Switch episode 2 review
Despite strong cast chemistry, Switch is beginning to test Caroline's patience. Here's her review of episode two...
This review contains spoilers.
Last week’s premiere of new ITV2 comedy-drama Switch admittedly had its moments, but was still on pretty shaky ground when it came to crafting a believable blend of flatmate drama, fantasy, and comedy into one package. The moments between the four girls where what shone through the gimmicky fantasy elements and half-hearted witchcraft, and this second episode had the task of keeping those strengths while showing the rest of its cards. Based on this week’s offering, though, it looks like what we’ll be getting is more of the same, and most of the problems have only gotten more noticable.
That isn’t to say that those who enjoyed the premiere will hate the episode, as there’s still plenty of fun to enjoy. I was someone who found a lot of cosy nostalgia in the show right away, and could overlook the more cheesy elements of the coven’s witchcraft, but there are still too many storylines that don’t really go anywhere. Last week’s cliffhanger involved the Witches of Kensington, and we jumped straight into the drama as the episode opened. The trouble is, said coven are an infuriatingly clichéd bunch of half-baked characters who’d be much more at home in a children’s programme and don’t really pose much of a threat.
What they do get up to causes the episode’s other cringe-worthy scene, in which Hannah ruins an interview at Stella’s company. If it wasn’t unbelievable enough that a top advertising firm were that impressed by Hannah’s spirited gap year tales, a hex put on her by the Kensington girls causes her to lash out at the executives in the room. They don’t press charges and Stella isn’t reprimanded by the boss who last week made her life a living nightmare. Instead, she’s given a big new campaign to work on. In general, the show treats the girls’ careers as very trivial, which is a problem when you’re dealing with four driven young women in the city.
Jude’s storyline is the most irritating, since it comes and goes without any development or growth for the character. Wishing she could have a new boss because the old one didn’t tolerate her getting drunk on the job, the girls do another unnecessary spell to grant her wish. What she gets is a work-shy superior who lets the store get trashed before the end of lunch. Eventually, he gets sacked and replaced by Jude (after she sleeps with him, of course), and it’s a dubious message to send considering the focus the show puts on these characters’ working out their young lives. If they can do a spell every time they don’t like something, where are the boundaries?
I’m aware that this is supposed to be a light-hearted series, but right now it plays like a child’s wish-fulfilment fantasy with the f-word and dildo jokes thrown in to make it more ‘adult’. The characters are likeable and all four actresses have a brilliant chemistry on-screen, but it’s the storylines that let them down this week. Similarly to Stella and Jude, Grace gets her own time away from the group with the date from hell. Meeting up with a guy who’s had the worst life imaginable, he quickly crosses over to borderline stalker territory, and she cuts him loose. There’s a little tie-in with her attraction to Jude’s slacker boss, but otherwise this is another thread that goes absolutely nowhere.
I’m still waiting for the moral implications of their actions to come and haunt the girls, but I’m becoming increasingly suspicious that it may never happen. Using magic for everything from a bad haircut to a strict boss removes the tension from a show that spends ten-minutes solving petty issues, and the episode becomes a weird mish-mash of random encounters. Did we need to see Grace cut her fringe too short? I don’t know, but there were surely some more interesting storylines to get through. It was also odd in that the last fifteen-minutes felt like a different episode, as we’re introduced to Stella’s hindered dating life. Bringing back an ex-girlfriend for episode three could lift interest, but we’ll have to wait and see.
This week was a mixed bag of things that worked and things that didn’t, and wasn’t nearly as promising as the premiere. The characters are all still strong, and Switch has the potential to be good, fun, girly entertainment if only it’d add a bit more depth to the girls’ weekly shenanigans. I’m still on board, but I don’t know for how long.
Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, here.
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