Three episodes into BBC America’s Intruders and one aspect of the show’s motives has become clear. The almost painfully slow pace it opened with looks set to continue throughout the remainder of its short eight episode run. If the trailers had been accurate representations of what to expect, they might have emulated say, Kubrick’s teasers for Eyes Wide Shut; a long, uninterrupted shot of something innocuous. Perhaps the dual-persona Madison’s transformative facial expressions twisting from gnarled derision into the gleeful grin of a child. Anything to hint at the true nature of the show.
Last week left off with Madison-Marcus catching a ride with a stranger up to Seattle. This week’s episode opens back in the car with Madison and Karen, the good samaritan taking a chance on a needy kid. There’s some interesting writing choices leveraged into their interactions. If you’re to consider the issue of Marcus seeking refuge in the body of a nine-year-old, it’s a little sloppy of him to regale his road trip companion with observations no child would be interested in. As the radio plays Mozart, he spirals off into a rant about the composer. That’s not to say a kid couldn’t pick up on such knowledge, from a parent’s interests perhaps, but it’s the way he relays it. It’s as if he has little interest in shielding his true persona. Wouldn’t it be easier for him to reach Seattle without raising a red flag? You know, by actually behaving like a kid?
His misguided attempt at ‘blending in’ to his new vessel fails. Karen is instantly aware that something’s wrong. As Marcus sleeps, she steals a card from his jacket – the ‘9’ card given to him by Shepherd. Noticing the phone number on the rear, she pulls up to a rest stop – her phone has died – and calls him from a pay phone. Shepherd’s presence in the episode is almost halved compared to last week, but we are offered a peek into his past. His initial deal with Marcus in a flashback reveals that the person in Madison’s body was actually an old man. Sitting across from each other, the pair broker a deal wherein Shepherd doesn’t kill him – as the 9 have commanded – but instead receives cash in compensation for letting Marcus live. As an intruder. Who the 9 are is still unclear at this point – we can only assume that’s the name of the intruders oorganization
Karen’s call to Shepherd is interrupted by the pint-sized psycho, who throws a hissy fit and breaks the phone. Feeding Karen a line about Shepherd being her uncle who molested her, the pair make amends briefly and head into the bathroom before Shepherd tracks them. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, Millie Brown truly excels in this scene. A shot of her facing away from Karen, as she waits for her new friend to realise her error in calling her ‘uncle’ is downright creepy. A smile extends across her face in a way that Jack Nicholson would be proud. Her ability to oscillate between the abruptness of Marcus and the gentile Madison will ensure she’s never out of work.
When Shepherd shows up at the rest stop too late, he discovers that Marcus-Madison has killed Karen in the bathroom, leaving her bloodied corpse crammed into a toilet cubicle. It’s one of the show’s first violent glimpses. He burns her body in her car, throws her teeth out the window as he roars down the road, and closes the episode when he lobs her head into a river. He’s no closer to Marcus and endangering himself in the disposal of a corpse that could come back to bite him on the ass.