Rev.: Series 2, Episode 2

Don’t look at me like that. I know it’s not my finest hour.

Ooh, the tricky second episode of the second series. I love Rev. I love everyone in it. I love the pace and the feel of it. I love Tom Hollander – I’ve made that very clear – but I’d be equally happy to settle down with Miles Jupp or Olivia Coleman, were they willing. So it pains me to say that I thought this episode was contrived. An implausibly bright young curate was brought in to assist Adam, and he went from being pleased to uncharacteristically rude and jealous within the space of a couple of scenes. It felt odd to see such clunkiness in Rev., which usually manages that rare thing in telly: ambiguity and naturalness. The curate, played by Amanda Hale (who did well with an underwritten part), was just a cipher: a character too perfect to be real. From the get-go it was clear she was only going to be in the show for one episode as she wasn’t given enough substance to keep a decent plot going. Her wafer-thin persona, and the about-faces of Adam (from keen to conflicted), and Nigel (from suspicious to fanboy), were all sitcom-by-numbers. Which is a crying shame; we like Rev. cause it’s not like that.

Even worse was the excruciating Ecstasy storyline (or as it presumably said in the script, ‘Enter Colin, carrying the B-plot’). This seemed bizarrely out-of-date. Haven’t we done to death the device of someone accidentally taking E and then being all loved-up? It felt very tired to me, though I could completely believe that Colin would be a big MDMA fan. In fact I must just stop carping for a moment to commend Steve Evets, as he’s taken what could be – and initially was – a stereotyped character, and turned him into something nuanced and touching. Which is more than can be said for Tom’s drugged-up performance. Ham Central is the phrase which, despite being new, nonetheless springs to mind. When he joined in the children’s performance as a leper I cringed with embarrassment, and not in a good The Office way. It was like something out of Terry & June.

It says a lot for the warmth generated by this programme that it was still watchable, and there was, thank you Lord, a properly good bit right at the end: a small still voice of calm after the sturm und drang of Adam in the grip of a poorly-written conflict. When Colin was baptised in a simple ceremony at the font, just Adam and Alex present, and he raised his head with a beatific smile to reveal he was wearing a smart shirt and tie, it was lovely. Please, I prayed, please don’t make him say anything silly or glib. This is a perfect little Rev. moment so please God, don’t let them mess it up. And they didn’t. They let it be what it was, and it brought a tear to my atheist Jew eye. Clearly someone up there (at the BBC Control Centre of course, what did you think I meant?) heard me.

Posted by Qwerty

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Rev.

One response to “Rev.: Series 2, Episode 2

  1. You’re right about this one, Qwerty – not the finest episode of Rev. What did you think of this week’s (the atheist teacher and the five-a-side inter-faith football match)? I particularly loved Alex and the vicars’ wives partying until 3am to Tinie Tempah, and Colin’s new-found Buddhist leanings being tested by supporting St Saviours in the match (I had a quid on him coming on and being brilliant to save the day, but they thankfully avoided that). Loved the Arch-Deacon refereeing too (“Don’t expect any favouritism, Adam – for today, my Bible is the FA code of conduct”).

    However, I do feel I’ve seen enough of Adam being jealous of people who are better at things than he is. It feels too trad sit-com, as you said above. I’d have preferred it if Adam’s unease came from a mix of the reasonable (the teacher’s atheism in a C of E school) and the unreasonable (jealousy that he was going out with the headmistress that Adam fancies), rather than being so clearly sign-posted as simple jealousy.

    Adam is basically a good man at heart, and I felt that this was the second time recently that we’d seen him being petty and mean without appearing to struggle with it. I think the difficulty of being human while seeking for the divine (whether that’s a traditional religion or just being a better person) is what Rev does so well, and we haven’t seen enough of that this series.

    That said, the final scene at the assembly (trying not to give away the plot!) was very moving, and the kind of thing that Rev does brilliantly. B- from me.

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