(Series 20, ep. 44 ‘The Family You Choose’ by Johanne McAndrew and Elliot Hope 30.10.18) This week’s in-depth review can be found over at Metro, but before you go here are a few random thoughts.
– That lift dropping gave me the horrors. I have actually been in this situation in the Empire State Building of all places – the lift dropped from the 80-something floor to the 60-something with me, Mr H and Ms H and assorted other tourists inside. As soon as we pressed the panic button for assistance the display changed to floor 2 – probably so we didn’t panic. I panicked anyway, but I’m British so I did it quietly and passive-aggressively (this was mainly directed at the group of French teenagers who thought it might be fun to jump up and down while we waited).
– I’ve also been stuck in a lift very briefly at ITV in London. If I’m going to be stuck in a lift it must be at a prestige location.
– I’m very much enjoying the little bromance between Jason and Xavier. And Jules Robertson has been doing brilliant work with Jason’s character. His comic timing is wonderful.
– Halloween and Frieda were made for each other, really, and today’s outfit was perfect for the occasion while not frightening the patients. And I loved Frieda’s reaction to news of the lift dropping: ‘How exhilarating.’
– It seems that Jac and Fletch isn’t going to happen, which is good news as far as Team Joseph & Jac 4 Eva (i.e. me) is concerned. But my goodness, Rosie Marcel and Alex Walkinshaw are incredible together. That scene where he was talking about a parallel universe, you could almost hear this universe holding its breath for a minute or two. Stunning work.
– The actual lift plummet situation looked far more dramatic on the autumn trailer than it did in the episode, but it was an interesting way to get various story strands spread over more people, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing the consequences in the coming weeks. Possibly Meena will now start to join the dots more about Gaskell and the come-uppance he so richly deserves will be heading his way. Or not.
– Quick plug for the Holby book. It genuinely is almost sold out everywhere and there won’t be any more, so if you’ve been thinking it’s a perfect Christmas gift idea it’s best not to hang around (unless you want a soggy second-hand one from eBay).
I see Roxanna! (Picture: BBC)
(Series 20, ep. 42 ‘Stains’ by Patrick Homes 16.10.18) For this week’s review click over to Metro, but before you go here are a few random thoughts:
– Donna and Zav – is ‘Zonna’ ever going to be a Thing, do you think, or are they just going to continue having these Moments? When he told Alex that she was in her late thirties with two sprogs and she didn’t need the likes of either of them, I think he was speaking more about his own insecurity. Or is he really a twonk?
– Hurrah for Sacha and his clear-sighted assessment of Prof Gaskell, and having the balls to tell him to his face. At least there’s one person at Holby who doesn’t subscribe to the Cult of Gaskell. Sadly Hanssen seems just as far away from learning the truth as ever. What’s it going to take to expose the Prof’s crimes? Or will it go undetected and poor Roxanna will have died in vain? Surely that can’t happen?
– Essie was getting very judgemental about that murderer patient, wasn’t she? Particularly when you remember the rather ugly history of her own grandfather. Then she went and told Hanssen what a genius Gaskell is and completely threw him off the scent. Oh, Essie! Not your finest week.
– When the murderer asked Gaskell to kill him and Gaskell didn’t, it shows that he does have ethics – but in Roxanna’s case ethics were over-ridden by the necessity to keep his trial going, come what may. If I’m being kind I might call him a ‘bigger picture’ kind of guy.
– When Steven was talking confidently about nits to Jac, and Fletch said Steven had never so much as been near him with a nit comb when he was a kid, I thought Steven’s life-changing secret was going to be that he had a secret other family somewhere that Fletch never knew about and he’d spent many years happily examining his children’s heads for lice in a way he’d never done with Fletch.
– An insight into the writer’s thinking: episode writer Patrick Homes (@PatrickHomes) tweeted yesterday ‘Tonight’s episode of #holbycity was written listening to Pixies “Where is My Mind” on an endless loop. It may or may not show…’
(Series 20, ep. 41 ‘The Three Musketeers’ by Joe Ainsworth 9.10.18) For a full review of this episode, head over to Metro. Before you go, a few additional points:
– What a brilliant bit of acting from Marcus Griffiths as Xavier sat in the Linden Cullen Temple of Anguish (AKA the multi-faith room/prayer room/whatever). Holby actors seem to be very good at crying on demand. It must make them very tricky to live with.
– It was a nice outcome to find that Reg didn’t have dementia and wasn’t being beaten up by Alex, but had a treatable condition after all. Maybe he’ll get well enough to become a porter.
– Hanssen is holding himself together well, but Guy Henry is such a superbly subtle actor that you can see the emotion just under the surface. He’s channelling his love for Roxanna into caring for Gaskell, and when and if the story fully comes out about what he’s been up to – well, it’ll be a double blow and I honestly don’t know how Hanssen will start to cope with that.
– There’s definitely chemistry between Donna and Xavier. Is he the kind of man who’d be happy to have a girlfriend with two children, though? He’s always seemed a bit of a player, so we’ll have to see.
– There’s been a mixed reaction to Leah’s pursuit of Serena, and I can see why. If you’re very invested in the Berena relationship then it’s not easy to think of Serena even contemplating anyone else. Quite possibly she’s going to carry on rejecting Leah and be happy with her long-distance love, but it’s interesting to see her being tested. It also made for some very funny scenes, especially when Ric and Serena were inside the office and Leah was outside, fully aware that Serena was listening to everything she was saying.
