Clique episode 3 review

Clique's third episode focuses on the increasingly juicy relationships between the show's characters...

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

After two weeks of being on the outside looking in, Holly’s now a part of the titular clique and in full investigative mode. But fighting from within the belly of a beast you’d actually quite like to be eaten by is difficult, and she’s going to have to get past the seduction and glamour of Solasta and her new life if she’s to get to the truth.

We open with another brief flashback of eleven-year-old Holly followed by a group of fellow kids. These are presumably the same kids who didn’t want to be friends with her after something she did. They walk to a cliff edge, but we don’t see what happens next.

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We then meet present-day Holly at the start of her first day at work as an intern, and everything seems normal. Work emails, health and safety videos and the benefit of skipping university classes while you’re at work. But then she gets a vaguely threatening email from James Buxton – the shady guy she walked in on with Faye – telling her to be careful.

So far there are a lot of people on the outside telling her that Solasta is dangerous, but not much evidence on the inside. I guess this is the show’s tactic – luring us into a false sense of safety while laying the groundwork for future revelations down the line.

Now that she’s working, Holly is moving into the house with the other girls, and we finally learn more about the other interns now she has direct contact with them – Louise is clever but not great at relationship management (she’s also a lesbian), Phoebe’s not averse to entering into workplace relationships, and Rachel is so far the most open about the darker realities of their lifestyle.

The house is beautiful and a million miles away from the student digs we’ve glimpsed so far. If anyone’s lived in student accommodation then it’s easy to see the attraction of this life of luxury. The trouble is that Holly quickly discovers her new suite used to belong to Faye, and the dissociative visions of the show’s ubiquitous dead girl begin anew.

Elizabeth is still just hanging around not contributing much to the plot, documenting betrayals and handing Holly strange but sweet parting gifts. I feel like there’s so much more story here that we’re only scratching the surface of, but then we’re only halfway through the series.

On her first night, Holly and the girls have dinner with Jude, debating the power difference between men and women at work. As Jude tells it, guys are frightened of modern women because they’re too quick to claim sexual harassment, offensive slurs and mansplaining. As Holly quite bravely replies: men feeling oppressed doesn’t mean they’re not real problems.

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Georgia has seemingly taken to the cut-throat environment like a duck to water, managing to steal the Steiner account out from under Louise after only a matter of days. Missing from the dinner, the girls assume she’s at the company’s lads night and entering into a ‘productive’ relationship that will increase her standing at Solasta, but when she returns it’s clear something isn’t right.

I love this sequence – Holly notices immediately that Georgia’s having a panic attack and we get the sense that this isn’t the first time. She leads her away into the bathroom, holds her close and just breathes with her. It’s the most naked and vulnerable we’ve seen this friendship, and adds layers of human fallibility to both characters. Aisling Franciosi and Synnove Karlsen were wonderful here.

As soon as she composes herself they’re back at each other’s throats, with Georgia so protective of what she’s built for herself she can’t find a way to be anyone’s friend. Holly, who would burn the world to the ground if it would save her best friend from this inevitable downfall, just sits there and takes it.

The girls get glammed up and hit the town, and it’s the most true Clique’s been to the ‘glossy drama’ tag it’s attached to itself. Holly finds Rory at the club and they both get grabby before Sam pops up behind the bar to shame her for selling out. He deliberately lets slip that they’d slept together while Georgia is in earshot, but news of the disloyalty just spurs her on even more.

On the mystery side of things, another message from James leads Holly on a treasure hunt for whatever secrets Faye was hiding before her death, and leads her to a lot of dry financial records. Thankfully the characters (via an equally unengaging email exchange) are there to explain that she and James Buxton were bypassing client background checks in exchange for money.

She triumphantly confronts Alistair, who claims that Faye was acting without his permission. It’s not convincing, and we conveniently cut away before he and Jude can talk about it in private.

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Holly takes Rory home and goes to Georgia to wave the white flag. They’re not as close as they used to be, but she assures her she’s still there if she needs a friend. Georgia looks visibly distraught as she leaves for her business trip, and we cut to yet another mysterious death. James Buxton has been dragged from the river, and whatever secrets he was hiding died with him.

While last week’s offering added a lot to Cliques mystery element this third episode, to the show’s benefit, was far more concerned with the soapy dramatics and increasingly juicy relationships between the various characters. The connection between Holly and Georgia continues to be the heart of the show, and another death promises we haven’t yet uncovered the full story behind Solasta’s dodgy dealings.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode here.