We pick right up from last week with Rabbit waking up in his apartment to a bloody scene and Mr. Larkham murdered. His arch rival, Inspector Tanner, is banging at the door and barges in ready to arrest him. Desperate times call for desperate measures so Rabbit holds Tanner’s partner at knifepoint until he can escape. He is now the most wanted man in London.
[SPOILERS FOR 1.6 AHEAD!]
Strauss and Mabel are the only ones who believe Rabbit is innocent. Before the two head out to find their friend, Mabel comes clean to Strauss about her involvement with the secret society and how Lydia posed as his girlfriend. The detective sergeant is in denial until he visits his significant other’s apartment and finds it empty except for the secret society’s symbol on the floor. The pair then question all of Rabbit’s contacts from Gwendoline at the Bar of Gold to the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, to track down the wanted man.
They eventually find the detective inspector in the sewers where he’s given up on his old life and becomes Murky John’s new apprentice sifting through the London’s waste for anything to sell. Strauss gives an impassioned speech to inspire Rabbit to join them and clear his name. The three then go back to Clementine’s (Lydia’s) old apartment to search for clues. After bribing a street urchin, they find out where she is staying.
Lydia is there waiting for them and they all take a stagecoach ride together. Rabbit recognizes Lydia from one of his first cases. She was a forced teen bride and murdered her fiancée. He felt pity for the young girl and convinced the judge to send her to an asylum instead of being hung. Ever since that day, she’s hated men and formed her secret organization, The Vision, in order to upend society and take it over.
Along the way, sharpshooting Princess Juliana of Bulgaria joins them in their ride. Lydia, like any good villain, then shares her plan to destroy London. The city has been preparing to enter the modern age with electricity and when it becomes powered, special lightbulbs in the streetlamps will cause everyone to go crazy and kill each other. Afterwards, The Vision will pick up the pieces and rebuild in the way they want. Before Juliana can shoot our heroes, Rabbit literally throws dog poo from his pockets at their captors as a diversion and they escape.
Strauss and Mabel then go to Chief Inspector Wisbech. They inform him of The Vision’s plan but are instead charged for aiding and abetting Rabbit forcing them on the run as well. Elsewhere, Rabbit retreats back into the sewers where both Tanner and a surprisingly alive, Flora, track him down. It’s a complicated situation since Tanner is one of Rabbit’s ex-lovers as well and the inspector and Flora end up shooting and killing each other.
Rabbit, Strauss and Mabel regroup and rush to the lighting ceremony that is hosted by Joseph Merrick. They try to prevent him from powering up the city but he flips the switch. The special lights induce animalistic behavior in the gathered crowd but fortunately the trio have protective lenses that shield them from the light’s effects. Strauss and Mabel manage to turn off the switch before any real damage can be done while Rabbit fails to apprehend Lydia.
The next day, they hold a private funeral with Mabel’s dad for Flora. The Chief Inspector praises their good work in saving the city from The Vision and also notices a mystery man (Jemaine Clement) lurking in the shadows. Later, the elder Wesbech speaks with the shady figure privately. Apparently, the Queen, herself, has taken interest in the team and want to recruit them for a new job.
‘Framed Rabbit’ started off strong with quick pacing to draw the viewer in as Strauss and Mabel search for their friend. There’s even a great running bit where Strauss is so grateful for the leads he receives that he could kiss Gwendoline and the Elephant Man. It’s so over the top but what really sells it is Wokoma’s reactions. That look straight into the camera is priceless.
However, in the back half, it becomes a bit muddled with too much going on. Not only is the team trying to save London but Flora returns, Tanner shows up and there’s even a double cross between Princess Juliana and Lydia. There is limited time to tie everything together so it feels rushed when it all finally ends.
Overall, the episode served as a good conclusion to the first season and a great way to tie the previous five episodes together. We have different elements returning whether it’s characters such as Princess Joana, the Elephant Man and Murky John or storylines including The Vision, the modernization of London and the Tanner rivalry. Plus, it sets the stage for season two with the possibility of building and expanding the world outside of London with a new job. And who wouldn’t want more Jemaine Clement on their show.
Year of the Rabbit’s first season was short and sweet. The comedy was always top notch incorporating both the silly and the sharp and witty. There was a good buddy cop feel to it too with interesting cases that all connected together in the big picture. Even though it’s a period piece, the writers found ways to keep it modern by including current social issues like women’s equality and politics. What stood out the most were the actors. The show served as an excellent vehicle to showcase Matt Berry and Susan Wokoma’s talent. The next season can’t come soon enough.
Insult of the Night
Rabbit: Oh look, it’s a ten-bob note. Think of all the torn clothes you can buy with this.
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