27 February 2015

TV: Cucumber/Banana/Tofu vi

reviews by Tom Newsom (Twitter | Flickr | Blog)

I watched this a couple of hours ago, and I’m still shaken by it. It’s a beautiful episode, hardly a tough watch in that regard, but god, it stays with you.

Look, just watch it. If you haven’t already - you don’t even need to see the rest of the series really, it’s pretty stand-alone. And in the context of the rest of the series, this seems to be the big one. So, give it a watch - you won’t regret it.

I’m going to be very vague, even though I don’t need to be. Because the set-up before the opening titles lets us in on its secret just enough to set the tone of what’s to come: poignant, tense, often quite dangerous, true.

I’m amazed that this episode was conceived alongside the others. The bouncy comedy that made up some of the previous episodes was written with this in mind, it was acted and shot and edited too. Though of course, this still has the same bounce. The humour becomes black humour, thanks to that dangerous mood lingering over it all.

God. Leaving aside the perfect, inventive acting (Cyril Nri in particular) and everything else, this is the sort of episode that is defined by its writing. If somebody only recounted the plot, it would miss every point there is (and probably turn some of it into issues that aren’t there). This is impeccably handled. What sets it above is the investment we’ve had in the last five weeks (not knowing a thing - consciously!), plus the investment put in to this episode when recalling somebody’s life history in fifty minutes. And then, dramatic scenes, layers and layers of it. And an ending that will shake you and make you cry.

This is a must-see. And afterwards, read this incredible online interview with Russell T Davies.

This week’s Banana is cannily placed, offering a breezy antidote to what’s just happened on the other channel, but with a darker side that fits with the parent show. The link this week appears more tenuous - I don’t think these characters are even in it, at least not this week - but the theme of sudden death comes up over and over.

Because the main character here has anxiety and OCD (at least, that was my interpretation). After six episodes I’m realising that this is, happily, a character based show rather than relying on plot. Last week’s was blissful even when nothing particularly was happening - this episode feels the same. What’s more it’s striving to put people centre stage that don’t normally get focussed on, like most ‘teen’ dramas really.

Amy (played and written by rapidly rising star Charlie Covell) has a date with Kay (a policewoman with few lines but big impact), but is trying to get over her own problems first. It’s quirky rather than mawkish, cute rather than sexy, and the final scene is absolutely lovely.

Tofu luckily doesn’t fit with the theme here. Although there’s some talk of the episode of Cucumber above - you’d be hard pressed to escape it.

This is the episode that felt more like a behind-the-scenes (mostly cast interviews and a lot of clips of the other two series, admittedly well chosen). Which is fine, but this one goes for the widespread general question of: ‘what’s it like filming sex scenes?’. As well as watching and writing - hey, it’s Russell, hooray!

There’s also clips and discussion of Queer as Folk - not massively, but tying all the series together.

many thanks to
Tom Newsom (Twitter | Flickr | Blog)

No comments:

Post a Comment