Louisa faces a startling revelation about Sven and Larry considers leaving Corfu with Nancy in an emotionally fraught and satisfying finale.
It’s been such an enjoyable first season for The Durrells that it’s sad to be saying goodbye to this most misfit of families already. Fear not, however, as they will be back to cause more mayhem in Corfu next year.
It’s surely a combination of Simon Nye’s clever, witty writing, the atmosphere of its Greek island setting and the chemistry between the lead actors that’s won over the hearts of the Sunday evening audience and ensured a phenomenal success for the latest adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s famous trilogy.
Before we say goodbye there’s the small matter of Louisa’s engagement to Swedish hunk, Sven, which sadly, doesn’t go quite the way you might have been hoping. As Louisa announces her engagement to her incredulous children there’s a sense they’re not completely happy for her. Those with the experience of solely caring for a family will no doubt identify with Louisa when she declares ‘it’s time I started living for myself’ as the wedding preparations get underway.
There’s a shock in store, however, when Larry begins to suspect Sven may be hiding the truth about his sexuality. Later Louisa, after sabotaging his accordion, finds several intimate photos of Sven and other men and quickly makes her excuses as she leaves his house with her head spinning. There’s a tender moment between Louisa and Larry as they both realise they have difficult choices to make in the near future.
After Larry advises Louisa to confront Sven about the photos the truth surrounding his sexuality comes out in an emotionally touching and sincere scene. ‘You know what it’s like to love men? It’s like being in prison, a real prison, a prison of pretending and lies. We’re officially mentally ill you know that? It’s important I overcome this.’
You have to have a heart of stone not to feel for Sven as he pours out his feelings and his desperation to convince Louisa, with a characteristically fabulous performance from Keeley Hawes, who now understands that it can’t work between them.
Elsewhere, Larry finds himself forced to choose between his family and Nancy and, when he tells his mother they want to find their own place to live, an intervening Louisa conspires to seed doubt in Nancy’s mind over Larry’s fidelity.
‘I don’t believe Larry’s got other women out of his system.’ When Nancy says she wants to go back to England with him, Larry realises he’s about to make the biggest decision of his life and later weighs up the pros and cons of staying or leaving.
After Larry learns his novel has been accepted for publication he turns to Leslie for advice. Despite believing his older brother to be ‘annoying’ Leslie admits he doesn’t want him to leave and tells him ‘family is forever.’ However, when Larry learns what Louisa said, he challenges his mother’s preconceptions about him and it seems he’s decided to leave with Nancy after all but he returns to the ‘wedding’ party alone.
Elsewhere, Gerry officially opens his first zoo with Theo, Leslie finds a new sense of purpose as a wedding organiser and Margo convinces the Countess to leave her home for the first time.
‘I just dream of the day when all four of you find happiness and fulfilment and love,’ says Louisa as the curtain falls on the first chapter of this charming series. It’s been sublime.
Aired at 8pm on Sunday 8 May 2016 on ITV.
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