Well, if I thought the first half of Guilt was a challenge to recap, the second half really turned up the twistiness. Flashbacks filled in a few gaps, and yet more new characters were introduced as truths and lies were revealed right up to the very end. If you'd like to refresh your memory on the comings and goings of last week's episodes, the recap is right here.
For example, we learn early on that Walter left his estate to Sheila in exchange for caring for him through his illness. Everything, that is, except his vinyl collection, which was to go to his niece. Disorganized solicitor, Henry McKinnon, can’t locate the codicil so Sheila pipes up that the niece, whom she has met, is American and offers to get in touch with her.
Of course, we know that Angela is not Walter’s niece. And though she’s not prepared to admit that important fact to Jake, she does confess that she arrived in Scotland six months ago. After checking on her uncle (lie), she went traveling, ran out of money, and started working illegally at the Highland pub. We never fully learn why she came to Scotland in the first place, but it seems to involve an abusive ex.
Jake, obviously spurred on by his new love high, has a head full of plans for his record shop - rearranging stock, setting up a website, even thoughts of moving it to a better location. When Max shows up with more business paperwork, Jake insists that he be filled in all details of his store’s finances.
Offering vague promises to Jake, the elder McCall is scrambling like a dog on a hardwood floor to protect and extricate his brother from his sketchy monetary dealings. Alas Cameron (the payday loan guy) warns Max that he’s just a legitimizing pretense, and he shouldn’t mess with who is truly in charge.
Max also has his former private investigator on his back. Newly sober and focused, Kenny confronts him with what he knows –he’s seen the camera footage; he found the mechanic who fixed Max’s car and he knows he interfered with the paint sample. He wants Max to make him a partner in investigations/security or Kenny will turn him in to the police.
The seriously criminal nature of Max’s dalliance in money laundering becomes clear when he is ambushed in broad daylight. Infamous mobster Roy Lynch (Bill Paterson), the real boss behind the operation, makes it clear that Jake’s shop must stay open as a front for his numerous illegitimate businesses. Lynch gives Max until the end of the day to get his brother on board. Unbeknownst to Max, Kenny has been tailing him and gets knocked around quite badly by one of Lynch’s heavies.
We momentarily return to Angie’s dilemma. In another flashback, we witness Sheila present the proposition for Angie to pose as Walter’s niece. At first the younger girl says no, but thanks to her son (who is Angie’s boss at the pub), Sheila knows the American is in dire financial straits. She offers £10,000 pounds but Angie counters with double.
Now a note found amongst Walter’s albums (addressed to his real niece, Jessie) prompts Angie to look through Walter’s medications. She confronts Sheila about the checks Walter gave her and accuses the woman of overdosing him. Angie wisely refuses to leave without payment, so Sheila pulls out Max’s bag of blackmail cash and calls Angie a liar.
After his run-in with Lynch, a shaken Max finds Jake at a cemetery. More backstory is provided as the brothers discuss how Jake lost his chance at musical fame because Max left him to mind their sick mother. Max pleads with Jake to stay the course with him. He can help Jake get what he wants, but if he refuses to go along with the money laundering, they are both in real danger.
Next, what happened to Kenny at the docks? He’s found unconscious and taken to hospital. The pair of police officers sent to investigate include one DC Stevie Malone (Henry Pettigrew) who also happens to work for Lynch. He seems a bit reluctant to talk to the victim. Likewise, Kenny is hesitant to elaborate except to say he was hit from behind and didn’t see anything else. After the police depart, Max slips in the room to check on his “friend”.
Checking in on Claire, the inner struggle with her extra-marital activities proves too much. She leaves a message for Tina saying she isn’t brave enough and wants to end their affair. Tina shows up at Claire’s house, but basically lets her off the hook saying don’t worry, it was just for fun. As she goes to leave, Claire changes her mind and kisses Tina. Thing is, Tina, is working for Cameron and Lynch and reports that Claire doesn’t know anything about Max’s dealings with them. No matter, Lynch still wants Tina to stay close to the wife.
Meanwhile, Max has run out of time to get Jake on board. He tries to reason with Lynch, asking for the assurance that the mobster’s guys will just scare his brother. That night as Jake is walking to Angie’s, he gets grabbed and put in a car.
In the final chapter of Guilt, we see Max storming into the payday loan shop, demanding to know where Jake is. Of course, Max already knows because he had Jake kidnapped and kept at that non-descript social club before Lynch’s men could get to him. Jake’s not pleased and he still thinks he can break free of Max’s mob connection. That is until Kenny shows up looking the worse for wear and suggests Jake should listen to his brother.
