Special Offer stars Pauline Quirke as Noreen, a frumpy, clumsy young girl working as a cashier in a grocery store. (Considering this was roughly forty years ago and in a foreign country, it is fascinating how all retail hells seem basically the same.) Her boss hates her guts and so does her co-worker Linda, who also is getting all of the bosses personal attention.
Noreen starts getting into trouble as she starts dropping things or knocking them over, but she claims that’s shes not doing it, that an animal has gotten in the store, an animal that no one else can see. Eventually she reveals that its Billy, the cartoon mascot of the store who is doing the damage.
At this point, I was pretty sure it was a joke episode, as it seemed quite light-hearted.
Noreen is relegated to the stockroom where a sensible co-worker asks her why she doesn’t get quit, which is a reasonable question. She does not produce a logical answer. But the attacks in the store get worse and worse as people start to see more damage and more phenomena.
The store manager consults with a more sage member of upper management who comes up with a more grim conclusion. The problem isn’t an animal. Its a poltergeist, and at its core is a very young lady, a poor girl with a crush on her lecherous manager, a crush that is doomed to end badly.
Special Offer is fantastically engaging, because I can’t think of anything I’ve seen like it, and I had no idea where it was going as I watched it. Also there was a great shift in tone, as there was only one man who understood what was happening and how bad it could get.
And Kneale doesn’t over-explain what is happening. Also this episode ends perfectly. This series is off to quite a start.