If you had to go on the run, where would you hide?
Fourteen ordinary men and women have to go on the run from a crack government team of CIA analysts, intelligence experts and former police officers from 28 days. They're not allowed to leave the UK. They have to stay within the boundaries of the law. They're given £450 in a bank account. They are accompanied by their own personal camera operators. How they use this money and how they decided to hide is completely up to them.
Harinder and Davinder Singh
This episode introduces a new team of fugitives: Sikh brothers Harinder and Davinder Singh. I found the two instantly likeable, as they're charming, loyal to each other and very smart. The Singhs explain that they go on the run to challenge misconceptions about Asian communities and terrorism. Harinder says "we're Asian, we've got beards, we'll probably going to have some rucksacks on our backs, which is not gonna help. The automatic thing that people will think is bloody hell, terrorist." It was this reasoning and logic that made me like the pair so much. What they say is very true. Ever since 9/11 and 7/7, there have been increased surveillance on Asians, as well as an increasing sense of Islamophobia. The brothers wish to fight this surveillance and prove that you should be judged on your actions rather than your faith or the way you dress.
On the subject of dress, there are shots of the Singh brothers trimming their beards, which then begged the question, why haven't any of the fugitives changed their appearance yet? Ricky Allen with his balding head, beard and circular glasses is very recognisable and I wonder why he hasn't shaved or started wearing contact lens. Furthermore, Emily Dredge has a vivid shock of blonde hair, which would make her standout and whilst she has a wig with her, there are never any shots of her wearing it. Even if you don't use the wig, why wouldn't you get a haircut or dye your hair? The Hunters have the most recent photographs of the fugitives so it's only logical to change your appearance as soon as possible.
The brothers start the episode strongly. Davinder, knowing that the Hunters are likely to hack into their email account, sends an email to his brother saying that the two should hide in Caister-Upon Sea, as nobody would expect us to hide there. (Caister-Upon-Sea is largely a white community) Once you've read this email, delete it immediately." Although one of the Hunters makes the very good point that "people don't appreciate that when you click delete on an email or a photo, it isn't really deleted. It's still there, you just can't see." This perfectly summarises one of the unwritten rules of the internet: once something is on the internet, it's on the internet forever. However, Davinder's email is a trap designed to lead the Hunters on a wild goose chase, whilst they take refuge within the Sikh Community in Manchester. From here, there plan is to hide in plain site. It's a good plan and it works. The Hunters fall for the trap and ask whether people in Caister-Upon-Sea have seen the Singhs. Here, Davinder's talk of Islamophobia and stereotypes is shockingly brought to light when a man shown a photo of the brothers says "is this something to do with ISIS? Somebody should behead those bastards before they behead somebody else."
However, the Singhs are still hiding successfully with the Mancunian Sikh Community and their plan is going swimmingly, until they make the very risky move of phoning home. Both brothers have their own families and they use the same burner pay as you go phone to call home. Of course, the Hunters are monitoring the communications of the family's loved ones and are instantly alerted to their presence. The Singhs decide to travel up to Glasgow to stay in a safehouse with a surveillance expert who quickly chastises them from using their phones. Despite his reprovals, the Singhs phone home once again which means they have to leave Glasgow. However, they decide to take sanctuary for a few hours in a friend's shop, which they arranged by calling him before-hand. This leads the Hunters right to them and the Singhs are caught hiding in the backroom of the shop, where there is no escape. After seven days on the run, the Singh brothers were caught.
Time on the run: Seven Days
This episode also returns to the man, the legend, Dr Ricky Allen who is still hiding in the highlands of Scotland. Ricky Allen is a ball-buster, a man who likes winding people up and this episode shows how ballsy he can get. In an elaborate scheme, he lures the Hunters to a bothy in Scotland, where he then spies on them in the nearby bushes. It is a risky plan, but it is one that works and Ricky Allen doesn't get caught. It is his audacity and his intelligence that makes Ricky one of the more endearing and likeable characters on the show. This episode also shows the seemingly infallible Ricky Allen beginning to crack under the pressures of being on the run, when he uses a payphone to call home for his daughter's birthday. Furthermore, he also has one of his friends use his credit card to take money out from an ATM for him. Despite, how both events alert the Hunters to his presence and an intense search of Ricky's house and interviewing his wife, Ricky Allen still manages to evade the Hunters. After fourteen days on the run, Ricky Allen still manages to elude the Hunters.
Status: At large
Time on the run: Fourteen days
Emily Dredge and Lauren English
The episode also very briefly mentions Emily and Lauren who are still on the run and still bickering. This time, the two are arguing over what their next move should be. Emily thinks that they should break their pattern of heading north by heading back down south, which sounds very logical, but Lauren thinks they should continue heading North. Thankfully, this is all we see of the pair and their whereabouts remain unknown.
Status: At large
Time on the run: 12 days
This episode is every bit as tense and nail-biting as the previous one, especially when the Hunters are closing in on the Singhs and you're waiting for some Deux Ex Machina to rescue them from the backroom of a shop. I also really liked the Singhs and their reasons for going on the run. The two brothers are also very likeable. Their devotion to their families and community made them However, what made this episode really good is Ricky Allen's antics, where he is messing around with the Hunters. Essentially laying this trap to say "fuck you" to the Hunters, Ricky Allen's audacity injects a lot of humour into the show. You want him to succeed, as it is obvious how much he loves screwing with the system and how much he enjoys doing it. What made this episode really good was how there was very little of Emily and Lauren. Their constant bickering made them very tiresome to watch and it was a welcome release to see them largely left out of this episode.
Top three tips for being on the run
1. Always have an escape route planned. If the Singh brothers hadn't hidden in a backroom of a shop with no secondary exit, perhaps they would still be on the run now.
2. Change your appearance! Dye or cut your hair, wear contacts, shave your beard. I have long hair, but if I ever went on the run, then I would be straight in the barber's for a short back and sides.
3. DO NOT PHONE HOME! It almost caught Lauren, Emily and Ricky Allen and it catches out the Singh brothers. The government will be monitoring all outgoing and incoming communications from your loved one's phones. In fact, just don't phone at all, the government can monitor all mobile communications even from pay as you go mobile phones.
Sandra Cooley, Elizabeth Varsy, Harinder and Davinder Singh have all been caught, but Ricky Allen and Lauren English and Emily Dredge and seven more fugitives are still on the run. Will anyone make it to 28 days?