Finales always have a lot to wrap up, and usually not a lot of time to do it in.
Very often they have to tie up many dangling plot threads whilst enticing us with reasons to stay watching incase these characters should return. In the final episode of Kay Mellor’s maternity comedy dama, In The Club, we are lucky that it hits all the right notes.
There’s a lovely sense of things coming full circle in this final episode, which is bookmarked by Kim’s blog and sees the ladies back at Parentcraft, echoing the pilot. That we now see them as parents who have gone through the main actions of the series is a lovely motif of how life is never the same once you have children. It also does a nice job of highlighting the individual mental, physical and emotional strains that accompany parenthood, while providing some comic relief as well.
It’s so good to see Christine Bottomley, as Vicky, taking centre stage. That she was struggling and the other women rallied around her shows just how integral she has become to the group. She has been the glue that has held together many of the women’s journeys, and as she prepares them for motherhood, they now help prepare her.
It’s a lovely contrast that we see her start to unravel over the ‘Chris’ situation, having been so efficient and together up until now. It’s nice that she gets a happy ending with Chris, and I have to admit, I was very moved during the scene where she first meets her newborn son. Very emotional.
The Neil / Susie / Kim scenario has been very well handled throughout the series and, despite its complicated nature, reaches the only mature conclusion for everyone involved. However, it does highlight what a shame it is that Tara Fitzgerald who plays Susie, with such contained anger and frustration, has not been given more screen time.
The interplay between the women, a key component in the show’s success, remains strong. This is particularly noticeable in Atwal and Bottomley’s chats and the scene as Diane, Jasmine and Roanna wait outside for news on Vicky. Halfpenny also shines in this episode as the emotionally fraught Diane, who copes (just about) despite her financial woes and Rick’s sentencing.
Halfpenny and Will Mellor (Rick) is a lovely coupling, and one I’ve come to believe more as the weeks go by and it’s the belief in them as a couple that makes their outcome so heartbreaking.
And amongst all this we are teased with cliff hangers that could lead us into a potential second series: Rosie’s immature decision not to take the pill, the aftermath for Kim and Neil, Child Protection Services visiting Dev & Jasmine and Diane’s determination to keep her home for the good of her children. As good as all these elements are, I’m most intrigued by Roanna’s (Hermione Norris) past connection to her partner Simon’s father (Neil Pearson).
Female ensemble programmes are not everyone’s cup of tea, and when the main plot point is pregnancy it can often alienate a potential viewing audience (mainly men, I grant you) but In The Club has been really briliant at breaking the divide. Kay Mellor’s effective, humanist writing, finely tuned characters and some lovely touching moments from the talented lead cast have made this one of the finest dramas of 2014.
With the cliffhanger elements established in this episode, here’s hoping we’ll see the ladies again next year!
Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 9 September 2014 on BBC One.
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