Following on from last week’s very strong instalment, In the Club’s winning streak continues in tonight’s ep as all the women’s various problems are given time to be explored in high, dramatic fashion.
“At the end of the day, we’re just human beings. We have our strengths and our weaknesses. We all make mistakes.”
The central focus of the episode is the hearing for Vicky (Christine Bottomley) which will decide her level of involvement in the death of a patient. Bottomley, who has been far too sidelined this season, absolutely shines here as the broken nurse: reliant on vodka, barely coping and still clinging to her non-existent relationship with Chris.
“She had a straight forward pregnancy. And you didn’t have a crystal ball.”
The court room scenes are suitably tense and tap into the episode’s main theme of judgement, as Vicky is forced to face the family of the woman who died in her care. The silver lining of this storyline is that Vicky is not found to be negligent. We also see the return of her partner Chris, and Vicky deciding to give up drinking, which are lovely little plot developments for her character. Bottomley is genuinely mesmerising here.
“Ro’s been shagging her ex-husband and she didn’t even have the decency to tell me!”
Roanna’s situation also gathers steam with all of the secrets and lies from her domestic unrest spilling out, including Jonathan’s extra marital affair with her, years before. The confrontation at Simon’s parents’ house is unmissable, featuring some very strong direction from Audrey Cooke (Death in Paradise). Kay Mellor’s script creates an explosive confrontation and draws a tense performance from all concerned, especially guest star Neil Pearson.
Hermione Norris’ performance here is so fragile too, and goes a long way into repairing some of her unsympathetic actions this season. It’s clear she and Simon are not going to get their happy ending, but perhaps this is the way their story should end.
It’s worth mentioning how good In the Club‘s supporting cast are, in particularly actress Lorraine Cheshire, as the comical and caring Geraldine, as well as Victoria Carling, who plays the put-upon Emma. These are small but effective roles, and none more so than here.
The other women are given some good screen developments too, as Maxine meets up with Rosie (Hannah Midgely) and Diane (Jill Halfpenny) and Rick start to see light at the end of the tunnel, despite Diane losing her child minding license. The last quarter of the episode really ramps things up though, setting up a lot of elements for next week’s finale: Chris’ return, the car accident and Roanna’s arrest and Jasmin going into labour.
If Season 2’s finale keeps this pace and tension then In the Club will surely be guaranteed a third run, which is great as it feels that these women still have a lot more stories to tell. s
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 31 May 2016 on BBC One.
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