It has taken a while to figure out while Glue is called Glue, but with Episode 4 the meaning behind the title feels clear.
Given the debauchery in Episode 1 you’d think it was in reference to substance abuse. But as the story has cantered along and the show has proved itself more grown up than first advertised, Glue has revealed itself as being about people being stuck together by circumstances. Circumstances rather than friendship. They’re adhering to one another simply because in the isolation of the countryside there’s a co-dependency of trade.
With Janine comatose after being attacked, the focus shifts from who killed Cal to finding her assailant. Could it be shifty Dominic (Tommy McDonnell), a chappy whose flat cappy and cocky swagger means he wouldn’t look out of place in Peaky Blinders, glugging down whisky and shooting at the Irish? It would make his relationship with Ruth (Yasmin Paige, terrific week on week) a good deal more sticky.
Like one of Cillian Murphy’s Brummie gangsters, Dom has a cushy cigarette smuggling operation going on. Rob (Jordan Stephens) seems there just to sort out the playlist for the journey. Wikipedia tells me that smuggling cigs is called ‘Buttlegging’. I prefer my term, ‘Tobaccontraband’. Whatever you call it, it goes awry as masked gunmen steal the shipment of smugglerettes. Who are they? Wikipedia also says the illegal cigarette trade is a big problem in Canada, but it’s unlikely to be the Quebec Mafia, eh?
Showing how everyone in this stretch of green and unpleasant land is connected by the necessity of business rather than some chummy Woolpack ‘pint and a packet’ bon homie, the theft precipitates the catastrophe that is the Newmarket derby. Dominic’s the stable owner, Tina’s the jockey, the horse she’s riding belongs to James’ family, and there’s a lot more than Tina riding on horsey’s victory. James needs her to win, Rob and Dominic need her to lose, to pay off the (probably not Canadian) Buttleggers.
It’s a tense race made all the more tense by it being intercut with Ruth racing after a Roma child, while her boddler (it’s no longer a baby, but not yet a toddler, therefore a ‘boddler’) boddles into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It seems like an unrealistically shocking lapse in motherhood – as well as a reason why there’s never been a baby and cop team up procedural – but Great Balding’s Coif, it makes you grit your teeth more than any horse race ever could.
Mercifully the boddler is fine. Other relationships are not, and in their wake new alliances are formed. But still it’s unclear where Annie (Jessie Cave) fit into Glue‘s story, beyond being a wispy willowy sprite flitting around everyone else’s egotism.
It’s not Cave’s fault, but her character is annoying for being so inconsequential to the puzzle. Glue has done a great job of bonding and breaking people, but like all great murder mysteries, it’ll only work if all the pieces fit.
Aired at 10pm on Monday 6 October 2014 on E4.
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