Besides abducting his own brother, Max has figured out that Roy Lynch isn’t the high man on the totem pole of this establishment. He thinks if he can discover who is, he can topple Roy and free Jake. Kenny suggests that DC Malone (a bent copper with a huge gambling debt) might be able to shed light on the organization.
Stevie Malone points them towards Victor, an official at some unnamed foreign consulate. (You may recall we saw him and Lynch discussing laundering early on.) Max pitches how he could run the operation better and on a bigger scale. He suggests Roy is holding Victor back.
Max thinks the meeting went well, but Jake isn’t clear on what was agreed. The brothers part ways with Max promising to get Jake the money to start a new life. Of course, he’s wrong. Roy isn’t out of a job, he’s taking over Max’s firm instead. When Max refuses to sign the business over, one of Roy’s thugs smashes his face into the table, breaking his nose.
At the same time, Sheila’s plans hit a snag when Walter’s solicitor informs her that the real niece, Jessie in Australia, has contacted him. She tells him that Angie is leaving and she’s not taking the albums, so no harm done. Unfortunately, the police have already been contacted. At this point, people start confessing all over the place and making plans to flee.
Tina admits that she knows Max and that he’s in debt to her bosses, AKA very bad people. She wants Claire to go away with her. Max, however, has refused to come clean to Claire about his money woes. So a penniless Claire decides to leave with Tina for the time being, at least.
After a rather suspicious fire at the record shop, Jake and Angie reveal their dark secrets. Jake accidently killed Walter and Angie isn’t his niece. So they’re basically even. Angie isn’t staying, but she wants Jake to come with her- wherever they end up. Travel may be delayed as police arrive at her door.
Max shows up at the station to represent Angie on a conspiracy to defraud charge. He tells Angie to let him do the talking and to answer as few questions as possible. But Angie’s in a forthcoming mood and admits she isn’t Walter’s niece and that an old lady paid her to say she was. She doesn’t know why, but she can tell them where to find her. They agree to release her pending further investigation and they announce that Walter will be exhumed per request of the real niece. Max is none too pleased.
Max corners DC Malone insisting he take charge of the exhumation report. Stevie’s not inclined to comply since he told Roy about Max’s plan to meet with Victor from the start.
Not so loyal is Tina who stops by the loan office to grab some cash from the safe for her escape with Claire. She’s caught in the act, but when Claire enters the shop, only Cameron and Roy are standing there. The men claim not to know Tina or Max. Cameron suggests this Tina may have taken the stairwell through to the street, people often do. Ominous music suggests Claire might find Tina dead, but it’s just an exit to the road. Tina sends Claire a text that she’s sorry.
Meanwhile Kenny tries to convince Jake to name Max as the driver of the car that killed Walter. As mentioned before, Kenny has all the evidence it would take to implicate the elder McCalll. Jake refuses to set his brother up that way. He and Angie plan to leave the country that night, he thinks Kenny should start over as well.
As the couple are about to set off to the airport, Max stops by to wish his brother a happy life and safe travels. He still promises to set him up with start-up cash, which we know is a lie. He says he’s got to get home, but Angela suspects where the ever-scheming Max is off to.
Max shows up at Sheila’s with threats to expose how her overdosing of Walter contributed to his death unless she supports his version of the story. Max took a cab home from the wedding, Jake took the car, returned it dented and hasn’t been the same since that night. He assures her Jake will be fine. He’s leaving the country and will stay away one this story gets out. From the other room, Angie and Jake hear Max’s scheme to accuse him – Jake’s loyalty, it would seem is no longer required.
Max goes home to discover that Claire is kicking him out of the house. She refuses to discuss the arrangement and warns she'll reveal his criminal activity if he tries to make things difficult for her. His parting shot is to suggest that things could have been different if she hadn’t left the wedding early. Real classy, Max.
In the end, Max gets a call from Jake to meet them at Walter’s. As Angie sits in a taxi, Jake and Max analyze their difficult childhood . Max pleads with Jake to get to the airport thinking the police will soon be there to arrest him. I guess he couldn’t fathom that Jake would ever be as heartless as he was. The police arrest Max instead confirming that Sheila, Kenny and Jake all banded together to betray the only one of them who seemed incapable of admitting his guilt.
A lot to process in just two installments, to be sure. How did you feel about the show? Did it keep you on your toes or merely confuse you? Apparently a second series is on the way in the UK with Max getting out of jail and trying to reclaim some of his previous life. Would you be interested in watching more Guilt? Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section!