21 June 2015

TV: The Game - Episode Five

And so, the game, it would seem, is up. I half-heartedly commented last time that Alan and Sarah could be traitors. To be honest I didn't believe either of them would be, let alone both. The discovery of Alan and the very last scene of the episode pose so many more questions now. I felt sure that the cliffhanger from this episode to the next would be the reveal of a mole. After one deception, it turns out I was right after all.

There's no doubt in my mind that this is an excellent episode. Sarah Dollard and Toby Whithouse complement each other very well as writers, with the latter tempering the former back to the style of the series. I was pleased to see Jim get much more to do this week, and hope that continues into the series finale. The writing of all the main cast was excellent, and the way MI6 agent Kate Wilkinson was used by Joe to dig out the traitor seemed faithful to his character and provided an interesting dynamic between her, Jim and Joe.

One thing I'm sure of is that there are definitely a lot more revelations to come in the last episode. For one thing, the others don't yet know of Sarah's true allegiances. We don't even know if Alan knows, or if she knew about him. I'm inclined to think they are doing it together, fighting for what they believe will bring about a better world. Sarah's talk of waiting to have children because she doesn't want them brought up in the world of 1974 rang particularly true and even fits with the later admission. Something we've been teased for all season is Joe's showdown with Odin, and I personally can't wait for that. We've seen him murder criminals with far less of a personal connection so I can only imagine what he would want to do if they met again. The little vignettes back to Joe's old life have been touching and help to make him a three-dimensional character, and only help to build up the tragedy of the very first scene of the series.

It's an immensely strong cast that front this series. Tom Hughes holds the show up admirably, but the rest of the protagonists (plus Marcel Iures as Arkady) have been impressing right from the off. Watch Jonathan Aris through this episode, for example. Not once does his performance falter. He is Alan by this stage. The same could be said of Paul Ritter, or Brian Cox, or Victoria Hamilton, or Shaun Dooley, or Chloe Pirrie, who is particularly phenomenal as Wendy in this episode. I feel sure we'll be seeing more of her in the future. But it's a credit to the crew that they managed to assemble such an accomplished bunch to front the show they've worked so hard on. And it pays off, because by this stage, The Game's high quality is surely unquestionable.

All in all this is gripping stuff once again. It looks beautiful thanks to Daniel O'Hara and Urszula Pontikos' strong work and I liked the approach the former took to direction of the piece once again. It feels quite unique and sets it apart from a lot of modern television. The fact that the three creative forces behind this episode (Whithouse, O'Hara and Dollard) are all working on the upcoming series of Doctor Who is something I find very exciting based on my experience of their past work, and this episode only serves to reinforce that. Excellent television. I can't wait for the next episode, but I really don't want it to be over.

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