20 February 2015

TV: Banana v

Conversely to our other reviewer, Tom Newsom, I felt curiously unmoved by this week's episode of Banana despite it theoretically being more relatable for me. Law student Josh (Luke Newberry) returns home from Manchester to the sleepy countryside where he grew up for his oldest friend Sophie's wedding, but when he meets the groom, he's less than thrilled. Both of these two central characters are only eighteen, so it does seem a little soon for two especially hedonistic characters to want to settle down. 

Despite what Sophie thinks, there is a lot of evidence, even in this episode, that she is impulsive. To name just two instances, she hired the car at Josh's expense without asking, and she doesn't want to get married just as quickly as she did want to get married.

Josh and Sophie never really seemed to hook me in. Their relationship is appreciable and engaging enough, but there's nothing that really excites me, including the arguments. Don't get me wrong, I can still tell it's quality drama, I just wasn't noticeably moved by it. After the high drama of Cucumber, coming to this breezy, sun-filled episode jars a little. One of the themes of the two series is that love is everywhere, and it's nice to have a break from the usual rough structure to show its extent, and how it's not always experienced in a romantic sense.

One of the strengths of Russell T Davies' writing is that actions have consequences. This episode of Banana is pretty carefree, and so goes against the series' tone a little. However, I can appreciate the strength of the writing. Matthew Barry, fresh from helming the Death in Paradise finale, skips channels and genres without too many hiccups. I like that none of the five episodes so far have put a definite end on their stories. Josh and Sophie's is left more ambiguous than most though, as they sit in a lay-by, eating burgers. Rather than the all-encompassing pool of emotion the closing seconds usually dive into, we end on a single, admittedly amusing, line from Josh.

I can't put my finger on what it was that didn't work for me about this episode. Luke Snellin shot the whole thing in a lovely light,  one that Barry Shitpeas would probably label 'Instagrammy'. Ben Foster's music again strikes a chord, punctuating the action perfectly. There's undoubted quality being piled into this series, it just seems that this episode dropped the ball momentarily for me. Still one of the best things on telly at the moment though.

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