'The Smoke': Episode 1 SPOILER Discussion Thread - Jamie Bamber News
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'The Smoke': Episode 1 SPOILER Discussion Thread

© Ollie Upton / Sky 1

So, it did occur just now that those of you in the UK might want a spoiler thread to discuss Episode 1 of The Smoke before either asta77 or myself gets home from work Thursday. So here it is!  All shiny and new and waiting for you to haul off in the comments below. (And heck, those of you who have already watched on Sky Go can chip in right now if you like.)

DISCUSS! FLAIL!  CRITIQUE!  Make egregious jokes about how OMG, that Bamber was ON FIRE in that one scene!  (Figuratively... no literally... no... oh, leave it. ;) )

EDIT: Also, a reminder: You don't have to have a LiveJournal account to post a comment. You can comment anonymously, OR use the pulldown tab and enter your Twitter, Facebook or other account to post!



32 comments or Leave a comment
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anteros_lmc From: anteros_lmc Date: February 20th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Damn. I am so, so jealous. I haven't got Sky so I'm going to have to wait for it to go up on the youtube channel or elsewhere and it'll probably be tomorrow before I have a chance to watch it :}
anteros_lmc From: anteros_lmc Date: February 20th, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Doubt I'll get a chance to watch tonight but I did listen to the extended audio interview. What a beautifully thoughtful and considered interview! Of course I would expect nothing less :)
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zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 21st, 2014 06:34 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Really, imma be FIRST?

Okay, we'll do it this way... I do have some critiques which I'd love to find out if anyone shares. Hanging onto those for now because a) I have to be in to work early and b) Lost my wallet earlier and nearly had a panic attack waiting to find out if it was found (it was), so I'm a little zonked. (It's been a day, yo. )

What I WILL say now is this... the lad has NEVER, all caps bold type and sirens if I had them, been challenged quite like this that we've seen, and for the most part he's just killing it. JESUS. I'm also not sure it's the sort of part that just any actor would jump into feet-first without reservations about the demands or the material, but Jamie really, really does. He's just fearless in this in a way we've never seen before, and man that's exciting to see. Get it, Guv. :)

Edited at 2014-02-21 06:34 am (UTC)
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zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 21st, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Hmm, did I manage to bang out a bunch of thoughts on my train ride to work this morning? I did. (It's OK, I still have one more ride this week to listen to last week's Real Time podcast. ;) )

It has been something I suspected for a little while before the show started but it's lovely to see it confirmed, which is that Lucy Kirkwood it is interested in telling a story about masculinity that we really haven't seen before. The Independent piece she wrote put this into great perspective, where she explains that while she's fond of anti-hero shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, she wanted to examine the culture of masculinity from a heroic perspective. To me that's not only smart but it makes it more challenging and rewarding to really dig deep and confront how damaging it can be. And the extent to which it physically damages a hero here is something that, frankly, I can't see even the most daring male screenwriter having the commitment to put down on paper. ;)

So far the best thing about the show is in its focus to tell us what we need to know, when we need to know it, and make it stick. One of the reviews out overnight pointed out that the supporting cast aren't as fleshed out as they could be, which in a sense I think is a fair criticism. Rob and Little Al especially come off a little more laddish in a broad sense though it's clear there is more to unravel, especially w/ Little Al. (I do have a soft spot for Gerard Kearns since Shameless UK too. D'aww, Ian...)

Thing is, it is really easy to underestimate how hard the perfect mix is to hit at the start of an ensemble piece. In this, each of them does make enough of a mark to impress without pulling the spotlight away from Kev and that is the key: his story is the catalyst, we *have* to feel that by the time the hour is up. And boy do we feel it. Kicked in the solar plexus by it. We can get to know everyone better later, but we have to bond with Kev now and the script — and Jamie — pull that off beautifully.

Even Trish is sidelined a little for now, and I'm a big fan of Jodie's so I am anxious to see that play out. But the screen time they do have so far is so tangible and emotional; their key scenes in the first ep have no dialogue at all, but it's all in the gestures. (That bit with the hole in her stocking. askadfkadsjfksf!!! - I DIE.) I am totally invested in that relationship, even though it's clear that a shitstorm's on the horizon. I got awfully choked up during Jamie's closing monologue. But that moment after THE MOMENT, where Trish starts up the stairs and Kev starts to crumble and shakes his head "no." No, I need to pull my own damn pants up and own what I just did. Yeah, that's where I started to go...

