BBC 3 The Crash Ep 2 review: This emotionally draining final feels very realistic indeed

by Matt D

the crash

Despite The Crash not being heavily promoted by BBC it appears that quite a few people ended up watching it. Judging from the comments under last week’s review it seems that most of you loved it and were quite emotional by the final scenes. I do worry for those who were overcome with emotion after last week’s instalment as this week’s conclusion is truly heartbreaking.

As we enter this week’s episode we know that the crash has already claimed two victims in Ashley and Brian while several of the other teens’ lives hang in the balance. The opening scene here is between Kate and Rachel as the former urges the latter to get out of bed. However anybody who has ever watched a drama before knows that this scene isn’t based in reality and we soon learn the shocking truth. As Rachel’s parents rush to be at her side they discover that the hospital has induced a coma due to her large amount of injuries. Meanwhile Kate’s parents are in for a shock when they find out that their daughter has already died. Kate’s spirit lives on though as she attempts to get Rachel to wake up from her coma. As Kate’s parents return home they vow never to return to their house as it contains far too many memories of their late daughter. However when a group of her friends turn up to reminisce about Kate, the Harpers realise that memories aren’t always a bad thing. Tom can’t move on so easily and can’t help feeling guilt at crashing the car that killed both his fiancée and his brother. While the Harpers can admit the crash was an accident, Tom’s mother isn’t so forgiving and hates Tom for killing Brian. To appease his mother Tom doesn’t attend the joint funeral and so is branded a coward by Leah. Thankfully Rachel finally wakes up however it appears as if she is struggling to remember her life before the crash.


The drama then flashes forward nine months into the future where Ethan and Tom are standing trial for death by dangerous driving. Though Leah has stuck by Ethan, Tom’s decision to completely ignore his friends has labelled him an outcast. Rachel meanwhile is a different person and has changed so much that even her family don’t recognise her. Though the two boys are found not guilty it doesn’t stop Tom feeling any different. It is Tom’s mother who provides the biggest shock when she reveals that she’s lost one son and can’t help hating the other one. Eventually Rachel convinces Tom to join herself, Ethan and Leah at the crash site. Obviously recriminations fly around as Tom’s friends criticise him for not being around over the past year. However his explanation is simply that he hasn’t been able to forgive himself and hasn’t even dreamed about Kate since the accident. Rachel then tells Tom to pick himself up and try to think of the good times he and Kate shared before she died. The final scene, which I found rather cheesy, saw friends of the three dead characters turn up to the crash site to set off a number of red balloons. Despite it feeling clichéd I can’t say that I didn’t feel a little bit emotional.

the crash 2

In fact I felt fairly emotional throughout this episode of The Crash which was one of the most draining hours of TV drama in a long while. What I really liked about this second instalment was it didn’t go down the soap opera route of showing us the police interviews or court case. Instead The Crash focused on the raw emotions felt by the family and friends of those who had passed away. Though Tom is shunned by his friends they blame him more for not attending the funerals than for causing the original crash. Ethan meanwhile is supported by Leah who admires the fact that he tried to make an impression on Rachel even though she doesn’t remember who he is. My main criticism of last week’s episode of The Crash was that some of the dialogue spoken by the youngsters didn’t feel real. However, while some of the dialogue still feels basic; overall there is a more believable tone to the script as a whole. For example the scene in which Kate’s friends come to her house to talk about their memories of her felt incredibly realistic. Scenes like this one prove to me that this drama has been incredibly well-researched and that the team behind have spoken to the families of car crash victims. The other story I felt was incredibly powerful was that of the mother who lost one son and hated the other one for the accident.

I also think it was a masterstroke setting The Crash around Christmas as it added an extra sense of grief to the piece. Sad pieces of tinsel and unlit Christmas lights have an eerie feel to them when there’s not much in life to celebrate. In terms of the performances I felt all of the cast were great namely Victoria Liddelle as the torn mother and Lewis Rainer as the grief-stricken Tom. Praise must also go to whoever selected the music as all the major tracks feel well-placed throughout the drama including The XX’s ‘Angels’ to represent Tom and Kate’s relationship. The only real negative comment I can give is that I feel the character of Ethan was slightly underwritten especially considering he was one of the two drivers. When he realised that Rachel couldn’t remember their relationship it didn’t really mean that much to me as not much of the drama had been devoted to it.

