This is a review of part TWO of the series, if you wish to read part ONE first, click here.
Focusing heavily on the relationship between Maurice and Janet, this episode reveals the wound that still exists over his own daughter's death both in himself, and his wife.
1977, In an unassuming council flat, Enfield London. Strange things have been occurring to a family who have become terrified and tortured by an unseen force. Janet, the youngest daughter, has been at the center of the happenings which are about to get much worse.
After being thrown to the ceiling by the entity, Guy is ready to admit the activity is real and calls Maurice back to the house. But when Janet presents with a bloody eye and the video feed cuts out as she is attacked, she is shipped off to stay with relatives. But it is at this time, Maurice tries a ritual in the girl's room, when Janet experiences activity in the form of objects stacking and seeing an old man in the bathroom mirror, causing her to smash it accidentally. Clearly she is not believed and promptly sent back home. Janet shows her contempt towards Maurice for the first time for sending her away.
A medium is bought in on the advice of Guy to speak to the poltergeist and the small framed woman who sits on a chair in the lounge quickly taps into the entity, In a raspy voice she reveals a sexual assault episode which is pretty disturbing and a few different voices come through. It speaks directly to Janet before ending the session. Afterwards, she warns both Guy and Maurice that they should by no means attempt to communicate with the spirit in the house and that it is a 'house of death' for Maurice particularly.
Upon returning home, Maurice discovers his wife with another man; it turns out she hasn't been having an affair as suspected, but is instead, consulting a psychic. Maurice shows his disgust at this 'charlatan' preying on a grieving mother and sends him packing when he discovers his wife has been giving him objects that belonged to their daughter as payment. It is just as he leaves that Guy turns up. Over dinner they discuss potentially communicating with the entity.
Not long after, a knocking is persisting in the house when the family is gathered in the lounge during the day. This is the opportunity that Guy and Maurice have been waiting for and promptly ask it to 'knock once for no and twice for yes'. It is after Maurice is thrown from a chair that things ramp up and he demands that it speaks. Very quickly the raspy voice begins to emit from Janet and tells him in foul language that he is named 'Joe'.
It is apparently the opening the entity was waiting for, as at every opportunity now Janet rasps obscenities at everyone she can, even Maurice's wife when she unexpectedly turns up to visit. Of course, a Joe did indeed live and die in the house, adding intrigue and validity to the story.
There is a cruel moment when Janet calls Maurice's wife from a payphone and claims to be her dead daughter. This is Janet lashing out at Maurice for producing this new phenomenon but Maurice is determined to use this new addition to get the heads of the SPR involved. But when nothing is witnessed, frustration takes hold and Maurice forces Janet to take a drink and tapes her mouth shut. The voice of Joe comes forth and everyone can not help but be convinced. Of course, this incenses Janet who runs away from home during the night.
Maurice goes to retrieve Janet from her father's house, where Joe has given the new girlfriend a mouthful. He gives her a ring that belonged to his daughter and smooths things out. But they arrive back at the house only to find that he and Guy are barred from entering as the SPR has taken over the case.
The final scene is of Janet and Margret talking in the backyard. Janet declares that the voice is not so bad, because it means at least the poltergeist needs her and doesn't want to destroy her.
That's when Joe's voice comes from Margret "Is that right? I don't need anyone!"
Insects begin to swarm over Janet.
Although all these things have been well documented as happening in the home and to the family, there are a few moments that we can look at and go 'hmmmm' to. A specialist was indeed called in to inspect Janet's throat and proclaimed that there was no way that she could keep up that voice without destroying her own. However, this has been contended over the years and it is unsure if the young girl just took the suggestion from Maurice to speak and used it as a vent for her frustration at the events.
The show has dramatised these moments, although apparently she did produce the voice when her mouth was full of water. There really was an old man named Joe who died in the house also.
But my understanding of Poltergeist was that it was telekinetic energy from a person, so the use of poltergeist is strange in this context, although I suppose in a perfect storm the haunting could have opened up the abilities in Janet.
The conclusion is next week, so reserving judgement on the wrap up until then. Still a great production and a very moody watch.