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Friday, 28 March 2014

The Smoke: The Episode where nothing happens


Lucy Kirkwood (the lady behind this excellent drama) suggested that this episode was the one where nothing happens. There isn't a big fire to fight, instead, we join the nation's new favourite fire fighters on a hot summer's day. They are stuck in the station with nothing to do but get on each other's nerves and the tension is increased by it being the  anniversary of the Churchill Estate fire.

Clearly, things are going to kick off. And they do, with a chance remark leading Kev to realise the truth about Asbo. In a nice twist, it's actually Trish who is on hand to hear Asbo's confession. Both this scene and the next, with high tension on the staircase, are beautifully acted. My award for 'Heartbreaker of the Week' goes to Taron Egerton, whose performance as the guilt ridden Asbo is frankly sublime.

Unexpectedly, despite the focus of this episode being the anniversary, Kev's storyline doesn't dominate. Instead, a lovely romance is crafted for Billy the Mince with Nina the Cleaner (look, I don't make these nicknames up!). The culmination of 20 years of longing looks is delicately done, though I expect many fans would be keen to hear exactly how creative Billy's threats to Mal were if he didn't leave the room!

Elsewhere, Little Al had a great stand off with Mal that was heartbreaking in its own way. I think the crew will get past their stubbornness and learn to be friends again, but I expect Kev will lead the way on that. I seriously doubt anyone will get transferred out to another station. This is probably a good point to mention that there's a twitter campaign for #TheSmokeSeries2 so let's all get behind that!

Speaking of twitter, a shout out to Clare McCrory, who is worried about Asbo's mum (scarily absent in this episode, so I'm worried too). I'm not entirely sure Asbo's Dad was a necessary addition to the cast, though there certainly wasn't any dip in quality. Everyone involved really is putting in the most wonderful performances and it's great to have a show with no weak links. That said, it's a good job that the actor playing Rob is a better actor than the character Rob, that Accident at Work ad was delightfully cringeworthy. Thank heavens he passed his bleep test!

Another shout out to Nicole Campos who had also picked up the clever flipping of gender norms. It's one of her favourite things about The Smoke and it certainly shows the talent of writer Lucy Kirkwood. Meanwhile Phil James Trueman must be relieved that Asbo's secret is out, and hopefully is glad that I didn't give in and spoil it for him. Finally, a quick congratulations to Laura Tovey, who celebrated a rather happier anniversary, her wedding, this week. We'll have to hope her hubby doesn't want kids now she's discovered she can't take them bowling.

As ever, if you'd like to be featured in my reviews then tweet me @QueeniePrior and here are some questions for you to think about till next week:

- With Biggles now appearing in two episodes on the trot, will he make my day and feature prominently in episode 7?
- With Trish and Kev taking tentative steps towards recovery, is this a sign that things are going to get better?
- Gog was conspicuous by his absence this week, with just two episodes to go, how will Kev and his White Watch mates make him pay?
- And was poor Mrs Severs, Asbo's mum, safe on her in the flats with Gog on the prowl?

The Smoke Continues Thursday at 9.00pm on Sky One

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