Mini-Review: Latest Inside No.9

The nature of Inside No.9 and its standalone episodes I feel give me the right to give them each their own little mini-review or reflection on the latest snippet of black comedy action. These little bursts of action-filled plotline and the effort taken to squish a lot of action into a short space of time and, quite often literally, a very small room, can each be called micro-dramas in their own right, independent of each other and shall therefore be treated as such.

The latest episode, ‘Empty Orchestra’, takes place at the leaving do of a 40-something standard office drone. It’s from his co-workers, in their overly extravagant costumes and vastly intertwined love affairs, that we receive most of the action. This episode, whilst extremely well carried out (the room it takes place in makes the tiny single sets of No.9 we’re used to look like vast open landscapes), it felt noticeably more predictable than the past couple of episodes. It was also very busy; bright colours and fast paced pieces of conversation, the purpose of which was often almost entirely lost, were the main bulk. This was then supplemented with karaoke (each character somehow knew their songs so completely inside out that they could perform faultlessly without so much as glancing at the screen – the least believable element of the story I felt), which gave it a sort of ‘Mamma Mia’, what-plot-can-we-tie-these-songs-together-with vibe.

That said, it certainly wasn’t boring, and the karaoke actually worked quite well. It was by no means the strongest episode we’ve seen, not coming close to their best and falling sort of mid-range as far as their weakest goes. I wasn’t blown away but I wasn’t fighting to keep my eyes open either, so I shall reserve more significant judgements for when we’ve seen the last couple of episodes.