• Temple season 2 (Distributor)Source: Distributor
If you thought season one of Temple was bonkers, things were only getting started. Here's a quick recap of season one before you dive into season two.
29 Oct 2021 - 9:50 AM  UPDATED 29 Oct 2021 - 9:50 AM

A lot of good guys operate out of an underground lair. There’s Batman, the X-Men, the humans in The Matrix – the list goes on. But a good guy who operates in his underground lair? That’s Doctor Daniel Milton (Mark Strong), secret surgeon to those who for whatever reason can’t have their injuries treated by an above-ground medical practitioner. Working in the disused tunnels under one of London’s busiest Tube stations – Temple Station to be exact – he’s set up his own private medical clinic where those outside the system can get help… for a price.

Is he doing this out of the goodness of his heart? Not exactly. The series begins with Milton attending the funeral of his wife Beth (Catherine McCormack) a medical researcher who contracted the fatal disease she was investigating. At first his need to find a cure seems like it’s driven by his desire to continue her work, but no – he’s driven to try and find a cure because he’s got her comatose body stashed away in his underground lair. You read that right: together they faked her death so he could go outside the law to find a cure, which is both extremely romantic and the kind of thing that gets you struck off, which explains the secret underground lair (they also have a daughter, Eve (Lily Newmark), who’s off at university but who they didn’t let in on the scheme, which seems a little like extremely bad parenting).

Finding a cure isn’t cheap and there’s only so much equipment Milton can steal from his day job as a respected surgeon (he really is like Batman, only he fights illness and accepts payment) so while Beth is under wraps in one corner of what is probably an extremely unhygienic cave, Milton runs a secret medical clinic tending to armed robbers and other members of London’s criminal underworld. Working by his side underground is Lee Simmons (Daniel Mays), a survivalist Tube employee who isn’t a hunchback but definitely gives off some serious Igor vibes while Milton is doing transplants like a regular Doctor Frankenstein.

Adding to the stress of keeping his comatose wife a secret in a cave under a busy train station in the heart of London, Milton’s current crime clientele aren’t exactly the kind of people who pay their bills on time; worse, if they die on his operating table, he doesn’t get paid at all. Then in his very first case he ends up dragging research assistant Anna (Carice van Houten) down into the cave to drain her blood… okay, do a blood transfusion on his patient, but by this stage the gothic vibes are hard to deny.

Getting Anna involved is bad, and not just because the more people who know about his secret surgery the less secret it is. She’s Beth’s friend, and she had an affair with Milton. If you’re starting to get the feeling Milton likes over-complicating his life, you’re not alone.

Over the eight episodes of the first season Milton and his motley crew have to dodge the police, a murderous crime gang led by the mother of an armed robber they operated on, organ smugglers, and a series of medical cases each more ethically dubious than the last. It’s the kind of roller-coaster television you can’t look away from, building up to the best possible cliffhanger imaginable: in the final moments of the season, Beth wakes up.

How could the series could possibly keep going after that? The Norwegian series Valkyrien that Temple is based on ended after one season; now freed from the constraints of the original, they’re taking things to a whole new level. In season two Eve finds out her parents were lying (in her mother’s case, lying about being dead), Lee falls under the sway of a charismatic activist, and Anna is luring patients into the tunnels for illegal drug trials. Add in Beth’s disapproval of what her husband’s been up to and the addition of Rhys Ifans as a dodgy medical fixer who becomes Milton’s rival, and things look like they’re only going to get even more insane.

Holding it all together is Strong, who as Milton effortlessly swings between the kind of sombre, caring persona you want from a doctor and the almost over-the-top energy you need to be running an illegal underground (literally) medical clinic with your comatose wife stashed in a back room. The more desperate Milton becomes, the more fun Strong is to watch – and the new season promises to give Milton an awful lot to be desperate about.


Temple seasons 1 & 2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Jump straight into season 2: 





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