Having established the primary elements last week, this week’s Our Girl episode does a great job of balancing the character development with some very probing questions about Army life for young soldier, Molly Dawes (Lacey Turner).
Proceedings here are definitely more character-based with equal development given to the main three players. Ben Aldridge, as Captain James, has a lovely growing chemistry with Molly and this is clearly building towards a romantic involvement.
Her connection to Smurf (Misfits actor Iwan Rheon) after his return to camp is developing into a genuine friendship and it’s a strong pairing, if one that may lead to an unrequited crush on Smurf’s part. Rheon is probably the most developed here, as we see his struggle finding his place in the camp again after his accident and silently dealing with Molly’s unspoken crush on James.
The Bashira element of the story is the most engaging part of the episode. The first instalment left us with tension in the air as to where it would lead. I’m glad that Molly’s character has been proved right in trusting her and it does mean that the sequence where Bashira emerges in front of the soldiers with a bomb strapped to her body is even more heartbreaking.
Turner shines in these emotional scenes and shows a lovely connection to Bashira actress, Becky Eggersglusz. Things kick up another notch with the revelation that Bashira’s father is in league with the Taliban and the rescue mission to save the little girl, pushing Molly to the forefront of the action and the military elements of the story.
Anthony Philipson’s direction continues to impress and sculpts an episode with some very strong visuals, such as the pacey opening sequence, the after effects of the explosion with the lined up body bags and the school walls riddled with bullets.
It’s also a very well written episode, penned by show creator Tony Grounds, balancing the show’s emotional elements with the necessary action expected from a military drama. That such drama is not forewarned and infrequent gives a jarring experience to the viewer, who can’t help but be moved by its consequences.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the story though is the questions it makes (though doesn’t necessarily answer) about Afghanistan and the locals’ feelings regarding the British Army’s presence in their lives. These questions add a thought-provoking element to Our Girl.
If Our Girl maintains the well-balanced mix of drama and human interest that has appeared in these first two episodes then it onto a winner.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 28 September 2014 on BBC One.
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