'This is England '86' - Episode 3 Response
So the third episode of 'This is England '86' aired on Tuesday and this week saw Shane Meadows take over the directors chair from Tom Harper. Meadows' episode has moved the characters from bad scenarios, to utterly depressing ones. Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) seems to be on the up having accepted his mother's love life with his boss but for the rest of the gang, things still seem bleak. Lol's (Vicky McClure) affair with Milky (Andrew Shim) has become tired and Lol only seems to be interesting in him for loveless sex.
Woody (Joe Gilgun) is in despair as his 'Lollypop' is slipping through his fingers and there's nothing he can do about it.
But worst of all is for Trev (Danielle Watson) who feels the vicious wrath of Lol's father Mick (Johnny Harris). The final sequence of the episode where he rapes Trev is appalling and deeply upsetting.
And to top it all of, Combo (Stephan Graham) returns covered in cuts and bruises.
Meadows has taking back the grasp of his characters and creation, thus forcing the show back down to it's social reality. The original film is a masterpiece, but it is a cold and sad look on British life and culture in the early 80s. In parts of episode 2, you felt the mood had been slightly lifted with scenes like the hot-tub party, but the third instalment has laid out the tracks for a dark and unforgettable finale.
The talking point of this episode will be the rape scene because it was dramatic and distressing. I found the actual on-screen rape to be fairly tame compared to many TV shows and films, however it was the atmosphere that circled the act making it feel far more brutal than what images meets the eye; the score, the setting and the acting in the last 5 minutes of the show left me feeling briefly hollow.
This episode did have some comedy relief though; the fight with the gang on the football pitch was comic and it was even more funny for those who spotted Chris from 'Skins' as one of the rebel gang members.
For me, this has been the best overall episode of the show story-wise, but I don't think this one had any major standout performances. Woody and Mick were probably the best screen presences this week but nobody really made me reel. Lol is still the star of the show overall though; McClure is easily the most memorable and remarkable of the bunch. I can't wait to see her in future projects.