When the show opens, we see Harriet (Tallulah Rose Haddon) scouring through her room suspiciously. Those responsible for watching over the girl chat about her current situation and her love for a certain unsavory book. Harriet sits down and begins brushing her hair, before she is startled by a strange man in her mirror. She turns around and discovers that the man is a figment of her imagination. The priest rushes up stairs and finds Harriet fine, but having a little awkward. After they depart, Harriet speaks in a man’s voice about fresh fruit waiting to be plucked. After the intro, Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan) and his wife, Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer) visit the farm, which they have inherited and prepare to start a new life together. William (David Oakes) and the other farm hands welcome the couple home. John (Steve Oram) does the same, as the couple prepares for the upcoming solstice.
The pair heads inside, where they’re greeted by Gwen Pearce (Kerrie Hayes). Nathan learns about his mother’s condition from Gwen, before heading up stairs and tell her about his trial to Vienna to talk about psychological trauma. Nathan tells his mother about his intention to stay at the farm and away from his work in London. Charlotte enters and admits the same. The farmhands begin gathering for the solstice. Nathan’s mother tells him to allow Gideon (Malcolm Storry) to light the fight, yet Nathan is adamant that an Appleby has always done so. Nathan and Charlotte head outside and join the group, before Nathan starts the fire. While the group enjoys the event outside, someone or something sneaks in and scares Nathan’s mother.
She tells the figure to leave her son alone, but she succumbs to the unknown individual. She is laid to rest shortly thereafter. Nathan speaks with Charlotte about the recession and insists he’ll do his best to see that everyone is able to acquire a job elsewhere or remain on board at the farm. She eventually convinces him to move to the farm and allow all the workers to keep their jobs at the farm. Nathan says goodbye to his mother, but he begins working the farm with his wife. Charlotte introduces John to the steam engine, but he doesn’t seem thrilled about allowing a machine to do his job. Next, Nathan gets a visit from Matthew Denning (Nicholas Woodeson), who tells him about Harriet.
He admits Harriet has become more subdued. Meanwhile, Harriet sits outside and plays with a small duckling. Denning insists Nathan should investigate Harriet, since he has a background in psychology. Nathan refuses and insists he must give the farm his full attention. During this time, Harriet dumps the duck in with the pigs and they go crazy. That night, Nathan goes over the accounts and tells Charlotte that things do not look good. Charlotte manages to pull Nathan away from the books and coax him into bed. The next morning, Gwen and Charlotte clean out the house and prepare for the day’s farm work. During their search, they come across the belongings of Nathan’s son.
The women chat about the boy and Charlotte finds some awkward drawings within the boy’s drawings. Meanwhile, John gets used to the steam engine, while Nathan watches on. That night, Nathan is startled to find Harriet stand in the nearby lake. He approaches her and she immediately asks for help. Nathan lures her out of the water and agrees to take her in, while sending one of the boys to alert the church. In the morning, Charlotte ridicules Nathan’s decision to monitor the girl. Nonetheless, Nathan quickly begins working with the woman to try and uncover the source of her problems. Nathan confirms that Charlotte is his second wife. He tries to get information from Harriet. She admits the man told her to enter the lake. She refuses to tell Nathan the name of the man in question.
Nathan heads to the church to investigate Harriet’s room. He attempts to find alcohol bottles, but fails to do so. However, he does find two phonograph cartridges and immediately takes them to home to listen to their contents. The second one contains the voice of Nathan’s son. He cries out for his father and asks where he is. Outside, Harriet watches Gwen have sex with an unknown man. While Harriet stares into the water, Nathan and Charlotte listen to the phonograph more. They hear a man, Abel North (David Sterne), chat about the townsfolk and their dislike for him. He admits he likes the young ones though and wants to pluck them. Harriet enters and speaks in Abel’s voice. Nathan speaks with Gideon and attempts to learn more about Abel North.
John is asked about the man, before Gideon admits his father was a preacher. When asked where the man could be now, Gideon admits he is probably in Hell. John confronts Nathan outside and tells him that Abel North once bragged about killing a woman from the workhouse. He however denied it the next day, after sobering up. Nathan returns home and allows Harriet to listen to the man’s voice and attempts to gain more insight into her condition. Harriet refuses to give up anything significant and instead convinces Nathan to chat about his old patients from London. Nathan attempts to convince Harriet that can conquer her problem, if they work together. That night, Charlotte and Nathan chat about Harriet’s condition, before getting their picture taken. In the middle of the night, Nathan hears a loud bang.
Nathan goes on the hunt, but is unable to find anything. In the morning, they discover that the engine has been destroyed. John seems happen about the circumstances and admits the machine was only going to steal their jobs. Afterwards, Nathan visits his mother’s grave with Harriet in tow. She goes nuts and begins talking in voices, before speaking like Charlotte. Nathan attempts to stop her. She kisses him, she attacks him and runs away. Meanwhile, the farm workers complain about Charlotte, while John walks about in a stupor. Nathan tells Charlotte about Harriet speaking like his son. John commits suicide with the help of the farm’s horses. That night, Nathan speaks to Charlotte about the suicide. He insists John couldn’t have been depressed, because he loved working on the farm. Charlotte wonders whether or not the workers will ever trust them now.
A ceremony is held for John. That night, Nathan finds blood scrawled all over Harriet’s wall. She is discovered and seems to have harmed herself. Harriet is bandaged up and put in bed, while Charlotte convinces Nathan to speak with her parents and send her to London. He agrees to do so depending on the parent’s answer. In the morning, Charlotte is greeted outside by all of the farm workers. They begin their work, without hesitation. Gwen speaks with the young boy, Charlie, before heading outside and attacking Gwen. Nathan and the others manage to stop her, before she can kill Gwen. Nathan speaks with the parents and manages to get their permission to treat Harriet. He takes her to a private room and hypnotizes her. Once she goes out, he begins speaking to Abel. Nathan insults Abel and eventually gets him to speak.
Denning eventually gets worried and attempts to force the door open. Charlotte begins to open the door just as Nathan tries to waken Harriet. She says something about being baptized, so Nathan carries her out to the water and performs the deed. She immediately snaps out of it and everyone seems to think she has been saved. The next day, John’s body is laid to rest. Nathan puts the watch, which he used to hypnotize Harriet, around Charlotte’s neck. That night, Nathan witnesses something walking in front of his door. He heads out into the hallway and attempts to find out what it is. He discovers a woman standing in the hallway reading a book of some sort.
The Living And The Dead Review
The Living and the Dead’s first episode was a little slow, but intriguing nonetheless. The storyline is very creepy, but not necessarily scary. At the same time, the episode was very enthralling and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I enjoyed the first episode and will certainly watch the rest. A 7 out of 10 is deserved.