At the end of the chaos of season two we left Marcella (Anna Friel) living under a bridge and presumed dead after having a complete mental breakdown. Season three sees her deep undercover having taken up Frank Young’s (Hugo Speer) offer of a new career. She’s worked her way into the sinister Northern Irish Maguire criminal family in the hopes of taking down their numerous operations. It won’t be easy though as Marcella’s mental state is extremely unstable, her former boss, Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki) is investigating a linked crime and Frank’s reasons for investigating the Maguires aren’t completely professional.
I have always had mixed feelings about Marcella. It’s fast paced and intriguing and Friel does such a good job with the character. On the other hand big chunks of it don’t really make sense and there are always a load of extraneous unresolved plot lines that are just frustrating. The second season was the absolute height of this and by the end of it I was just annoyed.
This season is a lot better. We don’t end up delving unnecessarily into the minutiae of every side character’s lives which helps keep the focus on Marcella and her relationship with the Maguires. And aren’t they a fucked up bunch. Fierce matriarch, Katherine (Amanda Burton) takes absolutely no shit from anyone but her health is failing and her predatory sons are already sniffing around the corpse. Eldest brother and germophobe, Finn (Aaron McCusker) is the family’s lawyer and resident peeping Tom, spending most of his time hermetically sealed in the loft of the family mansion. Younger brother Rory (Michael Colgan) is in charge of business operations and spends a lot of time in bed with Marcella when he’s not indulging his violent streak. And daughter, Stacey (Kelly Gough) is inexplicably in love with the moronic, Bobby (Martin McCann), who is always minutes away from destroying everything the Maguires have built.
As Marcella unravels, Rav tries to save her, the Maguires start infighting and Frank’s questionable motives are slowly uncovered everything builds to an explosive conclusion… one that leaves almost as many questions as answers like:
- I know Anna Friel is attractive but it seems somewhat implausible that every man she comes across wants to shag her
- Can you just travel internationally with a baby with no proof that you are the parent of said baby?
- Is it routine to sleep with your “marks” when undercover?
- Are there like no checks and balance whatsoever for people working undercover. Does no one check up to see if you’re hallucinating or having a mental breakdown? Or if your handler has lost the plot? Where is AC-12 when we need them?
- Does no one notice if you have a big shootout at a mansion in Belfast?
If anyone has any answers to these question please do let me know in the comments.
Overall… I liked it much more than season two. I still think it requires a bit more suspension of disbelief that I am completely comfortable with.