Does Inside No. 9 all take place in a shared universe?
Inside No. 9 fans know about the hare that appears in every episode. Across the four series to date, it's just been a fun Easter egg to spot in each episode.
The hare could be on a mantelpiece, like in 'Tom & Gerri' from series one:
Or during one of its trickier moments, it could even appear in a photo like in series three's 'Empty Orchestra':
Or to give you a flavour of where the hare has been hiding in series four, check out the cupboard to the left of Nicola Walker's character in 'To Have and to Hold':
We won't spoil where the hare is in each of the episodes because part of the fun is the rewatch to find it.
However, with series four closer 'Tempting Fate', Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton might have hinted at a deeper meaning to the hare, one that means every episode takes place in the same universe and are connected by more than just a single location with the number nine.
The episode sees council contractors Keith (Pemberton), Nick (Shearsmith) and Maz (Weruche Opia) clear out the flat of dead hoarder Frank (Nigel Planer), the trouble starting when Nick and Maz discover a safe and manage to open it, revealing a package inside that has "Danger, do not open" on.
In classic horror-movie fashion, Keith proceeds to open it, revealing the classic Inside No. 9 hare inside, which it turns out has a dark history.
Frank helpfully included a video with the hare that the trio play where he outlines why they really shouldn't have opened it, explaining that he was told by a "holy man in Jaipur" that it would grant whoever has it three wishes that would transform their life, which it did "for a while".
"If you find this package, I urge you, I implore you, do not open it. Send it away, destroy it. Our lives are ruled by fate and those who interfere with fate do so to their sorrow," he concluded.
Basically, like with The Monkey's Paw, wishes come at a cost and as the episode develops and the trio ignore Frank's warning, each of their wishes comes with a dark consequence, including the death of Maz and – via a reanimated Frank – the house exploding with everyone inside.
So what if the hare's appearance in each episode wasn't a coincidence? You could hardly say the characters of Inside No. 9 are the luckiest people in the world, so perhaps their misfortune has been down to the hare. Of course, we haven't seen them cast wishes, but maybe they did in the past and when it eventually comes back to bite them, that's what we see in the episodes.
After all, in series four opener 'Zanzibar', the hare is spotted in Mr Green's room. We're introduced to him when he's about to attempt suicide, and learn he had been troubled by giving away his twin sons at birth.
It's a stretch to say it could be exactly the same hare since we've seen it across 24 episodes now, but it's rare that an episode of Inside No. 9 is set in an explicit timeline – with the odd exception like the 1977-set 'The Devil of Christmas' – so the hare might have been passed on and found itself at one point in Jaipur.
Then again, it could just be that 'Tempting Fate' serves as both fan service and the creators' chance to give their version of The Monkey's Paw.
The hare did pop up in The League of Gentlemen too though, so we're hoping it is a sign of a shared Inside No. 9 universe and we'll end up having a Edward and Tubbs outing of Inside No. 9. Maybe in series five?
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