The fourth episode of Banana was one of the most stressful things I’ve had the pleasure of watching for quite some time.
Helen (Bethany Black) is so sweet and so lovely, I just so desperately want good things to happen to her: I want Eddie to stop bothering her, and I’m so sad when he doesn’t. I want her date with Ross to go well, and I’m so sad for her when it doesn’t.
Anyone who’s had the experience of that ex or that friend who somehow just doesn’t – or refuses to – get that they’re no longer welcome, will be cringing every moment that Eddie (Andrew Knott) is onscreen. I cheered for Helen when she upbraided him in no uncertain terms for his horribly manipulative behaviour, and I nearly wept for her when he had his revenge.
That scene was properly, physically painful to watch. Seeing Helen watch helplessly as highly personal photos and video are posted to what looks an awful lot like Facebook is excruciating, and director Lewis Arnold captures every moment of shock, heartbreak, and rage, with perfect clarity.
It says something disappointing about the world that all and sundry – supposed friends and colleagues – are so quick to shame Helen for being sexual, but not to shame Eddie for sharing media that were clearly not meant to be shared as an act of abusive rage.
But Helen’s mum Fiona, her dad Alan, and brother Arnie (Christine Mackie, Dean Andrews, and Matthew McGreevy, respectively) are so supportive of her – oh, I did giggle at their attempted birthday video chat, and I did feel bad later for giggling. I think that as much as it’s important to tell the heartbreaking stories of families who abandon their trans kids, it’s just as important to tell the joyful stories of the families who stick together and support and love each other.
I’m so grateful to writer Charlie Covell for giving us an ending that may not quite be happy, all things considered, but is certainly hopeful.
Aired at 10pm on Thursday 12 February 2015 on E4.
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