There IS an awful lot riding on Asbo and exactly what his motives are and where the truth lies. That has been built up pretty significantly just in the first hour, so I really hope the show continues to strike that balance between want to know and need to know so well.

I did feel like there was a hell of a lot going on just inside the Return to Churchill Estate sequence (Gog's appearance PLUS the kid PLUS all the general yobbery) piled on a little thick in a short time frame. But I get why LK wrote it that way, to underscore Kev's panic attack and his instability. Plus, when he hauls off and gets in Stoner!Yob's face and almost takes. His fucking. Head. OFF. !!!!!! Jaaaaamie. More of THAT, please. :D

When is the Ziggy-centric episode again? SOON? That would be the best answer.

EDIT: By the way, it might be worth pointing out that we have a very good idea what this tweet was all about now. ;)

Shutting up now. GO, somebody else...

Edited at 2014-02-22 01:04 am (UTC)
aurora1888 From: aurora1888 Date: February 21st, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Okay 24 hours later and I am still picking my jaw up off the floor. In the space of an hour, I laughed, squueeeeddd a lot and almost cried.

Jamie was amazing - he hit it out the park on several occasions and the scene at the end with the big reveal - Jaw on floor. His little face when he sees Trish just killed me. I'm shipping Kev and Trish all the way

I think that counsellor is nuts and the scene when he comes out the shower and tells off Little Al like a boss was awesome.

zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 22nd, 2014 01:28 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I thought there was a lovely bookend there between reprimanding Little Al, and then giving him a break so he could go see his kid.
asta77 From: asta77 Date: February 22nd, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
OK, late to the party, but I was watching an almost 4 year old Thursday night and Friday so I've just had my first opportunity without distractions to watch. :)

Short version: I really enjoyed it. Even without Jamie's presence, I could see myself watching 'The Smoke'. (Though, without him, probably patiently waiting for it to arrive on US TV. ;) Was it perfect? No. But then very few first episodes are. Especially when you have a lot of characters and story to service. Ideally, a two hour premiere might have helped, but I believe that's something that is more likely to happen on US TV (with longer seasons) than UK TV.

There were moments I felt were a *bit* heavy handed, such as the call for the fire at, of course, the same estate where he was injured. Or maybe fire men and women would be that disrespected by everybody there? Maybe I'm giving people too much credit?

In the second act scenes I initially felt everyone was trying a bit to hard, but after thinking about, that was likely the point. Kev is pushing himself to prove to everyone that he is fine, and exactly as he was before, when he's dealing with terrible physical and psychological trauma. And everyone is happy to go along with the charade, because it's not only easier to deal with him, but the system that failed him in many ways and could fail them as well. And later, we find out just how much Kev hasn't recovered when it's revealed he recently attempted suicide.

I have no strong feelings about the supporting cast right now. They do need more development/screen time, but I think it was fair that the first ep focused on Kev and what he is dealing with. It should be interesting to see how his crew deals with the revelations as to the extent of his injuries.

I'm also torn on the reveal that the new guy is one of the two that caused/were at the estate fire and left Kev there. I'm sure we'll find out that becoming a fireman was his way of trying to make amends for what he was involved with and do something positive with his life. (And I believe he was the one holding the baby when Kev got to the room so his instincts were to try and save the child.) It could play as completely unnecessary added drama. Or maybe the old trope will be handled in a refreshing way. Time will tell.

I did quite like the counselor, though she is not how you'd envision a counselor dealing with this type of patient and I can't yet get a read yet on her treatment method. The knitting while talking to him was a nice, unexpected touch. Maybe not acting like a counselor at all, but just some person you strike up a conversation with is her method?

As for Jamie, I think we all can agree this is his best role and performance since BSG. And I understand his enthusiasm for this project. There is A LOT for him to work with here and aspects of a character he has never had the opportunity to explore before. As much as I selfishly want to see him on US TV, I hope he gets the opportunity to continue one with this as long as he wishes too.

