‘Hit & Miss’: Episode 6 review

Posted Filed under

Appropriately enough for a show in which confusion and ambiguity have played such a prominent role, Hit & Miss ends not with a bang but a series of question marks that stretch off into the distance like a row of pylons across a barren moorland landscape.

Some of the uncertainty, such as the unresolved Mexican standoff between Mia, Eddie and Ryan which concludes the series, has been deliberately created by the producers. Other parts, however, are so bafflingly hazy it’s as if the meticulous control exercised over the script so far – which has kept it believable in spite of its extreme subject matter and maintained a plausible sympathy (if not empathy) for a serial killer throughout – has slipped at the last minute, like a Formula One driver accidentally stalling his engine on the final lap. It’s not a complete disappointment, but it’s certainly the weakest episode of the six. Like soup in an envelope, it’s just not cohesive enough to deliver.

Why does Mia book a hotel room as a man, dress as a woman to carry out a hit with a sniper rifle from a roof, and then check out – still as a woman – when things go pear-shaped? Why do both of her potential victims have to be killed on the same day (and why does it suddenly, a few minutes later, not matter quite as much?) Most mystifyingly of all, why will Eddie’s bosses be appeased by him killing off his assassin? ‘I’m sorry, Mia,’ the meaty mobster says to her, ‘but if I don’t kill you––’ ‘––they’ll kill you,’ she finishes. But that isn’t how it works, surely? If those higher up the gangster ladder are angry with Eddie’s failure to deliver the hits he promises, they’ll bump him off whether he’s blown Mia away or not. If that isn’t how they work, they need to watch a few mafia movies to find a better way of running a crime syndicate.

These may appear to be relatively small problems, but in something that previously teetered on the edge of flawless, tiny blemishes look a lot bigger. It’s all very well to have a butterfly land on the barrel of Mia’s gun and put her off shooting – visual metaphors have played a large part in the success of the series, after all – but not when she’s on a city centre rooftop on a dark, wet evening. It’s clumsy and distracting rather than poetic.

It’s understandable that a transgender woman learning to be a mother would want to liberate her own mum from the miserable existence amongst the gypsies from whom she herself successfully escaped, but someone as adept at getting out of tight spots as Mia wouldn’t let herself be cornered and beaten by someone as scrawny as her ‘heartless cowardly fuck’ of a brother. There are some great scenes in the caravan with the three of them – ‘You’re an animal,’ Mia’s mother says to her, adding, devastatingly, ‘you’re just like your father was’ – but the implausibility of the action spoils them.

That’s what’s wrong with this episode in a nutshell. There are as many wonderful moments, lines and performances as ever (when Ryan says to Mia, ‘Please come home, Dad,’ it’s as poignant and wondrous an instance as Hit & Miss has conjured; seeing a shorn, violated Mia drunk and dancing her pain away until she collapses is almost as impressive) but they don’t quite fit together. The whole is less than the sum of its parts, and not even the divine presence of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’ on the soundtrack – with Ryan doing an accompanying mini-Ian Curtis dance – can save things. What a shame.

Aired at 10pm on Tuesday 26th June 2012 on Sky Atlantic.

> Order the DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of the final episode? Let us know below…

> Follow David Lewis on Twitter.