‘Landscapers,’ a true-crime miniseries directed by Will Sharpe and released on HBO, is an absorbing watch. The first episode, released on December 6, 2021, with a runtime of 54mins introduced us to an unusual couple, Susan and Christopher Edwards. The story unfolded from the time they lived in France. Christopher struggled to land himself a job due to the language barrier, while Susan continued to indulge in collecting memorabilia such as rare posters and signed photos of Gary Cooper.
‘Landscapers’ Episode 1 Recap
While the audience is made aware of the fact that Susan and Christopher will eventually be in custody as the first scene of the episode starts with Susan in prison, the story rewound to their time in France when the news of the double murder committed by the couple reached the Nottingham police. In a moment of desperation, Christopher contacted his step-mother, Tabitha Edwards, to ask for some money. That was when he spilled the beans about the murder of his in-laws committed fifteen years ago in their Mansfield home.
The police, upon interrogating the neighbors, learned about the sudden disappearance of William and Patricia Wycherley in the late 90s. Christopher had informed the neighbors that his in-laws were traveling, and they had decided to sell the Mansfield home. After retrieving the bodies buried fifteen years ago in the back garden, the police emailed Christopher about the incident. After initially refusing to return to England immediately, the Edwards finally decided to help the police with their investigation and came back to England from France.
Susan and Her Obsession with Old Hollywood
Susan Edwards, brilliantly played by Olivia Colman, is a peculiar woman. With a strange smile on her face, even in terrible times, Susan was obsessed with Old Hollywood, particularly Gary Cooper. Though the couple was going through a financial crisis, Susan continued to buy rare finds with high price tags. One such find was the ‘High Noon’ poster (from the second Belgian release) starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. The shots which showed how the bodies were discovered in the back garden were masterfully juxtaposed with scenes from the Western. The light and shadow from the black and white Western reflected on Susan’s face showing how scared she was for what was unraveling while being comforted by her love for fantasy, cinema.
That particular scene also showed Christopher dealing with the police intelligently through the mail, firing the gunshots and taking charge, just like Gary Cooper in the film. The couple, specifically Susan, was also fascinated by Gérard Depardieu. She wrote a letter to Christopher pretending to be him. She believed Depardieu was her long-time pen pal, a fragment of her imagination.
While keeping the recently bought poster with the rest of her rare finds, Susan imagined Christopher firing gunshots dressed in a typical Western outfit with a cowboy hat. The light and color changed when Susan thought of the past, the screen turned red, and the flashback unfolded. It seemed as if reality and fiction merged into one in this particular flashback. The firing of gunshots was taken from the real incident, which probably took place in front of her eyes while the Western film imagination impacted the real image. Susan was fearful of the past even before her husband contacted his step-mother.
The other flashback shown in fragments was that of Susan’s childhood. Shots of a young girl running were shown visually when the Edwards decided to return to England, indicating uncomfortable memories from Susan’s past, which might unfold later in the miniseries. There was also a very quick flashback of an argument she and her husband had with her dead parents. Will Sharpe skillfully dealt with the flashback by introducing different colors to separate the present from the past and the real from the fantasy. The episode was black and white at parts, emulating the films that Susan was fascinated by.
‘Landscapers’ Episode 1 Ending
After a couple of emails exchanged with the police, Christopher concluded that it would be best for the couple to return to Nottingham. They agreed to cooperate with the police and decided to tell them the ‘truth.’ The ‘truth’ is an agreed-upon lie that the couple hoped to get away with. They asked the police to book them two train tickets as they were short on cash. While returning to England, Susan asked Christopher for some money to buy coffee. While returning to her train seat, Susan exclaimed to have seen Gérard Depardieu, though she discarded that thought, saying that she must have mistaken.
Susan continued to get a flashback from her past. After reaching England, a frightened Susan held onto Christopher’s arm while he assured her by saying, “We know what we’re gonna say. We’ve gone through it a thousand times, and we’re ready”.
Also Read – ‘Landscapers’ Ending, Explained
Landscapers is a 2021 Crime Drama Mini-Series created by Ed Sinclair. It is streaming on HBO Max.