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Thursday 21 August 2014

TV Review: Amber accelerates into a nail-biting thriller

Darragh McManus

Published 20/01/2014 | 22:35

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A scene from the new RTE drama 'Amber'. Photo: Patrick Redmond

Second episode of the increasingly gripping Amber, and the plot thickened.

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If the opener felt a little slow sometimes – an unavoidable consequence, really, of scene-setting – tonight’s show grabbed the audience’s throat and began to slowly squeeze.

The tension ratcheted up, incrementally but inexorably, as journalist Maeve (Justine Mitchell, excellent) seemed on the brink of solving the mystery.

In the end, it was something of a red herring – though not without posing intriguing questions, and giving more clues as to what happened Amber.

Each episode is from a different perspective: tonight we saw through Maeve’s eyes, as prisoner Terence offered information in return for €10,000 (a wonderful performance from Ned Dennehy, creepy but ambiguous).

At first it seemed like he was playing a con, but Terence – convicted for drink-driving – somehow knew of a painting on Amber’s bedroom wall, the accompanying text “Daughters of the air” lingering in the mind like a rumour of bad news.

From about midway, the show picked up speed in a tense countdown to the finale.

Would Terence come good with his promise of the girl’s location?

Yes and no.

There was a body, but it wasn’t Amber: this was a twentysomething, buried in the forest two years previously.

And Terence, wracked by guilt, hung himself in his cell: turned out the money was reparation to the parents of a girl he killed through reckless driving.

Questions nagged afterwards: who was the prisoner Terence overheard talking about Amber?

Who was the woman in the woods? (The girl killed by Terence was much younger.)

And who is Manga Boy 24, the cool young guy Amber met on the day she disappeared?

Edge-of-seat stuff, particularly the scene where Maeve reveals who she is to Terence’s mother: very brief but nail-biting.

And the constant hopping back-and-forth in time works brilliantly.

It’s hard to follow exactly what’s going on at times, but one assumes all will be revealed for a finish; we’ll definitely be watching when it is.

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