Moss is mad and he’s not going to take it anymore. He’s had enough of living by society’s rules and now it’s time for him to break out! And Roy’s going with him, to avoid a leaving party. There are two bombshells in store, one metaphorical as Jen has to cover up for our zero heroes, and another quite literal one.
This episode opens up with a predictable but effective visual setpiece where Moss is gangsta’d up and telling it straight to the kids, recounting how he ended up on his downward spiral into petty crime. It’s hard not to chuckle as Richard Ayoade plays it tough yet somehow ineffectual.
When we’re into the episode proper though, it all goes into autopilot. There’s some nice banter between Roy and Jen as they place a bet on whether or not Roy could go without saying “turn it off and on again”, a catchphrase that was apparently killed off in series two. There’s also some good visual gags too, and some twists, and, and, and…
There’s no shortage of ideas and threads in this episode, but it works against itself by never really bringing any of them to fruition. For what is the third week in a row, one of the gang find a romantic interest. Surprisingly, it’s Moss’s turn this week, but we’re spared yet another montage sequence. Or indeed any actual development in that area.
The childlike natures of Roy and Moss are the focus here. Well, I say childlike, but they act more like directionless teenagers, hanging around a shopping centre for something to do. Ayoade again gets the right balance of giddy over-excitable manchild while O’Dowd just generally acts too-cool-for-school (By school I of course mean work).
The path leading up to the denouement though is labelled “highly contrived”. Things happen for their own sake and the pay-off for each story thread isn’t so much signposted as sent by special delivery the day before. There’s nothing really bad about them – it’s all just so predictable.
Just like last week, I find myself saying that this is an episode for the fans, who will no doubt enjoy it.
Even the credits at the end seem to be a half-hearted shrug, telling and not showing us what happened and admitting the party thread doesn’t go anywhere. And when the show itself knows it’s not delivering, that’s not a good sign.
Read Jake’s take on episode 4 here.