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Wednesday, 5 June 2019

REVIEW: Years & Years puts Rook in charge.

As time lapses further into the future of 2027, governments are changing almost as quickly as the impending sense of doom. For the first time in the UK and by hook or by crook the new Prime Minister is Vivienne Rook. That's the country shook.

The central focus this time is the troubled relationship of Daniel and Viktor. The trouble comes from outside sources but when the outside sources threaten banishment and murder the stakes are high. Dan and Viktor are engaged but they have to flee a Spanish revolution. The socialist government has been ousted and their safe space is now dangerous.

It is a stressful journey to get back to England, through being scammed for money and hiding in the luggage compartment of a bus. Russell Tovey and Maxim Baldry are playing an absolute blinder here, summing up their innocent quest to love freely and the heartache when their hope keeps ebbing away. The expected doom arrives but it is still a brutal piece of television. They manage to get to a boat but it's a distressing watch as too many panicked refugees spill onto it. Dark screens cut to an idyllic beach covered in dead bodies and one of them is Daniel Lyons. It's reminiscent of when the writer shocked viewers with a death in Cucumber. Television can be powerful and emotional, it can make important statements.

The rest of the episode has peaks and troughs. The peaks are in little touches like the fact that Mary Nightingale has aged extremely well, those breath tests for ID and Stephen's drug-addled side affect where he keeps looking left. Even that could have been a literal political nod.

The troughs? Rosie setting up a burger van business by borrowing £10,000 off gran when it's not that clear what the point is. The same can be said of Celeste broadcasting Stephen's affair with Elaine. Has he been having an affair because of the dystopian situation or just because Celeste is a horrible person? While it's all perfectly performed by the cast it feels a little out of place and very much in the shadow of Daniel's tragic death.

You think things are bleak now? We still have 120 minutes to go and  Rook is now in control. God help us all.

                        Years & Years Continues Tuesday at 9.00pm on BBC One.

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