Reviews | Written by Jack Bottomley 03/06/2022

INSIDE NO. 9, Series 7, Episode 6, WISE OWL

Once again we come to the sad time that we have to say goodbye to another series of Inside No. 9 but, as has been the case often throughout the show’s history, the series goes out on top form. Little wonder, it has been renewed for two future series (what number does that bring it too again?)

‘Wise Owl’ tells the story of the reclusive Ronnie (Reece Shearsmith), who since being a boy has always tried to do the right thing, and follow the guidance of animated TV public information advert hero Wise Owl (Ron Cook), but when is right very much wrong?

Reminding of Matthew Holness’ under-seen and horrifying Possum, in how it marries the dark human psychology and soul-shakingly sinister horror with tools of entertainment/education, Wise Owl is a genuinely harrowing watch. What starts as initially unnerving, grows increasingly so, before being capped by a very powerful ending. 

Harnessing the haunting and lingering power of ‘70s British public information films (especially Charlie Says) and using them to make the unspoken horrors of that era and many others since that much more potent, Wise Owl was a phenomenal feat of complex and important issues astoundingly handled through horror/drama storytelling. Every element serves a purpose, every clue builds up and every animated interlude not only adds to the story, it completely nails the clear - and very real - influences.

This was a psychological and frightening dive into the the darkest and cruellest of human acts, which ended with the light that comes with bravely breaking free of such terrors. A story of cautionary tales and national treasures, and how one can rather ironically and frighteningly become inter-twined with the other. 

Impeccably written, genuinely disturbing (that round the door scare sent our blood cold) and yet ultimately an empowering watch. Hurry back guys, TV just isn’t the same without you!