ITV’s Lightfields Review: Episodes 3 – 5

Okay, now that ITV’s ghostly venture, Lightfields, has drawn to a close, I’ve realised I have almost completely lost interest...

Dene Walker

Contributor

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Okay, now that ITV’s ghostly venture, Lightfields, has drawn to a close, I’ve realised I have almost completely lost interest in the short series, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I feel it only fair that I at least try to give a decent assessment of the remaining three episodes. Unfortunately for me, episodes 3, 4 and 5 have become something of a blur and, whilst I have enjoyed the series as a whole, I can now see why it needed so few episodes.

As it turns out, the mystery of the barn fire? Yeah, it’s really not that interesting. For the most part, Episode 3 and 4 are quite plodding and the plot had begun to stagnate, in my opinion. Lucy continued to haunt 70s Vivien, who quickly began to lose it entirely and becomes embroiled in a supernatural tete-a-tete with the resident ghoul. The question of whether Lucy was ‘Poltergeist’ or ‘Casper’ was fairly engaging, if perhaps bordering on predictable with generic threats of doom – such as ‘Ready or not, here I come,’ and ‘Forgive me’ – being churned out via the magical typewriter. Tom, the old farm hand of the Felwoods, continues to lurk in the shadows insidiously, fulfilling very little purpose other than shuffling Vivien closer and closer to the edge of understanding.

In the 1940s, Eve continues to play Nancy Drew and finds out that Dwight, in fact, has a wife and children in America. This did offer a more profound  layer of the mysterious airman for us to peel away and, also, added another indication of his possible involvement in the fire. However, the biggest development in the Felwoods’ time is Mr Felwood’s involvement in Lucy’s death. There is subtle hinting that he may have been responsible, somehow, and, from my perspective, some hint of a darker, incestuous obsession with his deceased daughter. However, rather disappointingly, this turns out not to be the case at all. Eve manages to stop Mr Felwood committing suicide, during which he reveals that he witnessed Dwight leaving the barn and confronted Lucy afterwards, effectively disowning her as his daughter. He was racked with guilt that these were his last words to her. Sad, for sure! But ground-breaking and unexpected, certainly not!

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However, in the present day, there is a bit more of an ambitious step up with Little Luke being pulled between ghost Lucy and his drunken, incompetent father. Whilst his father, Paul, and his grandfather, Baz, busy themselves with some immature, and wholly unnecessary, macho posturing, Luke tells his great-granddad, Old Pip, about the Tooth Fairy (how old is this kid supposed to be?) to which Pip realises it is in fact his dearly departed sister. She confirms this with a decent bit of ghostly pyrotechnics. You know just to freak the old chap out. All in all, Episode 3 and 4 standalone as two pieces of powerful narration and fine examples of good, British acting, even if they are even so slightly forgettable. Despite this, it is in the fifth episode that the plot takes a bit of a nosedive … and a belly-flop!

Lucy seems to really have it in for Viv at the start of the episode, to the point where our resident Kathy Bates has decided to end it all, leaving her suicide note on THAT typewriter. Ghost Lucy leads her to the burnt-down barn, where her father almost killed himself, and just as you are expecting her to deliver some sort of supernatural smackdown, she simply ‘reminds’ Viv that she, as a little girl, saw Lucy being trapped by the fire and Lucy begged her for help. But, being so young she couldn’t really understand want was happening and just sort of stood there. Oh wow, five episodes for that! This was one of the biggest disappointments of the series, in my opinion. She wasn’t pissed off at Viv at all, but simply wanted her to ‘remember’ so she could not be riddled with an unknown guilt and crippled with mental health issues anymore. Similarly, Lucy had supposedly been using Luke to communicate to Pip that the fire wasn’t his fact either. How so? By kidnapping his great-grandson and tormenting him in the form of fiery ghostly apparitions? How altruistic of her! Hardly a guardian angel is she?

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Of course, this was a ghost story and the wronged can never be completely forgiving. After four episodes of leaving us guessing how, and against who, Lucy is going to exact her revenge, the one person that does face her unspeakable wrath is Dwight, who is killed after seeing Lucy’s ghost whilst riding on his motorcycle, presumably her doing. I just didn’t understand this, I’m afraid. What angle are the writers going for in regards to Lucy? Pip and Viv can be forgiven for not helping her because they were young and innocent and have suffered for decades following the accident, but Dwight, who she slept with and who basically dumped her for his wife, deserves death almost immediately? This plot inconsistency is even more disappointing when the revelation of how the fire really started finally comes to light.

In short, it was the boring, grunting farm hard, Tom, who fancied Lucy from afar in the 1940s and is kind of stalking Viv in the 1970s. He admits his crimes to Viv (1970s). Apparently he was another of the many witness to Dwight’s barn exit (a bit too convenient for my liking) and in true British fashion, he decided to deal with his bitter jealousy and angry by going to the pub and getting pissed. And, of course, once you’ve had a drink it’s only natural you for you to want to torch things. Not aware that Lucy had fallen asleep in the hay in the barn, Tom couldn’t stand the mere sight of the place where sweet, innocent Lucy had disgraced herself with the better looking, more interesting than him, foreigner, and used Dwight’s lighter to set fire to it. As you do! I’m sorry but I just found this very lazy writing and a tenuous link between the individually strong narrative strands. Did the writers just run out of ideas at the last minute? Overall, the series was well-acted, excellently directed and the eerie, ghostly atmosphere was set in a believable and unique style. However, it’s last minutes plunders, particularly its inconsistent plotting really brought down its overall success for me.