Reviews | Written by Jack Bottomley 28/04/2022

INSIDE NO. 9, Series 7, Episode 2, MR KING

Before it takes a week’s break, this week’s Inside No. 9 leaves you with a potentially troubled night of warped dreams and fearful thoughts. Because make no mistake, Episode 2 of Series 7, entitled "Mr. King" is a truly disturbing offering from the dark comedy masters, and an excellent piece of misdirection. Read no further if you fear any spoilers. No seriously…

Reece Shearsmith is Mr. Curtis, a new teacher at a small village primary school in rural Wales, who is trying to inspire his students after a recent personal crisis. As such he goes all in to this new job but the spectre of his predecessor, Mr. King, looms and Mr. Curtis starts asking some horrifying questions.

“Mr. King” is a classroom-set story that seemingly broaches very unsettling real life issues of abuse, that are all too rife nowadays, before transforming into a twisted climate change tale by way of Wicker Man and Kill List. Ari Aster-esque in how far it pushes the envelope, this unfolding story is one that leaves you squirming and the writing leads you purposely down pathways that hide the true dark heart of this tale. Though eagle-eyed viewers may indeed pick up on where things are heading, if you check the surroundings.

The performances are all superb, especially from the young cast, and this is folk horror done masterfully. Inside No. 9 simply had to some day tackle such a story, and they have delivered in spades with a story to remember. Come the twist and the cruel, haunting, climax that ensues, you may find yourself sat in awe of the dark festival you have witnessed play out. Once again realising that there truly is nothing else like this on TV.

Inside No. 9 once more proves just how bold, terrifying and lingering it can be, with an episode that burrows into the most innocent of environments, the most important of subjects, and then lets the age old horrors of mankind’s darkest storytelling sprout out from these holes.  Sometimes some of the most frightening tales really are the oldest. Especially when given a socially timely coat of finger paint.

You won’t be forgetting “Mr. King” anytime soon. Sleep tight and remember too recycle.