From Here To There episode 2 review

Review Patrick Sproull 29 May 2014 - 22:00

From There To Here remains so-so in its second episode. Here's Patrick's review...

This review contains spoilers.

After an uneasy start, the BBC’s latest drama output, From There To Here manages to find its feet early on in this second episode. Starting off more or less where the first finished, From There To Here surreptitiously sidesteps explaining how Daniel survived the explosion in his brother, Robbo’s nightclub (this reviewer was surprised not to find, in Sherlock fashion, a series of humorous, alternative accounts of how Daniel pulled through) and put more focus on Daniel’s double life.

With both Claire and Joanne in the dark about the other (leading to a funny scene in which the pair unwittingly share a lift), Daniel must dash between each woman whilst maintaining his busy work cover story. Each life has something important and director James Strong (doing fine work behind the camera) instils this idea by showing us both Joanne giving birth and Daniel’s daughter, Louise’s Labour walkover. As episode two progressed we saw Daniel struggling more and more to keep both women ignorant of each other and he faced confrontations from both of them about his frazzled manner – or, to quote Samuel (the terrific Bernard Hill, given little to do this week), why he has “a face like a slapped arse”.

Contrary to what I believed last week it was, in fact, Robbo who bombed the club and while his insurance gyp was successful, he’s got a new ‘head of security’ in the form of Vincent Regan’s Stapleton, a gimlet-eyed, malevolent old-school Irish baddie who's blackmailing him. Meanwhile, Joanne’s son Ryan’s suspicions rose after Daniel’s cock and bull story about being a drug addict – and they were duly confirmed. The convergence of both Daniel’s lives in the hospital was well done (Peter Bowker’s predilection for ‘dun-dun-dun’ moments is showing) although it felt a bit soapy.

Liz White and Steven Mackintosh are the two whose performances have shone consistently throughout this miniseries. White managed to root Joanne firmly in the grounds of believability once more and Mackintosh, although without as much to do this week, has a certain charm as Daniel’s shiftless brother. Glenister’s performance is reliably strong, but nothing out of the ordinary here, and Saskia Reeves makes a good fist of the little material she is given but it’s White and Mackintosh who are the scene-stealers.

From There To Here is compelling enough drama but it lacks any emotional resonance or heft. Giving your characters heart attacks or strokes or blowing them up (twice) don’t automatically create poignancy, they’re just clumsy, rushed attempts at making you feel for them with no lasting effect. From There To Here skips over a few years, just making the multiple buffets suffered by the Cottons plausible but there’s nothing to them.

From There To Here reaches third base next week with Daniel addressing the emotional fallout of his twin lives, and hopefully Bowker can tie the drama up nicely without feeling the need to further afflict his characters – or kill one of them off, heaven forbid. The performances are solid enough and Daniel is a likeable enough lead (we know his actions are wrong but we can relate to him; in unskilful hands this might not have been the case) but From There To Here remains so-so. My fingers are crossed that it redeems itself next week with a finale that makes me feel something for the characters. One can but hope. 

Read Patrick's review of the previous episode, here.

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Yeah I have to agree with this review. The story has a lot of potential, but you just feel as though it doesn't seem believable/relatable enough to make sense. Not really sure what the story is trying to prove - the only moral I can see is that your lies will come back to haunt you. I think the story would have benefited from a longer series - 3 hours seems like a very small amount of time to express such a strange story.

Real shame, I was expecting a pretty good show from Philip Glenister and Liz White being a massive Life on Mars fan! Stellar cast, just a poor storyline.

