Campus episode 4 review: Come Together

Even though the rest of the country seems to have turned against it, Louisa continues to fly the flag for Channel 4's Campus...

Campus

4. Come Together

As has become customary in Campus, episode four opens with a scene of everyone’s favourite psychopath, Jonty de Wolfe, behaving with glorious impropriety towards one of Kirke’s student body.

This week, the extravagantly-quiffed VC was appraising a young man’s suitability to be a human sacrifice while prophesying that his birthmark spelt doom for the university. For a dark shadow is still hovering over Kirke in the form of the still-not-very-good-character Georgina Bryan. Ruthlessly driven in her search to trim the fat from uni expenditure, impassive-faced George spent the episode strutting the corridors with all the charisma of a paperclip.

I want to make it clear to each of the four people in the UK still watching Campus that Katherine Ryan is a talented stand-up who’s been either misdirected or miscast in the role of George. Saying that, there are only so many constipated, unamused, angry faces one show can take, and hers have definitely outstayed their welcome. That’s why this week’s closing scene featuring the uptight Canadian dressed only in insulating tape and nipple tassels came as such a welcome change. Well, either that, or I’m just a bit of a perv.

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What became clear over the course of this episode is that the viewers who switched off after week one declaring Campus void of likeable characters and believable relationships should have stuck around a little bit longer. Improbably (though not unpredictably), the main thrust of Campus is now the love story between Matt and Imogen. This week, the pair shared a sweet moment which, though I don’t usually go much for soppiness in sitcoms, I’m prepared to let pass due to its use of a Bowie tune.

Previously to Matt and Imogen’s close encounter, the erstwhile cad had spent the morning exhibiting his impressive range of ‘sex leans’ to George. All the classics were there: cowboy, guitar, naked, even kayak. This was all in aid of a seduction planned at the behest of Jonty, who was hoping that a romp with the English Prof would distract restructuring consultant George from dismantling the university. Romp they did, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out if the VC’s plan had the desired effect.

While Matt was busy sex leaning, Imogen was getting in a tiz about her growing attraction to him while accidentally agreeing to go on a date with Flatpack. Her graceless pounce on the young athlete mid-qualifying race was a lovely joke and well played, as was his line about her angular frame looking like a sexy game of Kerplunk.

Matt got most of the good speeches this week though, especially the telling off he gave über-organised, unspontaneous George. Countering a list of her achievements (get job, earn money, make more money…) with a string of his own (drink yourself sober, spend a week making love to the Afro-Caribbean society, wear a papier maché bra…) Matt managed to get both under her skin and into her pants.

In other news, Jason and still-pretending-to-be-gay Nicole were brimming with sexual tension, not helped by the improvised ‘doctors and nurses’ session they engaged in. The scene where Jason tried to break up with his girlfriend over the phone while she was on a ride in Alton Towers probably looked better on paper than it turned out on screen, but it did introduce a nice complication to be ironed out over the remaining two episodes.

But what of the brilliant Lydia? Unlikely to join in on the mating activities of the rest of the staff, Lydia is still something of a lone wolf, all pent-up violence and awkwardly expressed rage. This week she was threatening to rabbit punch travel agents in the vagina and auditioning potential holiday companions with the ruthless efficiency of an SS officer. I bloody love Lydia.

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There was also all the expected strangeness: admin teams freezing time, Jonty transmogrifying secretaries and the like. All business as usual for the wonderfully weird Kirke team. I shall miss them when they’ve gone.

Read our review of episode 3, Hurricane George, here.