The return of Alan Johnson maintains the excellent standards already set by this sixth series and also gives another opportunity to see the always-excellent Paterson Joseph in full flow. His Alan Johnson lends the series a fabulous, balls-to-the-wall matriarch for Mark to contend with, so keen is he to prove to his idol that he is made of the right stuff. Except he’s not. No-one can be.
For Alan Johnson is a complete nut job, the kind of stereotypical manager-type you meet on one of the god-awful training days work sends you on to ‘boost morale’ and ‘maintain high productivity’. Johnson is every worker’s worst nightmare. Mark looks up to him, of course, because he represents a father figure he so longs for, plus Johnson regularly includes him in his big plans. Mark feels wanted; Johnson has his work bitch. A workplace marriage made in heaven.
This latest encounter sees Mark visiting Johnson in his ‘recession residence’ as Alan’s post-JLB plans are laid out. Johnson wants to start up a consultancy – Consultio/ Consultius (“We’ve got both bases covered.”) – and wants £2,000 from Mark to help start it up. Being a bit wet, Mark doesn’t back down. This is the first of this episode’s plotlines and ends with Johnson’s fantastic twos-up to Mark in the Mexican restaurant Mark finds himself working in, plus leaves him two grand out of pocket. How will he pay for any boiler repairs now?
The secondary plotline is Jeremy’s relationship with Elena, now revealed to be an affair. Elena, it turns out, is already in a long-term relationship with another woman who, as Elena is at pains to work out, is a member of Mensa (“She reads books, for fun.”). This provides the show with its key comedic arc and ends with a half-naked Jeremy stuck on Elena’s balcony and then having to crawl past Elena’s bed in a bid not to be found.
In the obligatory Peep Show fashion, both plotlines meet in the episode’s final minute with Johnson landing one in Jeremy’s gut, thinking that he’s having it away with the lovely Big Suze again. As Mark points out, “He got it for the wrong reason but overall, probably fair dos.”
Two tightly woven plots and the usual smattering of high quality one-liners later and you, once again, have just spent half an hour with one of television’s finest comedies.
Now on to the final two episodes, with Mark and Sophie’s baby and Jeremy and Elena’s relationship issues to still be resolved. And what will happen with Dobby? Plenty of things for the writers to get their teeth into there.
Quotes of the episode:
Mark Corrigan: “Great. I’m the man who knew too much. Thanks, ears.”
Mark: “If I’m a Bran Flake then he’s a slutty Sugar Puff.”
Mark: “Rich Mark could give to poor Mark. I could be the Zorro of myself.”
Alan: “Print, you damnable fudger.”
Read our review of episode 3 here.