27 February 2015

TV: Banana vi

Charlie Covell returns to script her second episode of the series, and also stars as the main protagonist, Amy. Right from the off, we're shown everything we need to know about her. She's performed extremely well by Covell, and it's clear that the writer knows her character inside out, adding little tics to the performance. I really liked the way this was subtly package as a day in the life for Amy as she bounces from home to work to dinner, all the while scared stiff that everyone she sees will drop dead if she doesn't do all she can.

After a few minutes' adjustment, I found Covell to be really quite endearing in the role. This is half an hour of character drama with one of the most likeable characters Banana has presented us with. We've all had the moment where we clam up or gabble at the worst possible moment, and Amy gets for an entire evening when she goes on a date with policewoman Kay. Really, Kay is quite peripheral to the whole thing, which is more concerned with showing us that there's someone out there for everyone.

The entire episode is shot beautifully by Al Mackay, yet another director Banana has introduced me to. From his previous work (largely as a location manager) it seems something of a gamble was taken on him by executive producer Nicola Shindler (who I don't praise nearly enough!) and co. It totally paid off me, and indicates that he should have a bright future in this field. The images broadcast were particularly photogenic, but his command of actors clearly isn't slack either. The moment in the last scene where the buildings around our two leads light up was electric. In the preceding moments, that's exactly what I was imagining I would do. It's a rare occasion when I actually second guess what's coming next, so this was quite pleasing.

Although there wasn't any tangible jeopardy in this episode was as with, for example, Bethany Black's a couple of weeks ago, the will she/won't she of the date (and following it) is made into more than enough of an event. TV focuses on the small moments that mean so much to the individual, making this series especially refreshing. Something of a recurrent theme creator Russell T Davies likes using is asking how bad things can get. Most recently, this has been 'how badly wrong can a date go?'. For Cucumber lead Lance, episodes one and six of the parent show have answered that, one ending with his arrest, and the other with his murder, briefly mentioned here. It's nice to see Amy appear to completely mess things up, only to still get the girl in contrast to the expectation created by Davies.

This is one of the stronger episodes of the series, which is saying something. Covell writes economically and succinctly, but still manages to convey wholesome characters and situations. The closing moment is one of joy and adrenaline in the best sense. The feeling that anything could happen next is positively tangible, and accompanied by a typically pacey and appropriate soundtrack from Ben Foster, it's hard not to be moved. If only we could all have nights like this. Standout drama once again from Team Davies; I love it.

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