Main cast: Timothy Spall (Ed Jacobson), Anthony Boyle (Sam), Rudi Dharmalingam (Bob Paine), Rebecca Manley (Mary), Tuppence Middleton (Linda), and Anne Reid (Martine Jenkins)
Director: Tom Harper
Ed Johnson is not the happiest man around. His son, now a teenager, is prone to violent fits and he is increasingly resentful too at having to go to the psychiatrist. His wife is apparently unable to do anything on her own and screams at him over the phone while he’s at work to tend to the son. At work, Ed is taken for granted by the people who frequent the train station.
One day, a strange thing happens. A woman, Linda, asks to purchase a ticket to Macon Heights, which technically doesn’t exist. This happens a few times, and each time the woman vanishes in mid-conversation when Ed happens to look away for a while. Eventually, as his unhappiness mounts, Ed takes a chance and boards the train at the very time that Linda claims to will take him to Macon Heights. What will he find there, hmm?
Yes, The Commuter is another man experiencing an existentialism crisis thing, and yes, he is given a new life, an apparently better one, but he soon wants his old life back. There’s nothing new here, and in many ways, this one feels like another generic The Twilight Zone episode, complete with a very heavy-handed episode about how if you love enough, it’s okay and bad things can come for all we care because love, baby, is love. Well, yes, let’s see how great the power of love is when Ed gets fired for skipping work to trip around Macon Heights, they can’t afford Sam’s psychiatric treatments anymore, they get evicted, and the wife as per the norm blames him for everything and claims that she is afraid of him because he’s not being his “true” self.
Timothy Spall acts the hell out of his role, but given that he plays his character like someone who is a bit… slow, this episode can’t help coming off like a slow train ride that, despite ending on a pretty positive note, will inevitably careen off a cliff some time later.