Review "Twit-You Twit-You" ( inside no.9 special thread)


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I have a thread dedicated to Inside Number 9 episode synopses, link below.

On here I want to concentrate on the finale to series 7, Wise Owl, an episode that deserves its own thread. An extraordinary piece of work by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. Firstly below is a run-through of the episode, which frankly cannot do it justice, but it gives an idea of the story. I've spoiler protected the ending if anyone reading this and is piqued enough to watch it. After that I'll include some reviews.
s07e06 Wise Owl

Ronnie, in his 40's is clearly disturbed as the story starts. He gets into a bath fully clothed and is about to put an electric current into the water when the doorbell rings. A neighbour has brought round a dead rabbit, his daughter's pet, named Ferrari and wants Ronnie to stuff it, as he is a taxidermist.
Animated Scene

A 1970s public information film; two children, brother and sister playing with a kite which gets stuck on an electric pylon. The boy wants to climb the pylon to retrieve it , but the Wise Owl flies up to them with the catchphrase, " twit you, twit you."
Wise Owl says, " electric pylons are dangerous."
Little Girl " how do we get our kite back Wise Owl?"
Owl," the wind will help."
Wise Owl blows and wind frees the kite.
End of public information film.
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Ronnie sleeps in a sleeping bag on the floor of the house and dreams, a naked man in an owl mask approaches, Ronnie wakes. He gets a phone call from his mother, his parents no longer are together, she wants him to come round to her place on Monday. In the kitchen Ronnie opens shoebox containing dead rabbit and starts to work on stuffing it.
Animated Scene
Same two children, their pet cat has died, they are sad. Wise Owl appears," twit you, twit you."
Owl, " don't be sad, taxidermy is easy, you can be with your pet forever."
Little Girl," how so Wise Owl?"
( Wise Owl tells kids how to do taxidermy, skin animal, pluck out eyes, burn carcass, create new innards with foam and wire, place skin over new torso, job done. This is a very strange public information film, teaching kids taxidermy!)
End of animation scene

Ronnie starts work on dead rabbit, but it doesn't go well, he clearly knows nothing about it. The neighbour returns and demands dead pet back, after being told that the taxidermist is a man in his 70's, and isn't Ronnie. Ronnie hand over mutilated rabbit ,the neighbour goes potty and storms off threatening action against Ronnie.


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Animated Scene;
House is on fire, little girl inside screams as she burns to death. Wise Owl outside house helpless watching.
End of animated scene
The house Ronnie is squatting in belongs to father Wilf who returns to see Ronnie and is not overjoyed to see him. Wilf reveals Ronnie has been in an institution for years after the death of his sister, burned to death in a house fire, as Ronnie was held responsible. Ronnie glumly says that on Monday his sister would have been 50 if she lived, and mother wants them to go over to her place, Wilf declines.
Animated Scene
Little boy and girl, birthday cake on table, it's the girl's birthday , she wants to light candles. Wise Owl sits on chair drunk!
Boy " Wise Owl, isn't it dangerous to play with matches?"
Wise Owl,( drunkenly)" they're safety matches fu**ing let her light candles. You and me Ronnie will go upstairs."
End of animated scene
In house Wilf and Ronnie go upstairs, Ronnie hides knife behind back, into bedroom. Wilf sits on bed and says," give your Dad a hug, you know you like it."
Ronnie reveals that Wilf told everyone that he rescued him from house fire that killed sister, when in truth he and his dad were upstairs in the bedroom when the sister set fire to the house trying to light candles on birthday cake. Wilf says, " what else could I do, I was the voice of Wise Owl giving out safety information, and my daughter dies in a house fire, not exactly good for the brand image."
Ronnie attempts to stab Wilf but misses and says he'll tell his mother and everyone the truth about his father, voice of Wise Owl, taxidermist and serial child abuser. Ronnie storms out of house, Wilf desperately follows .
Animated Scene
Child, who is Ronnie, leaves house, Wise Owl flies behind,
Wise Owl, " twit you, twit you, don't do it please Ronnie. You must do what Wise Owl says. "
Ronnie, " get stuffed!"
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Member: Rank 8
Courtesy of Radio Times

Inside No. 9: Wise Owl ending explained
Please note: this recap contains discussion of sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.

Shearsmith and Pemberton disorientate us once again with a setting that is not what it appears.

We're led to believe that Ronnie has isolated himself in his own home, perhaps due to agoraphobia or paranoia, with only his taxidermy animals to keep him company.

However, as is often the case when you're Inside No. 9, the reality is quite different, which is exposed when Ronnie proves he can't stuff an animal to save his life.

He is approached by neighbourhood man Mr Blenkin (Steve Pemberton) to perform taxidermy on his pet rabbit, but makes an utterly grotesque mess of the job.

Blenkin confronts Ronnie upon collection, declaring him to be an imposter after learning that the genuine resident of the property is a man in his 70s.

Steve Pemberton plays Mr Blenkin in Inside No. 9 (Wise Owl)

Indeed, as it turns out, Ronnie has been squatting in the home of his estranged father, Wilf, who has been away on business in Pickering for the last few days.

When he eventually turns up, he's drunk and not particularly pleased about the family reunion.

Again, the narrative proves unreliable, as through the medium of animation we are told that Ronnie's irresponsible actions as a child caused a fire in his family home, which led to the death of his younger sister. This is a lie.

Though the boy's father was quick to shoulder the blame and paint himself as a hero, the truth is that he was also in the house that night. After decades of letting the truth tear him apart, Ronnie is finally ready to confront his father about what really happened.

Ron Cook in Inside No. 9: Wise Owl

Ron Cook plays Wilf in Inside No. 9 BBC
As the animation depicted, Ronnie's younger sister had wanted to light the candles on her birthday cake; but unlike the fabricated story, he had actually tried to stop her, realising that it's dangerous for little children to handle matches.

Wilf was the one who allowed his daughter to light the candles unsupervised, leading to the blaze that took her life; but as if that wasn't bad enough, there is another layer of darkness shrouding this tragic tale.

The fire got so drastically out of hand because Wilf was upstairs, where we learn that the reason he had not noticed the incident sooner was because he had been abusing Ronnie.

This horrifying twist had been alluded to earlier in the episode, when Ronnie had a nightmarish vision of a nude man in an owl mask making his way towards him.

Inside No. 9: Wise Owl

Inside No. 9: Wise Owl BBC
We now know that the man was his own father, with the significance of the owl mask being that Wilf had voiced the so-called 'Wise Owl' in a '70s children's television show of the same name (i.e. the animated excerpts in this episode).

Ronnie's traumatised mind evidently recalls certain childhood memories in the form of animation, which explains why the cartoon owl knew so much about taxidermy, which is actually Wilf's hobby.

While the subject matter of this episode is very dark, even by Inside No. 9 standards, it does end on a somewhat optimistic note.

After very nearly murdering Wilf, Ronnie instead finds the courage to tell the authorities of his crimes, stepping outside and not looking back as his feeble father begs him to return.

We see that the influence that this abuser once held has completely disappeared and that he will soon face punishment for his unspeakable actions.