This review contains spoilers.
After an uneasy start, the BBC’s latest drama output, From There To Here manages to find its feet early on in this second episode. Starting off more or less where the first finished, From There To Here surreptitiously sidesteps explaining how Daniel survived the explosion in his brother, Robbo’s nightclub (this reviewer was surprised not to find, in Sherlock fashion, a series of humorous, alternative accounts of how Daniel pulled through) and put more focus on Daniel’s double life.
With both Claire and Joanne in the dark about the other (leading to a funny scene in which the pair unwittingly share a lift), Daniel must dash between each woman whilst maintaining his busy work cover story. Each life has something important and director James Strong (doing fine work behind the camera) instils this idea by showing us both Joanne giving birth and Daniel’s daughter, Louise’s Labour walkover. As episode two progressed we saw Daniel struggling more and more to keep both women ignorant of each other and he faced confrontations from both of them about his frazzled manner – or, to quote Samuel (the terrific Bernard Hill, given little to do this week), why he has “a face like a slapped arse”.
Contrary to what I believed last week it was, in fact, Robbo who bombed the club and while his insurance gyp was successful, he’s got a new ‘head of security’ in the form of Vincent Regan’s Stapleton, a gimlet-eyed, malevolent old-school Irish baddie who’s blackmailing him. Meanwhile, Joanne’s son Ryan’s suspicions rose after Daniel’s cock and bull story about being a drug addict – and they were duly confirmed. The convergence of both Daniel’s lives in the hospital was well done (Peter Bowker’s predilection for ‘dun-dun-dun’ moments is showing) although it felt a bit soapy.
Liz White and Steven Mackintosh are the two whose performances have shone consistently throughout this miniseries. White managed to root Joanne firmly in the grounds of believability once more and Mackintosh, although without as much to do this week, has a certain charm as Daniel’s shiftless brother. Glenister’s performance is reliably strong, but nothing out of the ordinary here, and Saskia Reeves makes a good fist of the little material she is given but it’s White and Mackintosh who are the scene-stealers.
From There To Here is compelling enough drama but it lacks any emotional resonance or heft. Giving your characters heart attacks or strokes or blowing them up (twice) don’t automatically create poignancy, they’re just clumsy, rushed attempts at making you feel for them with no lasting effect. From There To Here skips over a few years, just making the multiple buffets suffered by the Cottons plausible but there’s nothing to them.
From There To Here reaches third base next week with Daniel addressing the emotional fallout of his twin lives, and hopefully Bowker can tie the drama up nicely without feeling the need to further afflict his characters – or kill one of them off, heaven forbid. The performances are solid enough and Daniel is a likeable enough lead (we know his actions are wrong but we can relate to him; in unskilful hands this might not have been the case) but From There To Here remains so-so. My fingers are crossed that it redeems itself next week with a finale that makes me feel something for the characters. One can but hope.
Read Patrick’s review of the previous episode, here.
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