With our shorter runs of only 6-8 episodes, British TV’s season finales often suffer from applying too many quick fix resolutions, in order to tie up any loose ends.
Luckily, Kay Mellor’s wonderful pregnancy drama In the Club does a very balanced job of solving a lot of this season’s issues, while delicately introducing plot lines that will spill over, should the show be granted a justifiable third run.
“He has spinal cord injuries. He might never be able to walk.”
Roanna’s stories is one of those stories that could easily become explored if the series progresses. Jonathan (Neil Pearson) is now stable, but is pretty much assured he will never walk again. Even in the one scene he is in, Pearson manages to captivate.
However, it’s his long suffering wife Emma (Victoria Carling) that draws the best performance here: subtle and raw, yet bubbling with vitriol for being caught up in a situation where she has done nothing wrong, but is still a victim. Simon’s return in the episode’s final moments could have just been a lovely moment of togetherness for his family, but it takes an altogether more dramatic turn when Ray finds a positive pregnancy test and Roanna realises it could be Katies. Is Simon the father?
“We have to be able to look after our own son.”
Maxine’s over-involvement in Andrew & Nathan’s raising of baby Sebastian is starting to show dramatic promise. The new fathers are clearly happy to have her in the baby’s life but not to such a smothering degree. If the show does get granted a third run it’ll be interesting to see how two male parents raise a child, especially in a show with such a strong female voice. Paul Nicholls, as Nathan is clearly going to fight for his rights with the baby aggressively and Andrew Buckley’s Andrew provides a realistic and comical view of a new, slightly hapless father, so these are welcome character choices to be explored.
As for setting up for a potential Season 3, Diane (Jill Halfpenny) decides to set up a nursery of her own, and is joined by Kim (Katherine Parkinson) who decides to quit her job after her separation anxiety from baby Emily proves too much. Parkinson is one of those rare actresses who can go from comedy to pathos in an eye blink and none more so than here. Her comedic reaction to the startled nursery worker is hilarious and her reactions with Rosie (Hannah Midgley), who appears to be suffering from some post-partum agoraphobia, is wonderfully caring and emotive.
Of the remaining women, Vicky (Christine Bottomley) finally shows signs of getting what she genuinely deserves when she kicks Chris into touch over his decision to potentially take a job in Singapore. Signs of a blossoming romance with Gareth (Jack Ryder) are hinted at here, and it would be lovely to see Vicky find some genuine affection and a suitable father figure for Ben, if her story continues. Fingers crossed for her.
The stars of the episode though, are undoubtedly Taj Atwal as Jasmin and Sacha Dhawan as Dev. After last weeks potential contractions turn out to be a false alarm they are in for the real thing this week as Jasmine goes into labour with the twins early.
The first of the twins is born with relative ease, prompting some nice physical comedy from Dhawan and some artful direction from Director Audrey Cooke. Dhawan has the hapless father-to-be thing down by now and he and Atwal share a wonderful and believable couple chemistry.
“Don’t speak too soon. We have to get your little brother out now.”
Jasmin’s decision to give birth to both twins naturally, despite the potential complications, is a tense moment. It is made more so by an earlier scene where Vicky, albeit momentarily, struggles to find a heartbeat on the second baby, and in a closing sequence where we are only introduced to one of the twins, Adesh, by Dev (until a minute later when Jasmine wheels in baby Sid). Atwal is superb here and you really feel for her in her realistic portrayal of a woman who, only in those critical moments, realises what a great mother she can be.
“We all need our friends. Especially at times like this.”
The closing moments of the episode are ones that speak of hope and are lovely as all the cast gather together in the hospital prayer room for a makeshift christening for baby Amber. If the show ended here, this would be a lovely way to conclude things.
However, if there is any justice, In the Club should be back for a third season, as it just feels like these ladies have more stories to tell and we, as the viewers, really want to see that happen.
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 7 June 2016 on BBC One.
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