September 24, 2023
Unforgotten airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream on the PBS app and wttw.com. Recap the previous and following episodes and previous four seasons.
Keep up with your favorite dramas and mysteries by signing up for our newsletter, Dramalogue.
The timing of the discovery of Precious Falade’s body is not kind to anyone. Knowledge of Precious’ death drives her mother Ebele back to drink, an addiction with which she has struggled for her whole life. When she disappears, her partner Dave has to lie to their investors about her whereabouts to delay a meeting—she has slept on the street under a piece of cardboard. When Dave finally finds her in a pub, he tells her a lawyer from London wants to talk to her, not that they can afford a London lawyer. She doesn’t say anything to him, simply taking her bottle of wine and leaving.
Alcohol also caused trouble for Ebele back in 1986, when she spent twelve months in prison for trying to rob a bank and stockbroker while drunk with an air gun that she had borrowed from a roommate. She would have gotten more time, but claimed it was a prank based on a dare—even though she was already carrying the air gun, as if it was premeditated. The doorman of the bank called the police on her, but later backed up her version of events.
The detectives have tracked down a bank account for Precious. She deposited cash at regular intervals for many years, unusual for an addict, and seven months before her death set up a transaction of 200£ to “DSH” every month. Her last purchase was on the evening that the social worker Karol visited her.
Karol has stolen some luxury watches from his job at a warehouse and is setting up a meeting to sell them when Sunny appears at his home. While Sunny is there, the ex of Karol’s girlfriend appears to pick up his children. He promises to use Karol’s questioning by police against him in the custody battle.
Karol tells Sunny that Precious was frequently kicked out of hostels, and that her son Joseph sometimes stayed in London with her, stole from her, and was violent towards her—a similar relationship to the one she had with her mother. Karol was unable to help Precious because of limited resources. He resigned from social work the day after his meeting with her because he was exhausted and demoralized.
A social worker who used to work with Karol tells the detectives that he was kind and lovely at first. But in his last year of social work, he had mental health issues stemming from two assaults on him because he was Jewish. He reported the first but not the second; nothing had come of the report. His parents had moved back to Poland and he was by himself, probably lonely.
There was a rumor that he left work because he had taken an up-skirt photo of a colleague.
A coworker from the warehouse calls Karol to say that some luxury watches have gone missing, obliquely offering him the chance to return them. Karol doesn’t take it, but right before he goes to sell them he changes his mind. The police are already at the warehouse, so he has lost his opportunity and keeps the watches.
As Sunny returns from Paris, his fiancée Sal texts him that she had a miscarriage, but she doesn’t want to talk yet. Sunny brings her flowers when he finally gets home, and she tells him she doesn’t blame him but is still sad. She also obliquely references Sunny’s late colleague, Cassie, explaining that she feels excluded by his grief. It has been nine months since she and Sunny got engaged at the hospital before Cassie died, and they still haven’t even begun to plan a wedding.
Sunny’s colleague continually calls him during this difficult conversation, and Sal eventually tells him to just take the call.
Before Sunny made it home to Sal, he and Jess interviewed Joseph Bell, aka Jay Royce, Precious’ son, in prison. Jay says he hadn’t seen his mother for ten years, despite Karol’s claims, and also says that Precious was lying about him being violent towards her. She lied about everything. The cult leader David Bell—Jay’s father—was violent towards both of them, physically and psychologically. Jay finally got away from the cult’s farm when he was 15.
A police report from a few weeks before Precious died describes an argument between two women outside the house where Precious’ body was found. One person said “Eff off, mom”—meaning Ebele was lying about never having been near the house. Precious must have lived there at least three weeks after the locks were changed by Tony Hume.
After the detectives leave, Jay is released from prison on bail. He has called Tony, telling him he was “there that night,” and Tony has sent an expensive lawyer to replace Jay’s public defender. He also offered a ten thousand pound surety on Jay’s release.
Jay called Tony so that he could get back to take care of his addict girlfriend, Cheryl, but the lawyer first takes him to see Tony. The two men have never met, and Jay used to be afraid of Tony—but now he sees that Tony is the one afraid of him, and that he has a lot more to lose. Jay punches Tony before going home to Cheryl, where he sends away a man who is with her in bed. She explains that she needed someone to look after her.
Tony’s life is not going well. He calls his doctor to rail against him for not finding a treatment to give him more time in his terminal illness. His grant application for a youth club is rejected by Mehdi Hussein, a government bureaucrat who owes his job to Tony. After an outburst from Tony, Mehdi tells him that he is a nobody now.
Tony calls an assisted suicide business to inquire about their services.
Jess’ life is also in pieces. She finally meets her sister Debbie to talk about her husband cheating on her—and learns that it was with Debbie, in Jess’ house three months ago. They were both lonely. Jess tells Debbie that if she wasn’t weak, she wouldn’t have ever told Jess.
Jess returns home, where her mother is watching the kids, and sobs. Her mother cancels her plans and listens to Jess, lightly defending Debbie by bringing up her depression. Jess says she won’t ever be able to forgive her sister, and that her mom shouldn’t either.
Distraught, Jess is late to work the next day and misses a series of interviews with social workers and others involved in Jay’s life when he was younger. Sunny learns that Jay had a horrible childhood, and a chance to escape it via adoption was blocked by his mother. He eventually became violent, however.
A bullet found in the house where Precious’ body was hidden has striation marks similar to those from a 2015 robbery by Elton King, a known associate of Jay’s. Elton was in prison for the robbery at the time of Precious’ murder.
When Jess finally arrives at work, Sunny pulls her into an interrogation room and tells her that he can’t work like this. We need to be in the room together, he tells her. He apologizes if their antagonistic relationship is partly his fault, explaining about Sal’s miscarriage. She then tells him about her husband and Debbie. Okay, you win, he tells her. Jess apologizes for her behavior, and promises to reset with Sunny.