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Recap / Inside No 9 S 3 E 2 The Bill

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Archie, Kevin and Malcolm, teammates from a badminton club, have taken Archie's friend Craig out to dinner whilst he is visiting on a business trip. The bill proves to be much more expensive than the men expected. The wealthy Craig offers to pick up the tab, but Archie and Malcolm each insist on paying, and soon get into a very heated argument over who gets to pay. It becomes clear that there are past tensions between them, and the situation escalates when Archie lies that he has a terminal illness so that Malcolm will let him pay. Craig and Kevin try to break up the argument, but this only makes matters worse: Craig is accused of showing off his money, while Archie and Malcolm resent Kevin's stingy attitude.

The waitress, Anya, is anxious because she was supposed to have closed the restaurant by now. Malcolm proposes they settle the discussion with a "game" where he and Archie will compete to see who can stab a knife into the table all around their hand and back the fastest; the winner gets to pay. The game becomes increasingly tense as Archie repeatedly stabs himself but carries on anyway. Craig tries to grab the knife but accidentally stabs Anya in the throat; she dies. The men discuss what to do, and Archie calls a criminal contact who can send a professional "cleaner" to take care of the body. However, they will charge £200,000 - which only Craig can afford. Craig reluctantly agrees to arrange the payment.


When Craig accidentally steps on Anya's corpse, she screams and he realizes she is still alive. The other men are forced to admit that the entire evening is a scam set up to con him out of £200,000. Kevin demands Craig's phone so he can't call the police. Craig refuses, but realizes he is locked in, and the others smile at him malevolently. Some time later, the men repeat the same scheme at the same restaurant with a new mark; Craig has taken Anya's place as the "waiter."


This episode contains examples of:

  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Kevin does this towards the end as an intimidating gesture towards Craig.
  • Asshole Victim: Craig.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with the same scene, of the men in the restaurant with their latest victim, preparing to pull the con.
  • Bromance: When Craig says he thought he and Archie were friends, Archie says they were more like a "holiday bromance"
  • City Mouse: Londoner Craig is this compared to the other men, all from a smaller town in the north of England.
  • Con Man: Archie, Malcolm, Kevin, and Anya/Karen all fit this trope. By the end of the episode Craig has joined them.
  • Competition Freak: Archie and Malcolm rapidly get into this with each other.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Craig's left hand wardrobe, and the top drawer of his bedside cabinet, which he really doesn't want his au pair to open.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Subverted with Anya, who isn't really a waitress on minimum wage. Played straight with Craig's Eastern European au pair.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Played with regarding Kevin. While everybody except Craig was part of the initial con, Kevin appeared to be the nebbish Butt-Monkey of the group and weaker than his more assertive friends, but when the act is dropped he becomes far more confident and commanding and the others defer to him, strongly hinting that he's actually the leader who organised the whole thing.
  • Fauxreigner: "Anya" turns out to be very English.
  • Five-Finger Fillet: The game used to settle the bill when things really escalate out of control. Namedropped along with a number of other names the game goes by.
  • Gambit Roulette: Archie even admits the con is "too elaborate", after it falls apart. How did they know Craig would grab the knife, or where to put the squibs so Anya could be believably injured, or that Craig wouldn't check her vitals himself, or call emergency services?
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Archie's wife is suggested to be one.
  • Here We Go Again!: The target of the previous con has now joined the team in running it again.
  • Hypocritical Humour: When Karen says that the restaurant manager is charging them more money to use the restaurant for the con, Malcolm says "Some people are such greedy bastards."
  • The Mark: Craig, and later another victim.
  • No Name Given: It appears Anya's real name is Karen and Malcolm's is Jerry, but we never find out the real names of Kevin and Archie. It's implied that Suzie is Archie's wife's real name and was let slip by accident.
  • Nouveau Riche: Craig.
  • The Scrooge: Kevin, who hates paying for anything and always calculates his exact share on a night out.
  • Serious Business: Paying a bill. Turns out there is a sinister reason behind it.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: The premise of the episode.
  • Short Con: What the whole evening turns out to be.
  • Team Hand-Stack: Archie, Kevin and Craig do one at the table.
  • You No Take Candle: Karen speaks this way in order to pass herself off as a foreigner.


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