23 January 2015

TV: Benidorm 7.4

After the dip in quality last week, this fourth episode of seven showed something of a return to form. It's a prerequisite of the format that each episode deals with the fallout of the last, but here it was even more apparent than normal.

The main plots dealt with in this episode concerned Joyce and Liam, but Clive and the gang, The Oracle and Glynn and Jacqueline all got their fair share too. The most directorial emphasis was placed on the arrival of Liam's mother, hoping to coax him back to Britain with the offer of a good wage and livelihood. I was really pleased he turned it down not because I am especially fond of Liam as a character, but because of the message the show promotes that Noreen - of all people - made explicit. "If you're doing what makes you happy and you're not hurting anyone else," she crowed, "then I don't see the problem." This is a sentiment I personally share and it was really nice to see it written so large. The fact that, independently, Les also declined her offer of £10,000 to get him to convince his son was also a satisfying resolution.

It was revealed tonight that Kenneth had injected Joyce with a rabies vaccine last week, learned via a comical scene in the Chinese restaurant where Liam bought what he thought was botox. Mr Wu was well-pitched in my opinion. That kind of comedy, as opposed to Benidorm's usual vocabulary of sarcasm, misunderstanding and double entendres, can often fall flat on their face, but I thought it toed the line well. It helps that it was the deadpan Kenneth that he was playing off. Before too long, and following a quick visit from the vet, Joyce is soon back on her feet and bouncing off the walls. Some of the most interesting material this episode presented was in placing Mateo as the acting manager, and once again Jake Canuso stands out as the star of the show. Could this perhaps be a foreshadowing of a more permanent line-up destined for Series 8?

The other characters' scenes were enjoyable but passable to be honest. Jacqueline just isn't the same without Donald, and the result of her being better than Glynn at the game wasn't a huge surprise. The developing relationship between Geoff and Terri was, again, interesting enough, but nothing to really get excited about - yet. Clive and Tiger were pretty much just there this week, not given anything notable beyond a few clever quips to occupy them. They're a great pairing, so hopefully they'll get more to do in the second half of the series.

Despite being an enjoyable episode, I can't help but feel there's still something of a hole in the wake of the Garveys' departure. That will be partly remedied next week though by the first appearance of Chantelle, Michael's older sister, in four years. There's sure to be fireworks, so don't miss it!

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