We’re already in week four of Bedlam’s second series, and the early promise shown in the opening episode has long faded away. It seems that no amount of cast shake-ups or mythology brainstorms can overcome bad writing, and this week’s episode just adds to the pile of disappointing hours the show has produced this year. Guest star of the week is Any Dream With Do reality star Lee Mead, who’s actually a lot more appealing than last week’s guest actress, even with so little to work with.
They’re playing the autistic kid card, with Scott’s little brother, Jude, possessed by a vengeful spirit. The back-story is a bit confusing and doesn’t matter much (a recurrence this series), and we’re encouraged instead to focus on the themes of family and abandonment the storyline evokes. When Scott considers putting Jude into care after an unfortunate incident with an electric heater in the bath, for example, it’s heavily implied that Ellie herself was put in care when she was younger. It’s a comment that just hangs there without explanation, but maybe it’ll come up again later.
Something I predicted last week was the relationship between Dan and Warren, and it turns out my hunch was right. I suppose the writers thought their audience wouldn’t figure it out due to Dan’s mixed-race heritage, but he is indeed Warren’s son, which at least goes some way to explaining the weird behaviour. What doesn’t make any sense is why he was so conniving in getting the revelation. Obviously it’s allowed us to theorise about something, but why get a job in your biological father’s hotel just to torture him? Why not just confront him, or take him to see Jeremy Kyle?
The other ongoing story is the tedious love triangle developing between Ellie, Max and Dan, which takes a turn for the soap opera this week with Ellie’s pregnancy. She claims it’s Dan’s child, which I thought only happened a couple of days ago, but am I the only one who thinks it could be her fiancé’s? I always expected him to come back into the picture, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. The fact that she’s pregnant at all just erases my praise from last week; can’t a female character engage in casual sex without some horrible consequence? I’m betting they’re preparing to go one better next week and have it be some kind of demon child (or Eve?).
No matter what, another Bettany child doesn’t sound like a good thing. Maybe now she’s got a bun in the oven Ellie might get a job. Am I the only one wondering where she’s getting her rent money from? Are Dan and Max just letting her live there for free? If the show wants to expand the mythology, and the introduction of Eve and the ‘B’ symbol certainly suggests as much, then it has to think about the little things that foreshadow revelations. Both big secrets talked about this week felt like they had sprung from nowhere, with little effort to make them believable.
As I said last week, the last two episodes of series two are likely to be an improvement, but the ingredients for a good series were there from the start, they just haven’t been used so far.
Read our review of last week’s episode, here.
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