I wasn’t surprised when I heard that The Crash would be edited down to show to school kids because in my minds it is a relevant precautionary tale. This second half was incredibly emotional and one of the bleakest hours of TV drama I’ve watched in a long while. The young cast all played their parts well while there was a believability in the different ways they remembered their fallen friends. Overall I enjoyed both parts of The Crash and feel its legacy may well be as a video shown in schools rather than a two-part BBC3 drama.

What did you think to this second instalment of The Crash? Did you find it as bleak as I did? Leave Your Comments Below.



  1. quinn on March 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    it was a very emotional episode, but not much was said about Ashley, her character was left out quite a bit and the characters didn’t really grieve for her as much as Brian and Kate. However I did really enjoy it and have a learnt a lot from it.

  2. Caroline Nash on March 13, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I hope they do use this in schools. As a parent of teenage boys, I am dreading the day they pass their driving tests!! Maybe something like this will just make them think twice before putting their foot down a little too hard on that accelerator

  3. Wiged on March 13, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I thought it was well done, very emotional. As said, some of the characters were only briefly touched on but overall it was a really good drama with some decent acting. Being aimed at teenagers I wasn’t surprised about the cheesy ending, but It worked ok and there was plenty of raw emotion beforehand that meant it could get away with a soft end.

    I thought it was a very good idea to broadcast something like this on BBC 3 – a channel aimed at young people – to hammer home the dangerous of irresponsible driving (although they were found not guilty) and the effects such events have on families and friends. I agree it’ll be a very good educational tool to show this in schools in the future, I know watching something like this would’ve had more of an effect on me when I was young than having my school visited by a policeman.

  4. Alexandra Hughes on March 13, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Amazing emotional programme but I honestly have no idea who Ashley is? Who is she related to? Like I missed the tiniest bit of this programme and now have no idea who she is?

  5. Anon. on March 13, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Ashley was another friend that died, but I was surprised they completely cut her out of the second episode. Overall a very emotional drama played brilliantly by the young actors!

  6. Lesley on March 13, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I believe if they had brought Ashley and her dad into it (who has altziemers) it would have been more gripping because her dad had already lost his wife and now he has lost his daughter but what would make it really devastating is the fact he doesn’t remember losing his wife and now he will have to go through it twice over. Overall I think it was a really good drama and has made me think about my driving (being a young driver myself) and the driving of the people I know. Ill definitely recommend this being shown on my course in class.

  7. Jess on March 13, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Brilliant. Hard going but worth it. This DVD should be given to all young drivers when they pass their tests. Its great that it is going to be shown in schools as well. I agree with Ashley being left out of episode 2, shame as she was a large part of episode 1. That said it is a great drama, BBC should be proud.

  8. Tom on March 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Really good drama. Most of the cast were great (besides the girl who played Rachel).

    Also does anyone know the song that was played near the end of the second part where Tom is putting up decorations in his brothers room?

  9. B on March 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    i felt like they should of got ashley’s story out a bit and made her play more of a part because she was one of the best friends as well, but overall i think it was a great drama and it would make teenagers think twice before driving.

  10. Tea on March 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    This should be compulsory viewing as part of PSHE at secondary schools and 6 th form colleges and for all those who have just taken their driving tests!…if teenagers can cope with the trauma involved. It made me want to go out and buy a Volvo for my 18 yr old!
    It was brilliantly acted and pushed through as many of the themes and story lines as was possible in the short time available to it. It shows the power of forgiveness in helping the heal grief.. Easier said than done! Emotionally draining from the start…. But an excellent drama. Well done?
    Only one question.. Why BBC 3? BBC1 at prime time !

  11. Kaz on March 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Yes, very hard to watch, but valuable in the lesson learned and the feeling it left me with as a driver. I agree that Ashley’s role was left out too much in the 2nd episode, but in all honesty I don’t think I could have handled seeing her poor father, having lost his wife – just too heartbreaking, in an already heartbreakingly realistic episode.

    The statistics that showed at the credits – that 75% of females killed in RTA’s are driven by young male drivers was as hard to take as the realism portrayed. But well done BBC3, lets hope it can do some good.

  12. Sue on March 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    The reason it was shown to bbc3 was because most viewers tuning in are aged 16-29 yrs, the very people that need to see the drama, this film was made through interviews with real families, so not all drama some was fact especially the “cheesy” part as trhis is an annual event organised by friends of teenagers who tragically lost their lives at christmas, hence the christmas decorations, i know this for sure as i am a mother of one of the families who gave an interview after our daughter lost her life in a crash at christmas! We gave permission to film this fact/fiction drama to raise awareness of road saftey. Thanks to Lucy King & the bbc.

