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Trigger Point, season finale recap: Drama shocks viewers with the most obvious twist of all time

It is unlikely the ITV show’s final-act revelation will go down in televisual history – but at least Vicky McClure’s ExPo Lana is finally getting a day off

Nick Hilton
Sunday 27 February 2022 22:00 GMT
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Trigger Point trailer

Very few of the great twists of all time could be preceded by the word “obviously”. Obviously he was already dead. Obviously he’s your father. Obviously it’s a sledge. The thrill of the twist is in its singular lack of obviousness. Which is why, I suspect, Trigger Point’s final-act revelation will not go down in televisual history.

Obviously, it was him all along. But we’ll get to that.

This episode opens with a rare victory for Vicky McClure’s Lana and her bomb disposal (ExPo) team. They successfully neutralise the car bomb that was left finely poised at the end of the preceding episode. Credit here to the robot for working correctly for the first time this series. “Nut would’ve been proud of you,” a character who, according to IMDb, is called Hassan Rahim (played by EastEnders’ Nabil Elouahabi, he’s been given almost nothing to do) tells her, “…we all are.”

The loco motive

Attention turns to the bomber’s next target, which, after attacks on a radio DJ (Miles Jupp was genuinely in this series for five seconds) and a campaign headquarters, seem to be targeted around the “Deptford South” by-election, which is about to go to the polls. The police suspect that the final showdown will happen at the election night count, but intriguingly allow everything to go ahead as normal. Perhaps they are really committed to local democracy, or maybe they think this’ll spice things up nicely for the returning officer. By-elections can, after all, be very dull.

Now, at this point, in the middle of its final episode, Trigger Point finally brings its cards away from the chest and reveals its, extremely convoluted, motive. I will try to summarise: John Hudson (Kris Hitchen), who they believe is caught up in this affair, is geo-located to a military facility near Porton Down. This, they suspect, is the source of HMX 319, which was last distributed for something called “Operation Dynamo”. Hudson has also sent Lana a mysterious text with the numbers “66 11 42”. DI Thom Youngblood (Mark Stanley) makes the logical leap, which at this point I’m just going with, that Dynamo relates to a vehicle crash in Kandahar, in which seven soldiers were killed. But the victims’ families have always suspected it was an explosion, not a crash, and that there was a cover up. Ayesha Campbell-Khan (Salima Saxton), the hot favourite at the by-election, was in charge of the inquiry, so it looks like the bomber is targeting her. Are you following?

Elementary, my dear Washington

Anyhow, as Lana and colleagues are prepping the count site, Karl (Warren Brown) rocks up with two coffees and a deep desire to talk about their relationship. “I know you’re busy and not in a good headspace,” he says to a woman who watched her brother get blown up a few days ago. Lana, naturally, doesn’t want to have a heart-to-heart while she’s at work, nor is she being afforded the space to grieve. “Who wants a quiet life anyway?” her sweet young colleague Danny (Eric Shango) asks her a few seconds later. Probably her, Danny. Probably the woman who’s witnessed, at first hand, two of her loved ones reduced to human rubble.

The conclusion to Trigger Point, like the conclusion to any Sunday-night police drama, involves enough concurrent misdirection and revelation to make you long for the clarity of Peppa Pig. John Hudson is found passed out, an apparent suicide attempt, at a “soldier’s chapel”. Everyone is very pleased, thinking they’ve caught their man, but then forensics expert Sonia (Kerry Godliman) gets on the horn to Lana and exclaims with the nerdish thrill of an Only Connect contestant, “It’s the periodic table of elements!”

What she means is that the numbers John Hudson sent earlier in the episode – 66 11 42 – relate to elements on the periodic table. Namely, Dysprosium (Dy), Sodium (Na), and Molybdenum (Mo). DyNaMo. If this wasn’t hammy enough, Lana and Sonia realise that the same code was being used back in the opening episode, for the “1912” scrawled on the wall at the site of the first attack (I also had forgotten this plot point, don’t worry). 1912, 19 12, Potassium (K) Magnesium (Mg). KMg. Karl Maguire (apparently his surname has been mentioned at some point, I guess).

Vicky McClure on the case in ‘Trigger Point’ (ITV)

Twist and shoot

Lana receives this message from Sonia and spots Karl in the crowd at the count. They lock eyes, share a knowing look, and then Karl takes to the stage and exposes a bomb strapped to his chest. He is, it’s fair to say, very angry about the cover-up in Kandahar. He was one of the soldiers and has spent the years since the event plotting his revenge. He takes Campbell-Khan hostage, holding a “dead man’s switch” (a trigger that will activate if his grip relaxes) and broadcasting his grievances to the world.

Lana steps in to try to calm him down. “This isn’t you,” she says to a man who has spent the summer indiscriminately killing civilians. Sorry Lana, it probably is him. Like all baddies, he takes these final few moments to spell out how he manufactured his plot, including recruiting the “racist f***ing idiots” to his cause. “They wanted a culture war and I gave them one,” he announces, like a newspaper columnist doing their self-assessment tax return.

Ultimately, Lana is able to grab the switch in time for a sniper to put a bullet through Karl’s skull. It’s surprisingly simple in the end, a rather bathetic conclusion to what has been a very bad summer for Lana. All the men in her life – Nut (Adrian Lester), Billy (Ewan Mitchell) and now Karl – are dead, which really only leaves Thom Youngblood.

Last man standing: Mark Stanley as DI Thom Youngblood in ‘Trigger Point’ (ITV)

Having been ditched in the previous episode, we now see Youngblood, in a flash-forward, inviting the grief-stricken Lana out for a drink when she’s done giving evidence to a committee. Despite all his recent humbling, he still manages to look smug. Buddy, anyone would look good if their love rival turned out to be a mass murderer.

The makers of Trigger Point must’ve envisaged this final episode as a gripping, shocking conclusion to the drama. But for six-weeks they’ve teased us with a shadowy bomber who’s always fitted the basic profile of Karl. Ex-military? Check. Bomb expert? Check. Known to the viewers? Check. As suspects got whittled down by unsubstantiated accusations (John) or trips to the pearly gates (Billy) it really only left Karl. Karl, who was already most suspicious as the least suspicious character. And so, when the scales fall from the viewers’ eyes and the jacket opens to reveal a suicide vest, I suspect there will be more yawns than gasps. Obviously, it was Karl. Obviously.

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