As the second season of Kay Mellor’s In the Club progresses, the drama intensifies, providing one of the best episodes so far.
“I was in the bar the other night…bumped into my ex. Or should I say, our ex.”
Roanna’s (Hemione Norris) situation gathers steam as Ray confronts Simon’s dad, Jonathan (Neil Pearson), regarding his attraction to her. While he initially laughs it off and undermines Ray’s allegation, his behaviour later in the episode towards Roanna and Simon speaks volumes about how he views their past.
The affair, implied last week, between Roanna and Ray starts up here only for their daughter Katie to catch the two together, forcing Roanna to confront the situation.
Kim (Katherine Parkinson) is made aware of Roanna’s past and as a result steps in to help a friend, which gives Parkinson more to do than simply blog every episode. The descent of Roanna’s character continues as she effectively tells Kim to stay out of her business and stop judging her. Quite why the writers are piling all this negativity on Norris’s character is beyond me, but she is doing all she can to remain even remotely sympathetic.
“Are you having second thoughts, love? About giving him away? About Nathan and Andrew bringing him up?”
Maxine (Sandra Huggett) and Shelly (Gemma Dobson) are given some very worthwhile, genuinely tense development here. As mentioned in Episode 1’s review, the little baby, Louis, that Maxine found in the maternity ward toilet is hers.
It’s not exactly a shock to the viewer, given how heavily she has involved herself with him. What is more of a shock is her plan to swap hers and Shelly’s baby, Sebastian, so that Maxine can maintain some contact with her newborn son. As you can imagine, this plan has terrible results.
Gemma Dobson is great as Shelly here, succumbing to the emotions of a new Mum. The decision to keep Sebastian is clearly weighing on her mind, but it’s made all the more difficult when her mother’s scheme means she has to swap out her own child to keep her baby brother. Dobson shines with the script’s more emotional beats and her decision to give away the baby is a noble effort. Shelly’s sense of loss is heartbreakingly visible on screen.
The ideas of fault and blame are key themes in this week’s episode. The hospital see Vicky at fault over her patient’s death, the council do over Diane about the incident with Mia’s broken arm and Roanna feels at fault when Katie discovers the affair.
I do love it when a strong recurring theme ties all the stories and this has resulted in one of the strongest episodes yet.
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 24 May 2016 on BBC One.
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