And now for something completely different. Well, not completely different, but this week's episode deviated from the standard formula a bit. It's an episode I thought had some interesting parts, but didn't all quite come together as everyone involved likely hoped it would.
I love James and Alesha, but I'm hoping we get to less of them with the final two episodes of the series/season. The past few episodes have been very Order heavy. Matt, Ronnie and Natalie didn't even get to cameo in the back half of the episode. And, while I didn't time it, it didn't feel like they were even in full first half the episode. :(
I don't know why time was wasted on the two future adult felons picked up on suspicion of the arson. Considering it seemed as if Ian didn't leave his home unless he had to go to a doctor, I don't know how the kids would have had contact with him to be able to pick on him. And while I know kids can be stupid and think they are acting tough by insulting cops, calling Ronnie old and Matt gay was the best they could do? Not to mention, the homophobic comments got real old real fast. There have been some outstanding child actors on the show and they were given some great material to work with, but the scene played as cheap, easy and pointless.
It turned out, the kids were an indication of what was to come. For the rest of the episode, I felt like I was watching caricatures rather than characters. While I sympathized with Megan Parnell (and the actress did a very good job with what little she was given to do), I was also waiting for Yet Another Horrible Thing to be revealed about her life. Dominic Peck - I don't even know where to begin with him! There are incompetent attorneys practicing law. We often hear about the people who finish at the top of their class, however someone has to finish at the bottom. Attorneys can also be egotistical, narcissistic assholes (I may have first hand experience with this ;). But it's difficult to portray such a character (guilty of all of that) on TV without crossing the line into unbelievability. And, early on, there is a shift in the story where we no longer view the defendant as being on trial, but her defense (I'm not even sure someone as lacking in knowledge or professionalism as Peck would have gone to the trouble of getting a radio 'psychologist' from the States for his client's defense!). Ultimately, it's James and Alesha who save Megan from a very long prison term.
The case itself was rather muddled. From the start we're told all Megan wants to do is be with her daughter. Yet, she attempts to commit suicide after her son's death. And by burning down her building, which could have caused others to be hurt. And she apparently changed her mind about suicide almost immediately. All the while I'm not getting why she just didn't call 999 when she believed her son was dead.
The one part of the story that did work for me was her unwillingness to put her son in an institution. As a child, she had been put in the system, likely had horrible experiences, and was terrified of the neglect or abuse her son might suffer. That made perfect sense to me.
I also enjoyed the scene in which George grilled Alesha and James about the case. They've been surprised in court numerous times and seemed very confidant - perhaps too confidant - this would be an easy win.
One more shot of Jamie since we didn't get enough of him in the episode...