'Flesh and Blood' Episode 3: Vivien's children suspect Mark killed his first wife for money
Jake learns that Mark's first wife died of a 'drug overdose' suicide and alerts his siblings who now have the proof to confront Mark at their mum's birthday party
Picking up the pace from the earlier two episodes, this one really explores some sinister tension rising to the top of interactions among the characters. We have seen Vivien being slightly dismissive of Mary since she has been with Mark. But Mary is undismissable, making her way to Vivien's house whenever she pleases after a brief "yoo hoo!" to figure out if anyone is in. In this episode, we see her purposely spook Mark in the shower by smashing a cologne bottle in the bathroom and then high tailing it. It is such a petty prank but it also shows how resentful Mary is getting about how Mark has taken over and pushed her out of Vivien's life. Mark also hates the fact that she constantly coming over and they give each other dirty looks from a distance.
They even have a passive-aggressive stand off after Mark repairs the gap in the fence after he spots her taking a flower pot from Vivien's garden after exchanging it with one of hers. All of Mary's habits are borderline creepy -- like her offering to take the clothes donation bag for Vivien but going home and cutting up the clothes to make things for herself. But it all could be actions of a lonely woman who has saved up every drawing and christmas card the children ever made for her.
Mark, on the other hand, is definitely sinister, packing away a syringe bottle filled with a mysterious transpaprent liquid in the first aid kit he is taking to India on the trip with Vivien. He also makes a "soothing" drink laced with pills for Vivien when she snaps at him. And his past behavior is raising red flags too. Vivien finally starts understanding that she doesn't know much about the man who lies next to her every night.
It is Jake that makes her first wonder why she has never even seen a photo of his daughter that they had gone to Spain to meet. When Vivien asks Mark to show her his daughter's picture, he makes a weak excuse about not having had the time to transfer pictures to his new phone. But later, they make their way to the town's solicitor to settle the legalities around being married and being each other's 'next of kin' before the trip.
The solicitor is coincidently Jake's friend/sugar momma. When she realizes that Vivien is Jake's mother, she does a thorough check on Mark and learns that his first wife died of a "drug overdose" suicide. She tips off Jake, begging him to make sure no one knows this information came from her.
Jake immediately alerts his siblings and they read about the corner's report and how one of Mark's dead wife's acquantainces stepped forward to claim that she was not depressed and Mark benifited financially from her death. For Jake, Helen and Natalie, this is the proof they've been looking for and they are eager to confront Mark at the birthday party for Vivien.
All of them have more time to focus on Vivien because they have found some stability in their own lives. Jake writes an apology letter to his separated wife (with some help from his solicitor friend) and they seem to be patching things up. Helen realizes that he has been devaluing George and hasn't appreciated what he does for her. Natalie realizes that her boss is never going to leave his wife and breaks it off with him and tells him that her 'pregnancy' is a lie and was just a way to get him to finally commit.
Meanwhile, Vivien, feeling sorry for her earlier behavior to Mary invites her to her 'family-only' birthday party because Mary has been family all these years. This means all the characters will gather together one more time in Episode 4 and the children will confront Mark. The episode ends with Jake being questioned by the detective as he remembers how he and Mark fought at the party. So we will finally know who was hurt and is battling to survive at the hospital as the detectives question everyone present at the party.
'Flesh and Blood' Episode 4 will air on Sunday, October 25, at 9/8c on PBS Masterpiece.