Inside No 9: The Trolley Problem | Spoiler-free preview of the next episode © BBC Studios/James Stack
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Inside No 9: The Trolley Problem

Spoiler-free preview of the next episode

After last week’s ensemble of great comedy actors, this episode of Inside No 9 pares everything down to a tight, claustrophobic two-hander between creators Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith.

We open on a dark and stormy night. Pemberton is Blake, a Good Samaritan who has saved Shearsmith’s character Drew from leaping to his death from a bridge and brought him back to his remote house to dry off, have a cup of tea and get his head together. And as a therapist, perhaps he can offer some help…

As they chat, they seem to form a connection, though an attempt to use ‘laugher yoga’ to ease the tensions backfires when Drew’s chuckles become troubling. For his delicate state of mind also brings a  a sense of menace, especially when he reacts badly to the gently affable Blake’s attempts to analyse him. 

Given that ‘things are not all that they seem’ is the byword of this compelling series, viewers can be sure of more surprises as the pair test each other, revealing more about their darker sides.

The titular Trolly Problem is a well-known moral thought experiment – especially if you watched The Good Place, where it was a notable plot point – but while it’s relevant to the plot, knowing what it is will not prepare you for the twists of this ominous tale. But as always, to reveal more would risk spoilers.

It’s enough to say this is one of the pair’s more darkly dramatic pieces. There’s very little comic relief to relieve the ratcheting tension – an absurdly out-of-place reference to a certain national treasure notwithstanding – which will have you guessing till the end, certain only that this pressurised encounter is not likely to end well.

• Inside No 9: The Trolly Problem is on BBC Two at 10pm tonight.

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Review date: 15 May 2024
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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