Inside Men Review: "Episode 1.04"
For the first three episodes of Inside Men’s four-episode run, the show told us the story of three very different men executing one big crime. Inside Men showed us the slow and steady changes of this trio over the course of a few months. With the exception of a few minor mistakes, the show was successful at building tension towards an event we already knew played out successfully. But with the final episode, Inside Men makes plenty of missteps to make up for the lack of them in the series and ends with one of the least satisfying and confusing finales in recent memory.
Four episodes for a series is short, even in British terms. Most receive at least six episodes per series. To make matters worse, Inside Men was a full hour when it originally aired in the UK, but the American episodes have been cut down about 15 minutes due to commercials. This never seemed that intrusive in prior episodes, but in this finale, the episode feels cut up, with certain storylines, such as the marriage of Marcus and Gina, just thrown in at the last second. Had Inside Men been given six episodes to let the show breathe and gain some finality, we could have had a brilliant finale rather than the muddled mess that was presented.
The final episode leads these three from August, a month before the crime, to October, a month after the crime. Chris is still informing the police of the crime, letting them know about Kalpesh, Riaz and John, but leaving Marcus and Gina out of it. In October, Kalpesh and Riaz have been arrested for the theft. The day arrives for them to rob the counting house, but when Gina enters John’s house to hold up his wife and adopted daughter, they are nowhere to be found and the plan is called off. In an effort to make things look more realistic, John says that the three of them shouldn’t know the exact day the crime will take place.
One day, John’s boss tells him that he has to fire Chris, since they believe a security breach has occurred after bringing Riaz into the counting house. John avoids the firing, and when Chris tries to reenter his former place of employment, his entrance code won’t work. Unfortunately for him, this is the day the crime will take place. He tells the masked criminals he doesn’t have the code, to which they shoot him in the leg. The show does a nice job of showing us the heist again, but this time we see everyone’s faces, even though we know they are covered in masks. Every move means something different than it did three episodes ago, and in these aspects the show really works well. Of course after the crime, that’s when the show goes all to hell.
In October, John believes the cops have quit looking over him and have told Marcus to meet him to get his cut. He calls Marcus while at his throne of money. The symbolism couldn’t be stronger here and feels so heavy-handed. John no longer trusts Chris, but since Marcus is good friends with Chris, he allows him to tag along. Once the meeting takes place, Chris sneaks up on John, knocks him out and traps him in a truck.
Here’s where everything gets sloppy. John and Chris have a discussion about how Marcus and Chris were greedy and only wanted the money, but John wanted to know that he could do something like this and to lose all sense of fear he has had. This has been made clear for the last three episodes, so just bluntly telling us is completely unnecessary. For some reason the two seem to make up, as John drives Chris back home to Dita and his new child and without any money. We also see that Marcus and Gina are now on the run, having taken only one box of money. Knowing the stupidity of these two, they’ll make it a day tops without messing up in a way that gets them both arrested. John goes back to the money, throws it all in a camper and pulls up to the counting house, all smiles, to return the money.
The ending here just feels so thrown together, like the creators had no idea how to close everything out. Why did the cops never attempt to arrest John, and how did Chris get off scot-free? What about John’s now broken family? And why oh why do we need our final moments with these characters to hit us over the head with explanations for all of their motivations?
Inside Men has 90 percent of a good series, with the final 10 percent featuring some of the oddest choices considering what came before it. The show is blunt with some answers yet leaves the audience asking more than they expected, and not in a good way. With at least one more episode, I can’t help but feel like Inside Men would have had more room for a suitable conclusion rather than the thrown-together finale it received.