The Enfield Haunting

And so, The Enfield Haunting comes to an end, and far from being climactic, I found this the slowest and quietest episode of the lot.

But at least the poltergeist has a new party trick. Janet dubs it ‘Tinkerbell’: a floating light that burns skin and ignites tissues. Interesting, but seemingly pointless. We see it again later, but it’s not really put to any use. Janet and Margaret want Maurice and Guy back, so they get rid of the Society of Psychical Research by telling the newspaper that they made it all up.

Having found poltergeist Joe’s ashes (never collected from the crematorium by his estranged son), they decide to use them as leverage to get Joe to leave. In a ceremony Guy claims is “not an exorcism, it’s a disobsession”, they get Joe to leave, but not before Maurice’s late daughter, Janet, has a word or two. Although they can be pretty pleased with themselves; it’s probably the fastest ‘disobsession’ the world has ever seen.

With Joe gone, life begins to return to normal. Predictably, of course (besides the fact that we’re only a few minutes into the episode), the voices return, with even more variety and ferocity than before. There’s an interesting moment when Janet is looking in the window at herself, but it left me more bewildered than impressed. Guy’s theory is that, when they opened the door to let Joe out, a whole load of others snuck in. Maurice blames himself: “It’s my fault, I didn’t want it to be over.”

Janet finds herself in hospital with a broken thumb, and in restraints. The fairy’s back, but everyone thinks she’s crazy. As soon as the doctors suggest electro-shock therapy, Janet’s mum claims they were all in on the prank, that Janet doesn’t really need treatment. How many times are we going to play this card?

There’s a moment between Maurice and his increasingly estranged wife, when they cry over the loss of their daughter. It’s just a shame that any emotional impact is lost because we were never given enough to actually care about these people.

So, Janet’s back home, and the poltergeist is back to its old tricks again, except, this time, it’s a different ghostly face in the mirror. There’s more emotional moments lost to indifference, where Janet gets her anger out, and they visit the graveyard. Janet’s seeing double again, seeing Maurice twice. Somehow, this brings her to the very obvious conclusion that the poltergeist is there because of Maurice.

So the medium’s back again, and she and Janet channel voices together. And then Maurice’s Janet comes through, to give him the closure he needs, and to take all the other spirits away. All the characters are crying, but it’s emotionless, because I simply don’t care about these people.

So rather than finishing with a bang, The Enfield Haunting simply fizzles out. Extinguished. And all I feel is relief. This show brought nothing new to the genre, simply parading out sequences we’ve all seen before (and seen them done better). But, to give it credit, it’s hard to be original when it’s based on a real haunting account; the kind of account that created the clichés in the first place. But if they’d only taken the time to give the audience characters they could care about, that would have improved it immeasurably.

The closing image is Janet, slightly older, leaning out of her bedroom window. She turns, and looks straight into the camera, breaking the fourth wall. Why? I have no idea. She does it with a sly smile which feels like it needs a wink with it. Is she telling us that it was a joke all along? Honestly, I don’t know.

So, what lasting impression has The Enfield Haunting left me with? Apathy, mostly, with just a touch of confusion.