Ah. After a half-decent start, each episode has contrived to become progressive worse than the last, to the point that I can now see exactly why it received the lukewarm reception that it did. This one committed the cardinal sin of being dull, as it fails to create any sense of real peril, or credible stakes. I didn’t understand why the whole thing was centred around Tanya – sure she’s been through some shit, but the story seemed to imply that she was the saddest girl in the world, which I don’t buy.
Tanya is still a likeable character, and is perhaps the best acted of the main four kids. She’s not the only one with daddy issues; April’s is an alcoholic folk singer who tried to kill her and her mum, which serves as backstory to explain some of her quirky behaviour, although she’s not actually massively quirky. Everyone else has their encounters with dead loved ones too, and at this stage the previously commendable emphasis on character development starts to feel a little scattergun, and it lacks focus.
There are lots of attempts to sound deep and meaningful, but it’s all very adolescent – I know that’s the audience of the show, but I’m pretty sure I’d have found the dialogue shallow and patronising when I was that age. The worst offenders were Charlie and his Eastern European boyfriend – who’s suddenly back again having not turned up last time – who shacked up in bed to have tedious conversations about love while all the vaguely interesting stuff was happening to other people.
I say “vaguely interesting”. I was intrigued by the baddy at first, as it reminded me a little bit of the Zygons’ recent tactic of disguising themselves as people’s loved ones. There was also the element of them needing consent from their victims in order to do anything, which was also the deal with the Monks in Moffat’s last series. But there wasn’t much to it beyond that – there’s only so many times you can try and trick someone into touching you before it becomes a bit tedious.
And so Miss Quill decides to bring the plot to an abrupt end by just driving a bus into it. Because fuck it, that’ll do. The series is definitely veering into comical territory now, which is at least better than boring.