Something strange is going on in Yorkshire. Taps drip, stairs creak, lights go wild and sea shells are showing up in the oddest places. A well-meaning social worker is unceremoniously defenestrated and an ominous figure like something out of The Ring wrapped in a sari is haunting a young woman’s dreams apparently because she dared sing a few lines an old English ballad.
In order to decipher the first episode of this chilling and macabre BBC mystery, Remember Me, we must start with the enigmatic man of eighty-odd years who is so tormented that he stages a fall down the stairs to escape his own home. That man is Tom Parfitt and he is played by the famous comedic actor and world traveler, Michael Palin. A bit of unconventional casting perhaps, but this role allows Mr. Palin to return to his Yorkshire roots while challenging audience perceptions at the same time.
After faking the tumble, Tom is checked out by paramedics and assigned a social worker (Rebekah Staton). His fear and trepidation melt as he is transported to a temporary nursing home placement at Millthorpe Lodge - which he insists will be permanent as he has no desire to return to his house. It doesn’t take much time for Tom to get settled in his new digs considering the suitcase he had all prepared for a speedy departure is curiously empty.
But no sooner has he been left alone than violently inexplicable things begin to happen. Tom’s social worker dashes in his room to drop off a memento from his old house: a framed photo of her elderly ward as a child. From the activity room below we hear loud shuddering bangs immediately followed by an alarm sounding from Tom’s room. When young care worker Hannah (Jodie Comer of Doctor Foster and The White Princess fame) arrives a few seconds later, Tom is quaking with fear in the corner and where the window once was, there is a gaping hole. On the ground below the social worker lies dead surrounded by glass, curtains and the window frame. Tom’s puzzling explanation is only, "I should have stopped her. But I’ve never had the strength."
Hannah has an instinctive desire to protect the fragile old man and sends Detective Rob Fairholme (Game of Thrones and The Full Monty's Mark Addy) who has come up to question him away. Seeing the young girl as someone he can trust, Tom asks Hannah to take the offensive picture and his empty suitcase back to his house, making it very clear that she not nose about.
Of course, Hannah has other plans. Having removed the photo from the frame, she ascertains it’s only half of the original image with another person having been torn out completely. She heads to Tom’s place with every intention of getting him some clothes and gleaning more background info about her troubled patient in the process.
She steps into a creepy, darkened house filled with sinister noises. After a brief encounter with kindly neighbor Roshana (Mina Anwar) Hannah returns to collect a supply of Tom’s clothes. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to the parlor where she discovers numerous copies of the sheet music for ‘Scarborough Fair’ stored in the piano stool. She departs the inhospitable abode in haste without taking any of the scores with her.
When Hannah dutifully delivers what she’s collected to Tom in the hospital, he is none too pleased. He scolds her with instructions to return everything and informs her that he’s tired and wants to sleep. When the compassionate young woman offers to sing him a lullaby, we know which song she’ll choose and it’s no surprise that Tom is alarmed by this.
Later, Roshana’s sons from next door break in to Tom’s house. The eldest, Zamir (Aquib Khan), is expecting to find some valuable antiques. What they stumble upon instead is an attic of nightmares. A fire and candles inexplicably illuminate a room of old toys. A chest of Indian relics also contains the other half of the torn photo revealing an Indian woman holding Tom’s hand. The younger boy Akil (Ubayd Rehman) pockets the photo and then all hell breaks loose. The candles go out, the drawers on the toy chest bang closed, a shadowy figure starts to unfold in the corner and a waterfall cascades after the boys as they bolt downstairs.
Unfortunately these eerie happenings aren’t limited to Tom’s house. In the mortuary, a tear runs down the face of the deceased social worker. Tom senses something amiss and escapes the hospital. Meanwhile in her dreams Hannah is at the water’s edge and sees an Indian woman in black unnaturally unfolding to a standing position. When Hannah awakes, the same figure is menacingly rising before her.
It appears Tom was right. By snooping around his cursed house, something evil has been released that can’t be shoved back in.
Next week we’re bound to learn more about Hannah’s dysfunctional family situation as well as Rob Fairholme’s lack of career advancement. But mainly we hope to uncover what it is from his past that has haunted Tom Parfitt so thoroughly that it endangers those around him. Has Remember Me proved to be sufficiently disturbing so far? Please chat about your expectations and impressions so far in the comments below!