Inside No. 9 S7E4: Kid/Nap

by thethreepennyguignol

Normally, I try to come to these Inside No. 9 reviews with some statement about the episode as a whole: the themes, what it represents for the show, so on, so pretentiously forth. But this week, do you mind if I just chat to you about all the stuff I liked about Kid/Nap?

Kid/Nap is a distillation of so many things I enjoy about Inside No. 9 – not necessarily the most impressive example of a single one, but a perfect balancing act of all the skills this show has on offer wrapped up in a perfect half-hour bow. To start with, it’s fabulously slick and showy with its direction – split-screen, mirroring across characters and locations, the kind of in-your-face editing and directorial style that might grow wearing over a longer timeframe but works just right to deliver a bit of unique flavour to an episode of TV. I don’t think this show needs to rely on visual gimmicks to keep things interesting, but the instant stylistic reference to stuff like the Coen Brothers screwball heist comedies sets the tone perfectly.

And then you’ve got that cast. Shearsmith and Pemberton are not the focal point for this episode, which gives them a chance to have a whole lot of fun as supporting characters – Shearsmith especially, as the hedge fund fuckwit delivering, on instinct, his usual corporate opening line to his wife’s kidnapper over the phone, is clearly having a great time, and it’s nice to see them as the colour characters more than bearing the brunt of the plot.

But that’s because the people actually doing that are so great: Inside No. 9 is basically a who’s-who of great British character actors, and this episode is no exception. Daisy Haggard stars as the woman swiped from her flush lifestyle by her incompetent kidnapper (Daniel Mays), with genuine legend Jason Isaacs turning up later for a quick two-scene cameo (and this is apropos of nothing, but if you haven’t seen him in Death of Stalin yet, what are you doing with your life?). This small-scale stories really rely on excellent performances to convince in the character department, and everyone here is pulling it off masterfully.

And the writing is so much fun too – a lot of Pemberton and Shearsmith’s previous work has traded in high levels of absurdity, but stories like this in Inside No. 9 have them refining that absurd wit down to a sharp point. Watching Daniel Mays try to deliver threatening commands through a child’s voice-changer, it’s got this wonderfully specific comedy and drama to it that this show does so well – we know that this man is taking this very seriously and is probably very dangerous, but that doesn’t undo how fucking ridiculous his methods are, and that juxtaposition is brilliant.

Kid/Nap is just a really great example of the strengths of Inside No. 9, and it’s such a joy to watch this show in it’s seventh series still creating episodes as excellent as this. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this article and want to see more stuff like it, please check out the rest of my Inside No. 9 reviews. I’d also love it if you would check out my horrible short story collection, and, if you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon!

(header image via Den of Geek)