7 June 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Doesn't feel like 'Messiah' at all
On the whole, 'Messiah' is a terrific show, with series 1 and 4 being particularly great. Series 2 also had a lot of wonderful things, and while Series 3 was a disappointment it still had a lot of things that worked in its favour.
Wish I can say the same for "The Rapture", but sadly, no. Its biggest problem is that it doesn't feel like 'Messiah' at all (only resemblance is the title), with very few of the ingredients that made Series 1, 2 and 4 work so well. Even Series 3's flaws weren't anywhere near as big as the ones here. "The Rapture" also fails heavily as a detective drama/mystery on its own merits.
There are a few redeeming merits. As with the previous four series, "The Rapture" is beautifully and stylishly made with atmospheric lighting, good moody visuals and locations well suited to the series' tone. The music is suitably ominous, without being intrusive, with an incandescently eerie theme tune. Anton Lesser and Rory Kinnear are decent in their roles, though both have given better work.
Unfortunately, that's it for the redeeming merits. The characters are nowhere near as interesting as those of 'Messiah's' first four series and they are far less easy to engage with due to inferior acting and very little chemistry and interaction (the team working on the case doesn't even feel like a team). Much of the acting is not too great. Ken Stott's (whose presence is very much sorely missed) riveting intensity is hard to beat but Marc Warren, whose presence is out of place in a role that doesn't really suit him, acts with no tension whatsoever and very little emotion, maybe he was trying to act with more restraint than he can do but it felt like he was too restrained.
Scripting is pretty lazy in structure and the dialogue is dreary and doesn't flow as naturally as before. The story doesn't work either as a serial killer thriller, a mystery or as a psychological drama, and pacing-wise it never grabs. There is nowhere near enough suspense or tension for it to succeed as a thriller complete with a killer that's far too obvious (in a mystery with rather too few suspects) and a very rushed and far-fetched final solution. The mystery is improbable, am aware that parts of the previous four series stretched credibility on occasions but not as badly as this, and often convoluted as a result of too many loose ends and some scenes that needed more explanation (others also pretty useless). For a series as notoriously brutal and not-for-the-weakest-of-stomachs as 'Messiah' the murders are not as inventive and not shocking enough (almost too tame), the theme of the murders is the same but with little of the imagination and the shock value.
It takes far too long to set up and there could have been less of the past stuff because it added to little. And there is not enough known about the characters and the mystery is too underdeveloped to make it work as a psychological drama. Direction is good stylistically and visually, but direction of the actors and the storytelling seems to have almost been neglected.
Overall, while that it doesn't feel like 'Messiah' at all is a huge problem "The Rapture" is very weak and disappointing on its own too. While there are those that did have problems with the third series of the show, this is the only series that's bad. 3/10 Bethany Cox