Clearly the script-writers, like the rest of us, could take no more of Jude. With brutal speed they dispatched him to roam America, sans Pip. Go West, young man. No, a bit further than Penny Hassett. If only he could have taken Brenda and Helen with him, my cup would have runneth over. Just imagine the three of them in a Thunderbird convertible, barrelling along the Big Sur Highway. They could fuel the car on whinge-gas alone.
Hey Jude, you let me down...
The departure of Jude and his irritating text-speak was an occasion of great delight for everyone, particularly me, David and Ruth. Everyone, in fact, except poor old Pip, who has lost her Fizz. Her wailing reminded me very strongly of being dumped myself, at seventeen – even though surely I must have been quite pulchritudinous and fascinating – by an older man. Well, he was eighteen but he’d been to Belgium, so he seemed very worldly. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? No, I don’t mean to Belgium.
I thought Ruth did a fair job of comforting Pip, at least until she started banging on about college again. I’m learning a lot of parenting techniques from Ruth, though I’m mainly filing them in the ‘how not to do it’ section. I also learned a lot from David, who, when confronted with his post-Jude daughter, decided to focus entirely on a cow he was grooming. Grooming as in brushing it and tying ribbons on its tail, rather than preparing it for an illegal relationship. At least, I think so. Their skirting-around conversation about forelocks and rosettes was meant to be a metaphor for everything being okay between the two of them, but it just made them seem completely suppressed and weird. Which is accurate enough, on reflection.
And cut! Grandma, can you tell us how you did that pattern on the top? Wake up, Grandma.
Everyone’s got their favourite. I’ve got loads. My most recent is from just the other day. It’s the one where Josh films Jill making steak and kidney pie. He might just as well have painted a wall and set the camera to record it for fifteen minutes. If I tell you that the only vaguely interesting thing that happened was Kenton referring to the pie as ‘snake and pygmy’, it’ll give you some idea.
Boring episodes of the Archers. Lord knows, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from. All which feature the flower and produce show, for instance; and there’s so many of those, is it any wonder that Bert Fry has taken to phoning in his surprise at being awarded a rosette for the biggest marrow? All which centre around harvest festival, Easter or other Anglican red-letter day, and their counterpart, any based round a service in St Stephens, can be added to the teetering mound of mundanity. And naturally, any one in which Tom reveals that his sausages are organic. The presence of Tom alone counteracts any other possible excitement. He neutralises heists, earthquakes and Lilian’s giggle at a stroke.
Fanoflinda recalls fondly a particularly soporific episode in which Phil (god rest his soul) and Jill were showing holiday snaps. ‘Look at Jill in that hat!’ the poor actors were forced to cry. You could hear the sounds of their careers being flushed down the toilet – or you would have, if the flushing loo sound effect hadn’t been deemed too interesting.
Damages is taking a risk in season three, seemingly hinging its action around Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), who has not been the brightest light in the Damages starry array. Tommy is certainly the fulcrum around which episode two pivots.
The key moment is actually a great use of silence and stillness – set between rapid scenes where the dialogue never lets up for a second – as Tommy gazes shocked at a mystery file handed to him by a fellow Hewes associate. The moment seems to last forever as he stares into the abyss.
Turns out that he has all his stock invested with a broker who then secretly placed that investment in Tobin’s now collapsed ponzi scheme. His family’s future (and his cousins’ and his parents’ and his friends’ – as he angrily tells his wife) is wholly tied up in it. Never heard of a balanced portfolio? For a smart lawyer he sure is dumb.
It shows the power of the scene that you empathise fully as you envisage his destroyed future stretching ahead of him – and only then remember, oh yes, he’s going to be found dead in the dumpster in 6 months anyway. Such are the twisty-turny joys of Damages.
The acting coaches must have got to work on Tate Donovan since he now has way more than two facial expressions – somewhere upwards of six I counted in this scene alone. Way to go. By the end of the series he’ll be up to … oh wait. He’ll just have the one.
Patty Hewes for once takes a bit of a back seat in this episode, but provides a diverting subplot romp with soon to be ex-husband Phil. Toying with him mercilessly through the divorce proceedings, which is fun to watch. And even stooping low enough to use their dog’s apparent illness as leverage. Dumb employees and dumb animals, she’ll use anyone to get what she wants. Continue reading
That great old Beatles song could have been written about young Pip Archer, Lolita of this parish. Not only will she be seventeen in a matter of days, as she keeps bloody reminding us (all RIGHT Pip, we’ll get you a present, do stop going on), but, as Paul McCartney sang, ‘The way she looks, is way beyond compare’. Ever since Pip gave herself a makeover, we’ve been treated to parental shock and outrage, as David rummages in the cliché box and comes up with, ‘You’re not going out looking like THAT’ and ‘Is that a skirt or a belt?’
We’ve also had running commentaries from seemingly unconnected bystanders regarding the merits of Pip wearing shorts with tights, which have gone on so long and so favourably, the whole storyline must surely have been sponsored by the, er, shorts and tights industry.
Anyway, Continue reading