‘My Mother and Other Strangers’ Episode 4 review: Vera is a breath of fresh air

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There’s a breath of fresh air in Moybeg this week with the arrival of Rose’s glamourous, lively and ‘troubled’ sister, Vera (Fiona Button).

The lady in red appears and the world lights up. Vera is a sharp contrast to the world of Moybeg, and Rose is reminded of the youthful world of promise that she left behind when she followed the quiet Michael Coyne.

Along with glamour Vera brings along a new depth to the characters of Moybeg. A single beautiful woman, the relationship between her and Rose unravels layers in the family matriarch that have been slowly and quietly bubbling under the surface since the air force arrived in the village four episodes ago.

Hattie Morahan is captivating as her inner struggles finally find a voice. The sisters play well against each other, highlighting what was has been missing from Barry Devlin’s piece this far, has been the lack of believable relationships, or at the very least relationships we really care about.

My Mother and Other Strangers 1 4 Rose Coyne (HATTIE MORAHAN)

Vera drinks too much and flirts with the locals much to the disgust of everyone except her sister and her niece, but really Vera just wants someone in her life, and is looking for it in all the wrong places. Vera isn’t really troubled, she’s bereft at the loss of her husband and small child.

You can forgive her for the red lipstick and the unhealthy addiction to gin. If Vera was living in the modern day her actions would be seen as what we do to ‘get through the day’ and she’d have amassed hundreds of likes on social media but in twee 1943s one dimensional Moybeg she’s quite the scarlet woman (both inside and out).

My Mother and Other Strangers Ronald Dreyfuss (AARON STATON), Rose Coyne (HATTIE MORAHAN), Michael Coyne (OWEN MCDONNELL)

Captain Dreyfuss is back again (just when we thought that Rose had put those feelings to bed it appears that she has done anything but) and Vera also falls for the charms of the American. In a heart wrenching meeting between the sisters Rose begs Vera to leave him alone because of her desire for him. Morahan’s controlled anguish and emotion is heart breaking, and even though we really don’t want to see Rose run off with the Captain, (Coyne is a good man really), we can’t help but side with her as she faces the options ahead of her.

When Dreyfuss steals a secret kiss in the kitchen from Rose, the tension was palpable. Wanting the passion she’d dreamt of as a younger woman, against the life she has found herself in, Rose is broken, but she’s too busy looking at what she hasn’t got to see what she has, and just at the eleventh hour, Michael gives her a glimpse at what she’s missing.

With next week’s final episode promising that all the tension, drama and possible betrayal we’ve been catching fleeting glimpses of for the past four weeks, comes to a head, it seems that this slow starter is finally finding its dramatic pace and life in Moybeg may never be the same again.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 4 December 2016 on BBC One.

Buy My Mother and Other Strangers on DVD on Amazon here.

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