This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
Well that just got dark. After three weeks of relatively demure scandal and intrigue, episode four of Clique has dimmed the lights, upped the stakes and made a lot of the grimy subtext of Solasta and its treatment of interns into shocking, graphic context.
The episode starts on an unusually sunny note for for our protagonist – new guy, new friends and new life. Everything’s coming up Holly, and Georgia’s absence is making it easier for her to enjoy the various advantages of being one of the elite. But, having seen James Buxton’s body dragged from the river at the end of last week’s episode, we know there’s another shoe ready to drop.
And drop it does, casting a black cloud of imminent danger over the house. While Faye’s apparent suicide could be waved away as the last act of a troubled girl in over her head, James’ death isn’t so easily dismissed. Two bodies points to a wider conspiracy, and now Holly isn’t alone in her hunt for the truth.
Because Rory has been revealed as an undercover police officer, and suddenly everything about him makes a lot more sense. In another show this twist may have been used to absolve him of his involvement with Solasta, but you can’t really get away from the fact that he’s been sleeping with his informant for information. No one in this show is completely clean, whether it’s by their own doing or someone else’s.
I mentioned a couple of reviews ago that Elizabeth comes off as a Pretty Little Liars’ Mona Vanderwaal type, and I’m more sure than ever that she’s somehow involved. We know from previous exchanges that she knows more about everyone at Solasta than she has any right to, and she’s the one who ensured Holly’s entrance with that information. Now Holly’s receiving helpful clues from a mysterious stranger, and Elizabeth’s on hand to point her in the right direction when she needs an extra nudge.
The trail leads her to what we now believe to be the whole truth (kidding, this is only episode four) – Solasta have been legitimising Steiner and Steiner’s blood and drugs money in exchange for a cut, and Steiner gets access to some pretty young girls as a bonus.
The posthumous video message from Faye is super-fun in the most horrific way possible, and unveils the intentions both of the shady men behind the company and the show itself. It’s no accident that Jude isn’t in on the game, orthat it’ll ultimately be Holly, a teenage girl, who uncovers the truth and saves the damsel.
Yet Holly lacks the poise and subtlety the other girls so prize about themselves, putting their game faces on even in situations as dire as this has become. Georgia is and has always been the priority for her, and she feels like she let her guard down. Now she might be in too deep to get out, and Holly’s desperation is getting the better of her.
You see it when Rory tells her to get out while she can, that he can handle it from here. It’s not over for Georgia, she replies, and that’s really all she cares about.
We learn that Holly’s connection with her best friend came about at a very tumultuous part of her childhood. Once a member of a larger group of kids, she was forced to separate from them when, led by Holly, they convinced a younger girl to jump from a cliff edge as part of a twisted initiation. Did she die? We don’t know, but Holly has classed herself as ‘one of the bad people’ ever since.
Steiner is a classic, faceless bad guy so far, explicitly referenced as a ‘monster’ over the course of the episode, and is simply a symptom of a larger problem. No, it’s Alistair we should really be frightened of. It’s the people who allow evil to exist, actively facilitating its growth behind the scenes of ordinary society.
I never dreamed Clique would have these rather lofty ambitions when we began and, some strange choices aside, it’s weaving together its story elements rather nicely. It’s about power – on loan or society-given – and those who desperately want it for themselves. Holly is wrestling with that dichotomy, her ambition battling it out with her desire to be saved, but first she has to ensure Georgia’s freedom from Steiner’s grasp.