As predicted, this week’s episode of Babylon is all about the fallout from last week’s shock ending.
And once again, the show veers more towards the dark drama side of the spectrum, with less black humour and witty putdowns than in previous weeks.
However, unlike last week, this time the lack of comedy seems to help more than hinder. If anything, this week’s more dramatic focus feels right, especially when dealing with the aftermath of Richard Miller’s tragic suicide. As expected, that pivotal moment has certainly turned everything on its head, and looks set to spice up the drama for the rest of the season.
Liz and Finn’s constant power-play finally develops this week, culminating in some brilliantly bitchy and intense scenes of confrontation between the two PR gurus. It’s been brewing for some time now, and to finally see the excellent Brit Marling and Bertie Carvel stretch themselves and engage in such devastatingly explosive scenes, both together and separately, is a joy.
Likewise, Paterson Joseph steps up to the plate as Deputy Commissioner Charlie, hinting at a colder, more calculated and narcissistic side coming to the fore.
The real highlight is the punch-the-air moment as Liz is interviewed on Sky News, single handily wresting control of her department back from Finn, and giving a massive middle finger to her superiors, who would sooner see her gone. This is war now, and it seems very likely that the sparks will fly in the final two episodes.
The other major storyline this week, Banjo and Davina’s separation, is nothing really to write home about, mainly because we barely saw them together these past three weeks, but the result of their break-up is much more interesting, with Banjo under investigation for shooting an unarmed civilian.
Andrew Brooke is another brilliant talent in Babylon and to see his character take centre stage is a welcome addition to the ongoing plotlines unfolding this series, even if the set-up for his story has, up till now, been mishandled and underwhelming.
The same goes for Warwick and Robbie, both of whom, whilst played by some brilliant actors (Nick Blood and Adam Deacon) , have yet to see their storylines go anywhere particularly interesting or new since the first few episodes. Yes, we mention this every week, but that’s only because it really feels like such a grind for the show to kick certain storylines into gear.
All in all though, this week’s episode is saved by the excellent writing that wisely chooses to dial back on the black comedy and instead focus much more on the spiralling office relations, corporate power grabbing and political backstabbing. Other storylines may drag things down due to their lack of pace or development, but regardless, Babylon remains intriguing and addictive.
Aired at 10pm on Thursday 4 December 2014 on Channel 4.
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