This review contains spoilers.
Soul (patch) boy Kingsley has scored his first gig, thanks to Heather. “The thing is, you’ve been spending so much time on your music lately” she tells him straight after the intro. The thing is Heather, we haven’t seen Kingsley pick up his guitar for several episodes.
Soon after, Josie returns from her “seminar”. Heather and Josie were in the same group, you’d think they would have both gone together being totes BFFs and all.
Sabine announces that she’s leaving the flat because she’s had enough of being accused of burglary. Josie offers her hugs. Sabine is the only character who has called Josie out on her villainy all series.
All of the above takes place within the first five minutes. And though it may not seem like much, it’s a good indicator of the problems that run through the rest of the episode. Whenever I watch anything for a review, I make notes of plot threads and developments. It helps me keep track of what’s going on so when I come to write the review properly, I’ve got a rough timeline. Generally these take up half of an A4 page. The guide I wrote for this episode was double the length.
You can’t accuse this episode of being a slow one, there’s a lot happening here. Oregon having to deal with her boyfriend being the son of her ex. Sabine upping sticks and leaving Howard forlorn. Kingsley’s first gig. Josie keeping her exclusion hidden. JP trying to get back in with his old friends, despite realising they’re a shower of swearwords last series. That’s a fair amount to pack into forty minutes, which makes the decision to introduce further plot threads along the way look even more baffling.
In addition, there’s the age old dilemma of mates before dates for JP when he sees the mademoiselle of his dreams. Vod crashes a poetry recital by John Frobisher after being snubbed by Tony. Kingsley and Vod suspect Josie of being a heroin addict. And Oregon reveals her hidden musical talent! Enough material for another episode! But then this is the penultimate one for this series, so why does it feel like it’s all going nowhere?
This instalment feels more like two episodes scrappily edited together. The big reveals are frittered away and rendered meaningless. We jump from Oregon happily singing away to her having to face the music then back to her singing again. JP reacts to losing the girl he was so serious about as if he’s just dropped a pound coin down a toilet. At one point, Vod starts speaking like Peep Show‘s misunderstood genius/waster Superhans, complete with a Placebo reference.
Watching this episode, I noticed Joe Thomas miming along to Blur guitarist Graham Coxon’s vocals. The disconnect between what I was seeing and hearing was as jarring as the inconsistencies littered all the way through. Every half decent moment is lost in the mire of half-formed ideas and lazy structuring.
And then, almost apologetically, it all just stops. No big cliffhanger or reveal to keep us waiting for next week’s finale. Just another attempt at forcing the audience to get behind Josie and Kingsley. I said last week’s episode that it was possibly the weakest yet. I didn’t expect to have my mind changed so soon.
Read Jake’s review of the previous episode, here.
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