I don't know how I feel about Kev being 35. On one hand, yep, he can definitely pull off playing younger. On the other hand, damn, he looks good for 40 (at the time) so let him be 40! ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 22nd, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Kev is pushing himself to prove to everyone that he is fine, and exactly as he was before, when he's dealing with terrible physical and psychological trauma. And everyone is happy to go along with the charade, because it's not only easier to deal with him, but the system that failed him in many ways and could fail them as well. And later, we find out just how much Kev hasn't recovered when it's revealed he recently attempted suicide.

The part about everyone pretending he's fine I think is important here, because it is a coping mechanism to deal with the situation. In a sense, it's not psychologically unlike a lot of those people in the pants-dropping scene; suddenly that room feels a lot less crowded when it happens, and if you look at the background extras many of them have turned away and seem to be trying to avoid acknowledging Kev is even there rather than stare.

It does seem tho in the case of Ziggy and the lads and the rest of the watch, they want their Guv to feel safe and welcome about coming back to work. But obviously the extent to which they realize all that's going on isn't yet clear; the only one who seems to know the extent of Kev's injuries is Mal. (It was worth noting that Little Al and Rob seemed to be trying to get a look in before Kev got a towel on in the showers. Everyone must be curious.) And the suicide attempt may be something that even Mal doesn't know about at this point; the way it's brought up has me thinking the only one who knows that is Trish.

100% agree that I would happily watch a few more series of this if it warrants it.

On the other hand, damn, he looks good for 40 (at the time) so let him be 40! ;)

Hahahaha. CO-SIGN.

Here, I promised screencaps, so have some "Fuck yeah, FORTY" while I'm here... ;)

Edited at 2014-02-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
anteros_lmc From: anteros_lmc Date: February 23rd, 2014 02:07 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Last to the party as usual :}

By the time I was finally able to watch this I had read every spoilery interview and review (because I have no self restraint) but even though I knew what was coming, the opening episode lost none of its power and shock value. So a few random thoughts....

I love the way it looks, I don't mean the big set pieces, which are breathtaking in a terrifying kinda way, but the over all look of the episode. There's a washed-out tone to the filming which really adds to the atmosphere.

I agree with what everyone has said above about the rather strained laddishness and camaraderie when Kev returns to the station. It struck me as being very realistic, it's how people react when they don't know what else to do.

Kirkwood's exploration of heroism, service, duty and damage is fascinating and I'll be very interested to see how she develops these themes. In some ways, her approach to these issues reminded me of the award winning stage play Black Watch which focuses on the trauma experienced by members of the Black Watch regiment deployed in Iraq.

I haven't seen Jodie Whittaker before but I like her already, she and Kev seem to have a very believable relationship. I have my suspicions about the psychiatrist though...

I thought the scene between Mal and Kev in the bar before he leaves for the award ceremony was really powerful and very, very moving.

I watched the first scene of the Churchill Estate fire on youtube when it first aired and it scared the living daylights out of me. I've seen a fatal fire up close and I've seen how firefighters deal with people in these circumstances and this was painfully realistic.

JB was amazing throughout. It's a brave, brave choice of role but he absolutely owned it. I just hope I'll be able to see the rest of the series!

Edited at 2014-02-23 02:08 am (UTC)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: February 23rd, 2014 03:30 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Late, but never last. ;)

By the time I was finally able to watch this I had read every spoilery interview and review (because I have no self restraint) but even though I knew what was coming, the opening episode lost none of its power and shock value.

Same. I generally tried to avoid blatant spoilers if I could, but just as a result of asta77 and myself collecting Google alerts and links to post and tweet out plus the wording of some of the press materials, we both began to piece things together earlier too. So while it wasn't as total a shock as it would have been if we went in completely blind, it's so well scripted that it's still riveting and hard to shake.

If this is your first thing seeing Jodie in, I highly recommend Broadchurch. Besides it being up-and-down brilliant on every level, she's really wonderful and heartbreaking in it. Plus, not sure what your threshhold is for scifi/horror/gore, but if you're into it she's terrific in Attack the Block! (Which is also reeeally funny.)

OK I HAVE to know what your suspicions are about the psych now ;)
pinkylilie From: pinkylilie Date: February 23rd, 2014 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I just can't wait to see it!!! Is someone know where I can find a download link to see it?....
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