Pauline Venables has been running a successful party/costume store in Denton with her sister Sue, but the siblings don't get on as well as they should. Their little world changes when Pauline brings home Karl Edwards, a divorced ex-con and announces he will be moving in after they are married. Sue resents him as an interloper interested only her sister's money. Sue's resentment can be traced back to an earlier incident when she found her then husband and Pauline in bed. Looking to make amends to her sister, Pauline decides to have Linda, a shop employee, take her to a deserted farmhouse to buy Sue a Labrador puppy for her birthday, something she's always wanted. Things go awry when Pauline's is brutally kidnapped by Linda's accomplice/lover, sociopath Graham McCardy, who binds Pauline and demands £30,000 in ransom... or else. Written by
One of the most tension-filled 'A Touch of Frost' episodes, also one of the best
'A Touch of Frost' is a personal favourite of mine, and one of my favourite shows from the detective/mystery genre. Do have a preference perhaps for the earlier-mid-show episodes over the later ones, but none of the episodes are less than watchable and none do anything to embarrass the show.
So much appeals about 'A Touch of Frost'. Love the mix of comedy (mostly through Frost's snide comments and quips) and dark grit, the tension between rebellious Jack Frost and by-the-book Mullet which has led to some humorous moments, how he interacts with the rest of the staff, the deft mix of one or two cases and Frost's personal life, how Frost solves the cases, the production values, music and of course David Jason in one of his best roles.
There may have been people initially sceptical about whether the show would work, and with Jason (a mainly comedic actor) in a departure from usual in the lead role. Scepticism very quickly evaporated, with the first season containing three consistently great episodes, even with the darker and grittier approach with less humour, that established the tone and characterisation so brilliantly so early on with no signs of finding-their-feet. The next two seasons were more than up to their levels, with this episode "Paying the Pace" being perhaps the best 'Frost' episode up to this point in the show ("Appropriate Adults" is also a contender). There was no bad episode of a lot, with even the weakest (to me) Season 2's "Nothing to Hide" still being very good.
"Paying the Price" is an outstanding way to start the fourth season, one of the most tension-filled and suspenseful 'A Touch of Frost' episodes and one of the show's very best.
Visually, as always with 'A Touch of Frost', "Paying the Price" looks great. It matches the dark, gritty tone of the episode beautifully with atmospheric lighting and the stylish way it's shot. The music is haunting without being over-bearing while the theme tune is one of the most iconic in the detective genre (or at least to me it is).
The script is well written, with a few amusing quips from Frost, and thought-provoking, and the story is continually compelling, filled with tension, suspense and unpredictable twists and turns and made even more special by the genuinely scary back and forth (or game of chess if you will) between Frost and Graham. The ending is both intense and sympathetic.
Frost is a remarkably well-established character for so early on, and one cannot help love his interaction with the rest of the officers and his chemistry with Bruce Alexander's stern and by-the-book Mullet, who constantly despairs of Frost's unconventional approach. Again he shows his less than perfect side, and with his personal life subplot this time one really feels sorry for him.
Jason is brilliant as usual as Frost, while Bruce Alexander and John Lyons are just as good. Up to this point in 'A Touch of Frost', it is "Paying the Price" that has the best supporting cast. Marc Warren is absolutely frightening and gives one of the best supporting performances of the whole show. A big shout out also has to go to a moving Linda Henry and you really root for Pauline with the acting of Camille Goduri. Ysobel Gonzalez is a good contrast to Warren, Warren does outshine her by far but the chemistry between them is great and the character's conflicted personality fares more believably the more one watches it.
Overall, an outstanding episode and one of the show's best. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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