– Scary Sue needs to be a regular character. Sometimes new people arrive on Holby and it takes a little while to work out who they are as characters. I feel like we already know Sue, thanks to the way the writers have brought her in and Angela Lonsdale’s funny, clever portrayal of her. And of course you can never have too many Sues.
(Series 20, ep. 37 ‘All Lies Lead to the Truth’ by Robert Goldsbrough 11.9.18) This week’s review can be found over at Metro. Before you go, here are some random musings about the episode.
– Is Meena’s new car cursed? She’s had a terrible time ever since she got it, with a miserable birthday followed by a Boxing Birthday (or is it just my house where we have those?) in which she reverses into Serena’s car and later on knocks down a fleeing neurosurgeon. If I was Meena, I’d be getting that car swapped for something a little less haunted, ASAP.
– I thought Roxanna’s spying on Gaskell was really suspenseful. The bit where she was snooping around the wet lab and he was walking along the corridor was scary. I’m still not sure how she got out. Did she find a secret back door? Or had she gone out of the front door before Gaskell turned the corner?
– And then when she revealed to him what she knew and he turned the tables by trying to tell her that she wasn’t well. Will she wake up and manage to tell Hanssen what she knows before Gaskell can go any further? Or is the staff member with the best quiff since Fletch already destined to be a commemorative plaque in the Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery? Continue reading
(Series 20, ep. 36 ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ by Isla Gray 4.9.18) For a full review, please head over to Metro. But first, a few random thoughts.
– I like the way the Gaskell story is warming up. He hasn’t gone full ‘mwah-ha-ha’ at any point, but we can see how he’s focused to the point of being dangerously obsessed. I have no idea where his moral compass is, which is why it was an excellent idea to put the moral compass of the hospital (Hanssen) up against him. But Hanssen’s view of things has been shaken by what happened with Fredrik, and is further complicated by his feelings for Roxanne.
– I have to wonder, did Gaskell bring all his blue luminous objects with him when he arrived, or are they standard-issue NHS items? Perhaps they’re alien artefacts he got when he was Doctor Who, and their strange intense glow is a form of mind-control. This would explain quite a bit about the Prof.
– Hanssen taking frightened patients out onto the hospital’s scenic fire escapes. Not sensible.
– I’ve honestly forgotten what Meena and Nicky fell out about, but I wish they’d sort it out. I do actually feel sorry for Meena. She’s very lonely and adrift. I think Zav probably knows deep down that she really wants more than just no-strings fun, but he was happy to take what she said at face value. I don’t think either of them is going to feel very good about themselves in the morning.
– Abi was back, which was good news for anyone requiring a CT surgeon because they’ve been a bit thin on the ground of late. But even when she’s there, she never seems quite there, if you know what I mean. Luckily we can see from the Autumn trailer that Darwin is going to get considerably busier soon.
(Series 20, ep. 34 ‘All Business’ by Nick Fisher 21.8.18) This week’s proper Holby City review can be found at Metro here. Before you go, I have to talk about Xavier giving Nicky’s bedroom away to Donna to use as a base for her Botox business.
This was puzzling on various levels, but I think I’ve worked it out. There are three bedrooms in that flat – Nicky’s, Meena’s and Frieda’s. As far as we know they haven’t got anyone in to replace Frieda. Remember back in the summer trailer, we saw Frieda asking an unclothed Zav, “What are you doing in my bedroom?”
So my guess is that either Zav meant to say that Donna could use Frieda’s room, or Nicky has moved in to Frieda’s, hence why hers is free to fill with lip fillers and what-have-you.
But there’s still one niggling question, which is why does Xavier have the right to organise who does and doesn’t occupy Meena and Nicky’s flat?
Elsewhere, I’m enjoying Roxanna putting on her sleuthing hat and deciding to get to the bottom of whatever the Prof is up to. And she gets to travel the world at the same time! She’s a smart woman.
And that was an ominous ending, wasn’t it? I’ve already seen next week’s Sacha-centred episode, and I have to tell you it’s absolutely brilliant, with a heart-wrenching performance from Bob Barrett.
(Series 20, ep. 29 ‘The Friend Zone’ by Katie Douglas 17.7.18) This week’s in-depth Holby City review can be found at its new home on Metro. Pop over and give it a look (and peruse all their other lovely TV content while you’re there).
Meanwhile, here’s the episode in bullet points:
– Sacha and Patricia. Would that ever have worked? Are their names too awkward to say in the same sentence? We’ll never know now, because she made it quite clear that she doesn’t view him as boyfriend material. The fool.
– Sacha and Essie, though – they are so lovely together. But are they the kind of lovely couple who are better off being friends, or do we want them to get back together?
– It breaks my heart when the cuddliest man in the hospital needs a cuddle himself. Anyone who wants to join a Cuddle Sacha Squad, we assemble at dawn!
– I seriously want to knock Nicky and Meena’s heads together. They’re both good doctors in their way, but if I was a patient I wouldn’t want to be treated by them.
– Even being faced by a young woman with a life-limiting illness didn’t make them stop and think that life was too short for petty squabbles.
– And you’d have to be desperate to want to get back on Gloomy Gaskell’s team.
– I still can’t decide about Zav. Is he a bit of a sweetheart, as Serena is apparently starting to think, or a bit of a twonk? And are he and Donna heading for a romance do you think? If they are, I suppose we’ll have to refer to them as #Dav, because #Zonna is weird and #Xonna is worse.
HOLBY CITY BEHIND THE SCREEN – Celebrate the NHS and Holby City with the official guide to the show.
HALF A WORLD AWAY – My new novel: love and treachery in Cold War Berlin.