This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
I’ll cop to, six weeks ago, not having high expectations for Clique beyond its attempts to emulate the glossy female-centric US dramas that haven’t quite caught on over here. It fulfilled that promise well, with its scandalous relationships, dark undertones and racy sex scenes.
But then it did something I wasn’t expecting – it attempted to be something more than that. Amidst the so-so mystery and slightly boring financial sub-plots there was a complicated look at modern feminism in relation to ambition, friendship and shame. It gave us a mentor with a troublesome (but not unpopular) take on gender dynamics and inserted her into the lives of two young girls searching for purpose.
Holly, our protagonist, was the biggest surprise of all. Throughout the show she’s grown far beyond the blank slate everywoman she began as, broken down to her base levels of guilt and self-hatred, as Georgia – the girl who once saved her from those instincts – got sucked further and further into the corrupt Solasta lifestyle. Righteous obsession, when it’s rooted in recognisable humanity, is almost always fun to watch and became Clique’s strongest throughline.
This sixth and final episode balances the show’s two sides well, resolving the central mystery but never forgetting what the story has been about. At its core, the series was never as concerned about the inner workings of Solasta as it was about Holly and her love for Georgia.
So Rachel was a snake in the grass all along, offering Holly friendship amidst the chaos even as she was meticulously stripping her of everything she had built since that fateful day when they were children. Unlike Holly, who has fruitlessly attempted to suppress the shame she feels for the accident/murder of her past, Rachel has come to terms with the fact that she quite liked how it felt to take a life.
In retrospect, this final twist makes a lot of sense and – as a handy flashback montage illustrates – was set up more or less from the beginning. It doesn’t make you reevaluate the previous five episodes as much as it just brings together a lot of the thematic elements of the series as a whole.
As such, it’s easy to compare Holly’s love for Georgia with Rachel’s love for Holly, their own shower scene mirroring the earlier one between Holly and Georgia in episode three. They’re coming from completely different places, but both women are just looking to be saved.
Elizabeth is an odd outlier, apparently present only to serve the reveal of Rachel as the story’s true villain. Still, it doesn’t sit quite right that she would be absolved without question, despite admitting to the same stalker-like tendencies that drove Rachel to such extreme measures. If there does end up being a second series, I feel like there’s another shoe to drop there.
The final sequence looks great, with Georgia looking like a tragic heroine in her formal-wear while Holly and Rachel are dressed down in tracksuits and no makeup. The setting is gorgeous, and there’s a romance to the whole thing that just adds to the creepy undertones. Faced with the same choice again, Holly chooses not to repeat her mistake, even if it means she’ll drown too.
With so much of the show focusing on what men can be allowed, without consequence, to do to women, it feels right that this finale brings it back to what women can do to each other. Jude has to reckon with her role in the abuse of Faye, Georgia and countless other girls while, depending on your interpretation of that final shot, Holly will be dealing with her connection to Rachel for some time yet.
Rachel and Georgia are the physical manifestations of Holly’s dual sides and, despite beating back the devil on her shoulder and saving her friend from going down an equally dark path, she can’t quite let either of them go. If nothing else, that concept makes a second series an intriguing concept.