With one episode to go this is a good point to give a more general overview of how good this current series of one of Channel 4’s finest output has been. In a word: brilliant.
Whether it’s the best series yet is debatable. My personal favourite is series four as this was the first time signs of genuine affection were apparent between Mark and Jeremy. It also featured the burgeoning relationship between Mark and Sophie, so long the object of his affections, and the return of American nymph Nancy. Throw in a truly excellent wedding, accusations of defecating in a swimming pool and the burning of a dog (that episode featuring a surprisingly passable performance from Katy Brand) and you have Peep Show gold.
Has this series managed to hit those giddy heights? Not quite, although the writing has been some of the tightest I’ve ever witnessed on the show. The confidence of Armstrong and Bain has shown throughout this latest series and a complete understanding of where they want their characters to go has proven this year’s biggest plus point, as has an understanding of what the audience wants.
Take this week’s house party plotline. Seeing Mark in exactly the kind of situation that makes him squirm was always going to make for big laughs and so it proved as he chastised some party-crashers, became visibly rocked by an unwelcome sight in his toilet and made a final, drugged up play for Dobby. That didn’t end too well as Super-Hans’ snake got the rough end of the stick.
I’ve long wondered how Jez and Mark might have acted at university and I suppose this episode gave a slight insight into that with Jez naturally attempting to be the life and soul, but basically failing in his pulling attempts.
Having played hard to get with Elena throughout the episode, he finally got his woman back on board, only to be trumped by lesbian lover Gail. That sets things up nicely for next week with a wedding on the cards and only Jeremy’s lust standing in the way.
Mark, all the while, was more concerned about more grown-up things like his upholstery and how well his shop-bought lasagne would go down with the punters. Quite well, as it turned out.
Elsewhere in the episode was a fantastic cameo from Mark’s long-time rival Jeff, an oddly subdued one from Big Suze and that great reappearance from Super-Hans. Matt King is a fine, fine actor and his brief turns in this series have only furthered his standing in my eyes.
No party invite for Johnson, although not surprising following last week’s punch and run exit, and none for Sophie. She did turn up, though, with father in tow, demanding to know Mark’s plans for the baby. Obviously, this had to be brought back into play for next week’s final episode in which, one assumes, everything is going to be wrapped up, neatly or otherwise.
Will Jez get his girl? What will he do with Gail? Will it all end in a big sex-fuelled argument and make-up? Jez probably hopes so.
Will Mark do the honourable thing and stick by Sophie? Will he run away from it all and start a new, exciting life with Dobby? Or is he destined to live the same soul-destroying existence he has been since we’ve known him?
All will be revealed next week.
Read our review of episode 4 here.