‘Banana’ Episode 3 review: ‘Violet and Sian’

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There’s an old joke that was told to me by a former girlfriend many years ago: what do two women do on their second date? They hire a moving van.

While I’m typically inclined to roll my eyes at any such a stereotype, this does apply itself to Banana’s third episode with staggering accuracy.

The adventure begins when Violet (Hannah John-Kamen) meets Sian (Georgia Henshaw) over a series of increasingly complicated transactions at the shoe shop where Sian is pursuing a career in retail management. It’s sweet watching them together, giggly and fluttery in that way familiar to anyone who’s fallen in love for the first time, and seemingly in moments move from buying a new pair of trainers to being girlfriends to living together.

Banana 1 3 Hannah John-Kamen

However, it quickly becomes abundantly clear that between the two of them, they’re carrying about as much baggage as Terminal 5 at Heathrow on an especially busy afternoon, and the difference in the ways they negotiate this baggage does not necessarily augur well for a lasting relationship.

While Sian is reserved and craves a settled and quiet home after growing up with a serial monogamist mother, Violet responds to an upbringing in and out of foster families by wishing to surround herself with friends, hosting an endless series of parties where certain people (I’m casting my gaze disapprovingly in your direction, Dean) apparently think borrowing a neighbour’s iPad without asking is no biggie.

Banana 1 Fisayo Akinade Dean

Both Sian and Violet are so sweet – and so woefully immature in their own special ways – that watching them very quickly transition from giggling bliss to resentment is as sad as it is inevitable.

The penultimate scene sees Sian and her mother talking about just what went wrong, and Sian’s mum instructs her to grow up – but I find myself questioning the wisdom of a woman who apparently never noticed how much years of quickly leaping from one serious girlfriend to the next affected her daughter.

We’re left with an ending that seems to promise significant measures of hope for the two young women, but which leaves me with a lingering sense of dread: was that talking-to from Sian’s mum really enough for her to guide the pair towards a lasting commitment, or will they inevitably implode again a few weeks or months down the line when it becomes clear again just how little they know about each other?


Aired at 10pm on Thursday 5 February 2015 on E4.

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