Well....yes and no. For the average viewer it would be difficult to get into the characters and feel sympathy for them due to the fact that it is only 3 episodes (it might have been wiser to have 4 instead of 3). But that depends on your own perspective and background, you see I come from a psychology, social work and counselling background and I have been in situations like this and have read a bunch of research on this sort of stuff where this happens everyday. I have empathy for Daniel because obviously there are some deep emotional psychological issues in relation to his family and social context that plays a major role in him re-examining his life which is very common for men and women who are go into middle adulthood. Erikison theory would suggest that Daniel is confused in relation to his identity and his life has become bored and stagnated...he isn't really been involved with his grandkids which suggests that he is not the type of character to be heavily involved with grand-parenting. Of course Peter talked about communication and how poor we are at it which is true. In social work, community services and counselling courses we are taught whole units and subjects around communication skills which involved stuff like active listening which involves eye contact, open body languages, a calm and steady tone of and pace of voice and the use of strategic question which helps people become aware of their issues. Then we are taught how to hone in on people's emotions... when they tell you about what is happening with their life the other person is to pick up on the emotions that that person is feeling and reflect it back to them. Open and honest communication is what a marriage or a relationship between humans rely mostly on and this story is really about humans and how they poor at self reflection, communicating and reflecting with one another which is seen in all of the characters including Joanne and Claire.

I didn't need to be told that he has had bouts of depression becauseI can pick up on those signs straight away like in the first episode where you can clearly see that Daniel is not happy with his life. In the hospital you can see him leaving the family which is a form of isolation and withdrawl behaviour which again is very common for those who struggle with those issues. His life has been shaped in the image of his adopted father and not for himself as again mentioned in the beginning when the father mentioned that his company and success paid for Daniel's life and livelihood. He has never had the opportunity to shape and take control of his own life and he doesn't know what to do with it which leads to him making some bad choices which is very common.

I do agree that there hasn't been much fleshing out of the other characters and that maybe another episode was required to go more deeper into the other characters. And I did have trouble with some of the characters blindly believing Daniel as well. But on the other hand I don't need to be spoon fed, I can read between the lines to what Peter is trying to achieve and that is mainly because of my personal/social context. I think that the last episode will be about the consequences of Daniel's actions and Daniel will probably have to sort himself out and maybe make a choice as to where he wants to be in life. I think we are too obsessed with writing and shows that are slick, tight, well paced and believable well newsflash people and relationships ain't like that. The show captures that messiness of life and I like that about it, about finding your way in life and adapting to the changes that gets thrown at you.
The middle stage in the story seems to be that this is the first time that Daniel gets a taste of being his own person away from the constructed world set up by his father and he is like a teenager with alcohol and car keys...now he is going through the hangover period....which is going to be very painful indeed. This is actually quite a rich piece of text in relation to family and human interaction and relationships. I am going to see if I can recommend this drama to some of my teachers the next time they teach us client developmental status.

"From There To Here is compelling enough drama but it lacks any emotional resonance or heft."

Depends what sort of live you've lived. Trust me, you wanna hope that you will always be unable to detect emotional resonance from a script like that. For some of us, though - and I can guarantee several hundreds if not thousands of viewers would agree - watching last night's episode was like a very long night in the chamber of horrors. If you've ever been "there", then you'll know what I mean. Thankfully, I'm now "here" and the resonance I endured (right word) last night is, very ironically, left behind back there in 1996-98 (and I don't ever plan on weaving a web like that again). I can only imagine one thing worse than watching FTTH having been through very, very similar (and being the cause of it all) and that's watching FTTH whilst still going through it. Bowker's script here is pin sharp. Painfully. Word from the wise - anyone who finds themselves on the brink of a "Daniel moment" as "a Joanne" suddenly appears...just walk on and keep on walking. You can thank me later! It gets much worse than what you'll see in FTTH. That's just telly.

Agree entirely with the review. With a cast like this - Steven Mackintosh, Bernard Hill and Philip Glenister - the potential was there for something really compelling. However the poor plot/writing means that for this viewer at least, there was no suspension of disbelief and no emotional engagement, other than slight sympathy when all Philip/Daniel's chickens came home to roost at once.

Been there got the t shirt ! It's making me cringe with painful memories !

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