Here we have a distinct improvement, even if the start suggests it will just be more of the same. Within the first 2 minutes Rae declares “lust has taken over” as if it’s supposed to be some kind of surprise. I am pretty sure her hormones have been the basis for most of the story from the first 30 seconds of episode 1.
A discussion with Tix about how Finn may or may not be shallow is answered when they spot him in the hospital visiting his Nan. Apparently this confirms he’s not shallow. He can’t possibly just be one of those weird people that love their families. Still, always nice to see people show a caring and compassionate side. Oh, and seeing this causes Rae to realise she’s in love. Aw.
It took 4 episodes, but there’s finally a look into how Rae’s Mum could be partially responsible for her stint in the hospital. She’s installed a pull up bar in her daughter’s doorway. Eliminates privacy but could potentially give Karim some desirable biceps. This leads into a little detail about her father. He buggered off and then sent a nice postcard now and again.
An improvement in story development also calls for a new Rae. Dr Gill is informed of the relief that was felt after telling Chloe the truth and that she is possibly in love. Not one to follow tradition and just hope he notices, Rae needs a ‘Manifesto of Honesty’. It is as follows:
1. Tell Finn I kinda, sorta love him
2. Tell Chloe everything that happened
3. Tell everyone I was ill
She doesn’t tick off number one when he hugs her while shirtless and there’s rarely going to be a better opportunity than that.
Another insight into some bad parenting: Rae’s Mum is fleeing to Tunisia for a few days with Karim. It seems there’s been a tip off about him not being in England legally. If this kind of disregard towards her daughter’s safety was shown before the “biggest screw up in the history of screw ups” line, it would have felt a lot more appropriate and less like an unnecessary insult. Anyway, in an attempt to fool herself she’s still doing right by her child, she leaves an important instruction- no parties.
Though it occurs quite far in, the cliffhanger regarding how Chloe feels about Rae’s honesty is addressed. She’s understanding and is ready to listen, allowing for the second item on Rae’s manifesto to be sorted. Hurrah! It does seem rather anti climactic given that there was a hint that her happy(ish) life could be over, but at least it’s realistic.
Now time to welcome a tried and tested comedy element- the Friend Zone. An explanation of it is always good for a laugh, must be why so many comedy shows use it. Danny (everyone remembers him, don’t they? Well, he wears 2 hats) has to explain the premise to a very confused Rae and informs her that no hugging is allowed and she has to serve a fresh helping of cold shoulder.
However, there is an issue. She follows the advice. Nobody likes being shunned and seeing it happen is somehow annoying and infuriating.
Post is stamped where it’s sent from, not where it’s sent to. Everyone knows that, right? Well, Rae didn’t. We learn this after a discussion about the stamp on a love letter sent to Finn. This means her Mum has been lying to her…and not just for fun. Her Dad hasn’t been sending postcards after all.
How’s a teenager to get back at a lying parent? Easy, break their rules. So, when Chop suggests a ‘sexy party’ (basically a sleepover), it inevitably happens. But they turn up early and she has an appointment with Dr Gill. Time to carry out number three on her manifesto? Nah, Chloe covers for her and says she’s going to get more booze.
Two things happen at the hospital. Danny pretty much invites himself to the party and Dr Gill refuses to open up about problems he’s having at home. Why should Rae be more honest if the person telling her to open up won’t take his own advice?
The ‘intimate gathering’ that was promised gets a little out of hand. Danny’s telling everyone he’s Rae’s ex in an attempt to make Finn jealous and strangers are realising they really like alcohol. Things calm down (ever so slightly) when classic party game Spin the Bottle begins. Rae and Finn are paired up and sent to a closet for 1 minute to do ‘anything’. Turns out they just talk. He’s annoyed that she’s been so off with him and, when trying to be honest about her feelings, she manages to say “maybe I don’t wanna be your friend”. If anything ever deserves a slow, sarcastic round of applause, it’s that moment of genius.
Her timing for upsetting Finn couldn’t have been worse as (off-screen) he receives some news he’s not too thrilled about regarding his Nan. On the plus side, it gives a little perspective and Rae’s previous comment doesn’t bother him too much. All is good between them. That’s nice.
Rae makes the final decision not to tell everyone about what she was doing for 4 months, failing to fulfill her manifesto. She’s basically Nick Clegg.
Big revelation to be explored next week- Chloe sent the love letter. Also, Rae’s Mum is back from Tunisia with (now husband) Karim and has some postcard related explaining to do.
The standout moment from the episode was about Archie, but wasn’t a major plot point. At one point he was worried he may not have a sexuality, after kissing a guy he liked and feeling nothing. But after kissing someone else during the game of Spin the Bottle he realised he’s definitely gay. And he’s happy about it. Someone on TV having this perspective on their sexuality is incredibly refreshing and a joy to see. It’s made even nicer by the fact that they gave him more screen time at all. For a series based around one person’s life, it’s good to see someone else’s issues being addressed.
Crude imagery wasn’t as prominent in this episode and that was definitely an improvement. It gave the story more opportunity to develop and allowed for more flow between scenes.
A remaining issue is the ridiculously shouty narration. It’s safe to assume most viewers have working ears that don’t need to be abused. Still, if it continues to improve maybe the finale will be a televisual triumph.