The Thick Of It series 3 episode 7 review

The penultimate episode of The Thick Of It throws up some challenges for Malcolm Tucker...

These are tricky times for Malcolm Tucker. The spinner-in-chief is trying to keep up appearances that a dying government still has a bit of life left in it, while the party itself is trying to manoeuvre him out of the back door. He’s had an (implausible) emotional outpouring of sorts to Terri, and now he’s got a (much more plausible) nemesis in the form of Lego policeman Steve Fleming to contend with. 

After the uncertain footing of last week’s mixed bag of an episode, it’s great to see the show broadly back on form, especially as it is doing something new, namely, steering Malcolm into the full limelight of the show, after years of being the savage shark who only ever swam in halfway through the episode to attack incompetent politicos.

From the opening of the episode with Malcolm at home and in casual wear, it was clear that something wasn’t quite right, particularly before it became clear that he was wooing journalists and not spending time with some surely non-existent friends (also a good cue for the line of the episode: “I know these are hard times for print journalists. I read that on the internet.”)

But it was the emergence of Fleming, and the return of the blue skies windbag Julius Nicholson, who provided a real sign that something was afoot. Briefly, we had a wonderful return to a world of two Malcolms (sorely missed since Jamie left), as Fleming and Malcolm briefly united forces to pick on Nicola (“Oh Jesus, am I getting gang bollocked?”)

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That, however, proved to be only a brief distraction before Malcolm’s seemingly incompetent nemeses found a way to bring him down. It was startling to watch. Malcolm has survived far more fearsome opponents, and as has been pointed out, it’s pretty much just him and cockroaches that will always survive. But, with one week to go, he’s been shown the door.

In the ministry itself, minister Nicola Murray was busy being starstruck by getting Andy Murray involved in a health campaign. Even at its most workaday, it’s interesting to think that next week may be the last we see of the current DoSac line-up before an election. Sure, civil servant Terri may still be kicking around (“You like bath salts, you’re basically an idiot.”), but what of Glen and Ollie?

And perhaps more important given this week’s events, what now for Tucker? His Arnie-esque exit cry of “You will fucking see me again” is utterly plausible, but on which side? If the Opposition are going to take power next series, is there any chance that he might appear in their ranks? There’s one week left, and it’s difficult to call what direction they are going to course for future episodes. Which, on previous form, is when the show is at its best.

Read our review of episode 6 here.