Hulu's 'The Accident' pits small Welsh town against teenage negligence and corporate cost-cutting in Grenfell Tower fire-inspired tragedy

Hulu's 'The Accident' pits small Welsh town against teenage negligence and corporate cost-cutting in Grenfell Tower fire-inspired tragedy

Hulu's 'The Accident' is a study of human faultlines, within and without, that create a "man-made" tragedy. Ostensibly, the four-part series is about tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire and the Aberfan disaster.

But writer Jack Thorne ('His Dark Materials') has said he was interested in what happened in the aftermath of such a disaster where the loss of life is so great and so pointless people need to make sense of it to find closure. Thorne sets the story in a small Welsh town that is pinning its hopes on a regeneration project called (ironically) The Light, which will bring jobs back into town.

As the towns' adults gather for a fun run to celebrate the project, we see Leona Bevan (Jade Croot), a rebellious teenager, make her way, with her friends, into the fenced property of the project to "cause trouble".

Her bad behavior is directed towards her father, Iwan Bevan (Mark Lewis Jones), the local councilor who has brought the project into the town. Iwan, as we quickly find out punches and hits his wife Polly (Sarah Lancashire) quite often - behavior Polly allows, filling Leona with contempt for her father and disrespect for her mother who won't leave him.

Inside the half-finished building project, the teenagers go past some "strange canisters" and while they are spray-painting the walls, Leona throws down her lighter to a friend who wants to light a cigarette. Seconds later, there is a gigantic explosion.

The rescue team starts going in to find survivors only for the building to collapse on them and the teenagers. In the end, only Leona survives with a fractured skull and a damaged spinal cord. 

Kallbridge Development, a construction company, who had signed the building deal with Iwan, is represented by Harriet Paulsen. When the building comes down, Harriet reaches the site only to be accused by Polly for the "cheap as chips" construction that collapsed like a pack of cards.

Since the explosion and the collapse are so mysterious, there is no one to blame. But Angela Griffith (Joanna Scanlan), one of the dead teenager's mother, is so angry she single-handedly mobilizes the townsfolk to "find out who is responsible".


The possible scapegoats are many - from Kallbridge's Harriet to a local "independent contractor", in charge of building maintenance (who also dies in the collapse), to Leona herself, who led her gang of friends into the fenced-off property. Polly also suspects her husband knows more than he is letting on but has nothing solid to base her gut feeling on.

'The Accident' is not an easy watch. The first episode is especially tough, when the building goes down in a second with the trapped teens inside or when Iwan punches Polly for the first time. The later episodes veer on the melodrama and sensationalized plot points like Harriet's toyboy who she offers up on a platter to save her own skin.

But somewhere between those wild extremes, Thorne serves up the dissection of a small working-class town visited by a tragedy. "Best friends", who went to school together, turn on each other. Character flaws are magnified under stress.

Pragmatic deals that are meant to save the town backfire and the corporate's, business-as-usual, cost-cutting measures spell doom. Tune in to see how human faultlines intersect to create a monstrous tragedy. 


'The Accident' is currently premiering on Hulu.

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