Off to pick up fascists-The Hour episode 2

by ameliareviews

(Quite a lot to chat about here, it is pretty long! Once again it is spoiler central so don’t read if you haven’t watched it!)

So after a week of anxiously awaiting Wednesday evening to come rolling round again, 9pm came around and I wasn’t there. I sadly had to miss The Hour’s broadcast live and so sat down to watch it on iPlayer. And whilst it lacked some of the zing of last week and indeed the last series, there was still a great deal to be enjoyed, as you will soon see!

A good helping of angst and painful longing to kick this party off!

First and foremost, shall we all have a little chat about Freddie and Camille, the new hot sexy couple in town? This relationship is the second most interesting in the programme (Lix and Randall take the number one spot I think). I sat, poised to hate Camille’s guts for taking Freddie well and truly off the market, wily French minx, but I just couldn’t do it. After all, it is difficult to blame someone who had no prior knowledge of Bel’s feelings and just happened to find a nice boy, fell in love and married him. The two of them are beautifully tender with each other, particularly in the scene in which Camille sits in the bath, shell shocked from having been attacked with soot on her own doorstep for allowing a black man to live in her house, whilst Freddie dabs lightly at her face. ‘I hate this country’ she spits, quite reasonably given the circumstances. ‘Don’t hate this country’ Freddie whispers back ‘I live in this country. And you love me.’ It was one of the most aaw inducing moments of either series so far, full of warmth and love, giving us a glimpse into Freddie’s more romantic side.  My one quibble with these two is a petty one but it is merely because I am concerned. Why on EARTH does Camille never have any trousers on?! Does she not know she is living in a freezing cold flat in London? I’m worried she might catch her death. Anyway, the other added benefit of this relationship is that it allows Romola Garai as Bel to display some truly masterful snide teenage girl style bitching. My favourite example of this is during the Madden’s party as Camille describes the wonderfully romantic blossoming of the relationship between her and Freddie. The set up was so perfect and almost film like it would make anyone swoon; Freddie and Camille staying up until dawn and then breakfasting on the bank of the Seine. Enter Bel with the ultimate mood killer ‘It’s very polluted apparently, the Seine.’ BAM. Atmosphere totally ruined as everyone starts to imagine the nasty debris floating down the Seine. But behind all the snide comments and deliberate sabotage we were able to see, through Romola’s wonderful performance, that watching Freddie, the James to her Moneypenny, caress the neck of someone that isn’t her is killing her inside.

Here is a picture of Ben Whishaw’s face. No particular reason, just because it is my blog and I can.

What I found most interesting about this episode was the development of the character of Marnie, played by Oona Chaplin. Last series we saw her play stereotypical 1950’s housewife, all smiles, there for her husband with dinner on the table when he comes stumbling through the door and not batting an eyelid when she found that Hector had once again been sleeping around. But this week it was as if a light had gone off inside her and something changed. It seemed that the last straw for the very much put upon Mrs Madden was the allegation that her husband had beaten dancer Kiki Delaine, a charge that the news team seemed to be horrified about. But where was Marnie whilst her husband fretted in jail, getting shabbier looking every two minutes? She was in a pastel coloured kitchen much like her own whipping up what looked like a mean hollandaise sauce for a bunch of TV execs, auditioning for her own show. It really pleased me that Marnie had finally realised what we all knew ages ago, that Hector was a useless clot and that she in no way deserved to be treated the way she was. In a show full of women who are strong and powerful, it was wonderful to see the most downtrodden one take a stand for herself and take her own life in the direction she wanted. The most powerful scene of the episode saw Marnie delivering the death sentence to her marriage to Hector. I think the power in this came from the fact that there was no screaming, no hysterical weeping or attempting to slap Hector. Just a cold withering resignation and the corker of a line ‘Two sane, beautiful women wasted on you’ I don’t think anything can get much more damning than that and you could see in Hector’s eyes that it stung. I am so excited to see where they take Marnie, I reckon we might have a feisty one on our hands.

Marnie Madden, the Nigella of the 50s. But with a much smaller bum.

And what has everyone’s (by which I mean my) favourite journalist Freddie been up to this week? Well we saw him return to his ground breaking best, inviting a young fascist on to speak with him and Sissy’s boyfriend Sey on matters of immigration and racism. Britain’s telly watchers had never seen anything like it before. This was the Freddie I know and love, some of his old sarcastic sparkle, the man who shut down the show in the final startling scenes of the last series. However whilst Whishaw was on brilliant form as usual, the actual execution of such a serious subject seemed to lack any oomph. It is a shame something that could have been so explosive seemed to lack any punch and the interview, I thought, was placed so that Freddie and Bel could prove to Randall and the board that they were capable as opposed to actually serving the plot.  However, I did enjoy watching Freddie get taken down a peg this week and seeing him realise that perhaps he wasn’t king of everything. He, sweetly but also arrogantly, if that is possible, offered his help to Isaac, the young man who last series was essentially his dogsbody who Freddie treated like dirt, who was writing a play. ‘It’s not really not that sort of writing Mr Lyon’ came the reply. Shot down by his former lackey, Whishaw demonstrates to us the most disdainful way to eat a cold tin of baked beans ever seen on British television, smarting from the slight from a man who used to adore him.

I have never seen beans eaten with such anger before.

Next week sees the ratcheting up of tension between Randall and Lix, a relationship I am watching with great interest and intrigue, hoping that it explodes in a reveal of shocking proportions. Also I am just grateful to have Lix Storm, the woman I want to be when I grow up, back on our screens.