Episodes episode 6 review

Episodes reaches its penultimate week, and sees Sean and Beverly's marriage and sitcom hanging in the balance. Here's Ryan's review...

Episodes

It’s episode six, and we’ve come full circle. Following last week’s unedifying concluding scene, in which Beverly watched Sean excitedly disporting himself over an Internet sex video, we’re returned to the opening moments of episode one.

Beverly’s angrily packed her bags and, in her hasty dash to the airport, drives her Ford Mustang straight into Matt LeBlanc’s Jaguar. Leaving their cars to smoulder in the LA sun, the pair head to LeBlanc’s beachside pad, where they spend the rest of the show arguing and exchanging sultry glances.

Sean, meanwhile, is left trying to salvage both his marriage and his floundering TV show. Having left 31 voicemail messages on Beverly’s mobile, he settles down for lunch with rodent-like executive Merc, a man with only a passing interest in television, and almost no interest at all in Sean’s misfiring sitcom.

For me, Episodes has, even in the moments I’ve thought of as its weaker ones, functioned better as a drama with comedic undertones rather than a sitcom. And as we reach the penultimate episode, I’ve realised that the overarching plot is far more interesting than the little interpersonal wars we’ve witnessed each week. I don’t necessarily care about all the characters or what happens to them, but I am fascinated to see how the whole sorry affair pans out.

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At the moment, Merc’s disinterest in Pucks, the show he’s had a large part in ruining, means its future doesn’t look good. Similarly, the simmering attraction between Beverly and Matt finally reaches boiling point this week. You didn’t have to be Nostradamus to predict that the two would end up fraternising with one another eventually, but their affair is hardly good news for Sean and Beverly’s already stricken marriage.

Like every instalment of Episodes so far, this week’s show had several scenes to relish. The moment where Merc ignored his wife at lunch in the restaurant, as was Morning’s lament to Matt about Beverly’s evil looks (“I’m really the star of her hate. You are, at best, co-hated.”)

And while Beverly’s entanglement with Matt was a predictable, perhaps even inevitable development, it’ll be interesting to see where the series will go in next week’s finale. Will Pucks prove to be as big a car crash as Beverly’s? Can Sean win Beverly back, or has she been tempted away for good by Matt LeBlanc’s biggest asset?

So far, Episodes has been a bumpy, uneven ride, with some superb characters (particularly Merc and his lovelorn personal assistant, Carol) and some occasionally uninspired plot developments. It’s not the equal of Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig’s last pairing, Green Wing, but it’s not been a complete disaster, either.

This week’s show was far more coherent in terms of plot and script than the previous one. Let’s hope the finale wraps the drama up with the kind of inspired writing that provided the series with its high point in episode two.

Read our review of episode 5 here.

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