  13. Anna on March 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Such an emotional story. Things like this really do make you stop and think about life. Especially as a teenager watching this felt very real as I could relate to the lifestyle and close friendship. I think more teens should watch this before hitting the road. Very well done by all those involved, thoughts go out to the families and friends who shared their heartbreaking stories.

  14. Tilly on March 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    As an 18 year who passed her test 8 months ago, it was very scary for me to watch. It has shown the devastating consequences of a fatal car crash to people just like me. Very good reminder to drive with even more care.

  15. sam on March 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    i absolutely loved it although i was in tears quite alot the actors where brill but like other people have said ashley hardly got a mention in the 2nd episode which i thought she should have more but from the first episode it seemed like kate was more friendly with ashley than the others. It was moving when ashleys dad looked up and seen the balloons in the sky and the expression he pulled that set me off again. All in all a fab drama

  16. Kim on March 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    As a parent watching this drama I found it very very emotional. I thought the acting was brilliant and every time ‘Tom’ appeared in the 2nd episode I cried at the journey he was going through. It brought home very well how one split second decision can change lives forever. I think it would be a great idea for this to be shown in schools and for the kids to realise the impact something like this can have on families and communities as a whole. A brilliant drama, well done bbc3.

  17. aoife on March 14, 2013 at 12:08 am

    i decided to watch this mainly because Sacha Parkinson was in it i didn’t expect much but it turned out to be a truly emotional drama. my mum missed part 1 and when she watched part 2 with me even she thought it was sad and hard hitting. i on the other hand was an emotional wreck. im a young teenager and know for a fact that no one else in my school (which is in Ireland) probably saw it. which makes me think it should definitely be shown to all kids 16 years and above. i don’t think it should be cut short when shown in schools in the UK because it was the scenes like the prom the made you fall in love with these characters and cutting out these scenes will mean less of an impact will be made. the only thing i didnt like about it was ashley seemed to be forgotten about in the second half. it should if showed how her dad struggled as ashley seemed to be his soal carer. overall a brilliant drama and well done to everyone involved.:)

  18. Karina on March 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I thought the drama harrowing and so poignant. The dignity shown by the parents and the heartbreak the crash caused all was very emotional and close to home, this could happen to anyone. It should be compulsive viewing for all young drivers. I loved the contemporary music, would like a soundtrack of it, especially We Grew Up at Midnight and Girls Like You. Put this on again on BBC 1 and make a song and dance of it, more young people need to see this. Please put the soundtrack on a CD, such a great choice of music to accompany this. Well done BBC3 for screening a true to live drama we all need to see and make us think.

  19. Imogen on March 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    This was an amazing piece. Hit home the ripple effect such devasting thing driving can cause, I came across it by accident and feel it should be given greater coverage and repeated on bbc 1. This should be compulsory viewing for all teenagers, if it makes any of us think more about care driving then it has already saved lives. My heart goes out to all families who’s real life events helped this be made.

  20. Anne on March 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

    great drama and heart wrenching as you know this happens to people! Not quite sure about the whole red car issue as it never came back up. The fact that they missed out Ashley out was really very frustrating as she was key in the first episode and I liked her as a character. The bbc have missed a trick here as it should of been on bbc1!

  21. veronica on March 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    the crash is so emotional . i actually need a tissue . episode 2 is the most hard hitting thing i have eve watched. im still cying as i wite this. this is so important and just speaks out about how this could happen in the close future.the part that eally made me so upset was the fact that everyone was blaming tom for the tradegy and his mum said she hated him also when they wouldnt let him pay his respects to kate at the death scene and he just fell down and cried which i did as well. thank you lily loveless, josh bolt,sacha parkinson, georgia henshaw , lewis rainer and darsy isa.

  22. bonza on March 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

    sad thing is you could film a new story every day with another set of parents.. education is the key, taking this into schools is a start but education in the home and throughout the community is also a big factor. the one dissapointing thing with this tv show was i think they bailed a bit on the crash scene.i wanted it to be shocking. this maybe due to i see it in reality on a regular basis. 2 out of 3 young drivers will have a crash in their first 6 months that is a failing of our system of training youngsters to drive.

  23. bonza on March 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

    *young male drivers

  24. Chris on March 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Probably the most powerful and emotional drama I have ever watched on the BBC. Heartbreaking, thought provoking, a real roller coaster of emotions. Brilliantly acted with an amazing soundtrack. Deserves a prime time repeat on BBC1 to highlight the dangers of dangerous driving. Does anyone know if the BBC are planning a full DVD release?

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