cancellation of what looked like the brightest hope for it’s future. I had a girlfriend once who made me take a 4 hour train trip just so she could dump me and then didn’t understand why I was annoyed. In a way, this is what that feels like. Not just a dick move, but a complete and utter oversight of basic ways to act as acceptable people.

SilentHills4

KONAMI has announced it will continue Metal Gear and Silent Hill but at this point, I don’t think I could give any less of a shit. I wouldn’t be surprised if mere days after Phantom Pain comes out, they announce they’re moving away from game development. At that point, I would be sad for everyone who was there working on games, but for a company, I would say good riddance. Let KONAMI become a name for slot machines and health clubs.

It’s a disgusting and despicable situation, and actually has shaken the foundations of what I think of when I think of the game industry. Like I think I might just need to tap out for a while. Of games in general. But that’s a subject for another day.