Yep, looks like Toby Whithouse is back then.
- The episode actually started really low-key, the first 20 minutes at least felt a bit understated. Not in a bad way, just in a treading water kind of way, which was a bit odd really since the cliffhanger supposedly involved whether Mitchell would survive the explosion. OK, so nobody actually doubted
that he would but it was a bit weird that he just popped up with no fuss. Still, I wasn't bored or anything and this show's been going on long enough for me to know that if an episode starts slowly, chances are there's going to be hell to pay by the second half. Which I think it's fair to say is what happened.
- Actually just going back to Toby being on script duty again, my geeky side was pleased they've amended his credit to "Created and Written by Toby Whithouse." It used to be "Written and Created" and, being the sort of person who minds these things, it always annoyed me that the two credits were in the wrong chronological order. I wonder if it bugged Toby as well, and he got them to change it (a bit like David Tennant asking for his Doctor Who
credit to be changed from "Doctor Who" to the more accurate "The Doctor.")
- So Nina's back, and that's rather underplayed as well, although again not in a bad way; it feels like what would happen when those characters met again, it wouldn't all be fireworks.
- As has been obvious for a while, Nina would be the link between George/Annie and CenSSA (Mitchell already had his link of course, more on whom later) and that's where the story goes up a notch as Kemp finally meets them. Again I thought the reactions were spot-on, George and Annie would
find the whole idea ridiculous until things conspired to make them desperate enough to try.
- On which note, at the end of last series when we first saw Kemp and got hints at a secret organisation, I had visions of the three getting caught and held captive. Instead this series has been all about how events would make it so that two of them at least would voluntarily give themselves up to CenSSA. The development is probably clearest in George: He's tried ignoring the werewolf, embracing it, drugging it, distracting himself with a domestic fantasy, and nothing's worked so it makes sense that he would finally decide to try and destroy it altogether. Considering what Whithouse threw into the mix this week, I can easily believe that if Kemp etc were actually honest
with him now and told him there was a high chance he'd die, he'd consider it a risk worth taking.
- So onto that amazing scene leading up to this. Yes, there's a ridiculous amount of logic holes. Either they changed the clocks on a Monday (which, no,) or parent/teacher evening was on a Sunday (which, no,) and on top of that you have to buy the idea that George doesn't have the full moon calendar down to the tiniest detail like the clocks going back (which, no.) People may disagree but for me this was one of those scenes where the result was actually so good that you can forgive the brain farts in the writing. I mean, we have the realisation that George is about to transform right in the middle of a school, and then the execution of the scene itself is spot-on. Russell's acting is better than ever here but equal kudos to all the filming crew who obviously used their experience of past transformation scenes to come up with the best one yet. And the shaky-cam straight onto Russell's transforming face not only ramps up the tension but makes it look different from any transformation scene we've had before.
- Annie's motivation for going to Kemp is a bit less tangible, but then so is Annie (ba-dum-tish.) Basically Herrick was right, although maybe not in the way he thought, about George and Mitchell being what keeps her on this plane. With those two increasingly distancing themselves from her, she's losing what makes her want to stay here. Taking it in those terms makes it easier to handle her going so quickly from avoiding The Men With Sticks And Rope to seeking them out, but it's still a bit of an about-turn.
- And then there's Mitchell. I think this was the only way he could go, as has been mentioned before he's a classic recovering addict with an all-or-nothing approach, when he falls off the wagon he really
falls. I still wouldn't have predicted quite how far he would go, although pairing up with a grieving Daisy explains it somewhat. What I do hope for next week is that we're not expected to buy a full-on Mitchell redemption, rather that he'll have to earn it in the third series. Given how early S3 was announced, it seems likely to me that it was always more or less a given, and that S2 may end on a cliffhanger, possibly involving Mitchell's change of character.
- The scene on the train was a nice switch; I can't be the only one who thought the werewolf had got to the train and would be going on a killing spree. It was dark so I figured time had passed, but maybe they were in a tunnel. In any case I think it was deliberate misdirection to make you think you were still with the werewolf story. I mean, George killing people would be devastating, but he's not in control at the time. Mitchell is still Mitchell. And the aftermath scene was brutal, but great work from everyone involved, right down to details like the music still coming out of the headphones.
- The scene of Mitchell turning on his friends and just about managing to hold off enough to warn them away was of course excellent.
- George planting the name "Jaggat" twice was a bit signposted but sometimes it's nice to know something like that's coming and enjoy the buildup to Sarcastic Vicar letting slip the name Lucy Jaggat and obviously sending Mitchell off after her. We didn't actually see much of Lucy this week but I felt this helped with the overall feel of her full identity being just out of Mitchell's grasp.
- Speaking of Sarcastic Vicar, I know when some promo photos came out a few people wondered if the stubble meant the character had had a traumatic time. I saw Michael Begley in If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet
at the Bush Theatre at probably about the time Block 3 was being shot, and he played a dishevelled professor in that, so it's a bit of a prosaic explanation really. I imagine they had to rush him to Bristol and back on a Sunday to do that scene which probably explains why he was only in it so briefly as well.
- Finally, now I know I'm never exactly repulsed
by Russell Tovey but I think I was more attracted to him this episode than I have been all series. I think there were maybe some particularly good shots of his eyes, or the fact that he looks a bit more muscular, or the waking-up-in-a-cage scene where he seemed to be even less worried than usual about any not-very-Jewish parts of his anatomy being visible on screen. Obviously, this is not
a scene I'll be revisiting with the pause button, how dare you.
- So far this series, odd-numbered episodes have been a bit disappointing for me, while the even-numbered ones have been stronger. Episode 7 definitely bucks this trend - let's hope it's the only one that does, and that 8 proves a fitting conclusion to the second series.
That's all very well, but what did you think?
Exorcist: This is why I love this show
Exceedingly good cakes: Good but could be better
Exocet: Not sure I like it
Ex-Lax: Painful to watch
Excuse me, has anybody got a bottle of orange juice please?