Popular military drama Our Girl returned to our screens tonight and it pulled no punches. Michelle Keegan donned her uniform again as Northern lass and devoted army medic Lance Corporal Georgie Lane, posted on a relief mission in Nepal.
It is here that we are introduced to two new characters for this third series – a new adversary in the form of defiant driver Maisie Richards (Shalom Brune-Franklin) and a possible love interest in selfless engineer Milan (Rudi Dharmalingam).
Fast-paced and honest right from the start, any moments of light-heartedness are short lived, quickly proceeded by tense and abrupt scenes of conflict and disaster. Our Girl has never shied away from showing its loyal audience the first-hand the realities of war-torn Aleppo and the aftermath of the Nepali earthquake. Writer Tony Grounds does as masterful job of immersing his audience in the world Lane and her squad are sent to and it’s no different here.
We are introduced to earthquake victim Tara (Salina Shreytha) – a young Nepali girl who has lost her family but uses her multilingual knowledge to assist the troops in communicating with and helping other victims.
The main focus of the episode, however, is the power struggle between Maisie and Georgie. Maisie is reckless, stubborn and often overconfident, whilst Georgie is level-headed and responsible.Masie’s keenness to be accepted by her colleagues leads her to behave immaturely. Immaturity is a trait Lane can’t abide and when Maise and some colleagues are spotted laughing insensitively whilst building funeral pyres for the deceased victims it’s clear that the pair will come to blows.
Keegan’s performance is remarkable. She’s completely believable as the army medic with a desire to help those in need. Hardworking, emotional, compassionate and committed to her squad Keegan displays the many facets of Georgie’s work and personal life with relative ease.
Her caring side is most evident in scenes between Lane and Nepali engineer Milan. The scenes between them are so charming and refreshing that you almost forget how forced it feels. If I had one niggle with this series it’s the way the romantic aspects of the show are shoehorned in. Some might remember last year Lane was left at the altar by army hunk Elvis (Luke Pasqualino) whilst trying to make her relationship with new fiance Jamie. It’s a sad truth of many female-led narratives that we are force-fed insincere romantic storylines, even when they serve little purpose within the plot.
Though, frankly, what is most unbelievable about the budding romance between Georgie and Milan is that they can find the time! In between aftershocks from the earthquake and treating the injured wounded, Georgie is adamant that there’s no time for Maisie’s jovial antics – yet she can take romantic strolls to the temple with Milan.
Despite this, what is undeniable about Our Girl is that this first episode carries great potential for the series ahead. Having never viewed the show previously, I have been ultimately drawn in by its intensity, and with the striking cliffhanger at the end of the episode, which left me reeling, I know that I shall be returning to it next week. The BBC have commissioned twelve episodes, shown as three mini series blocks. There’s nothing else like it on TV and I’ll certainly be along for the ride.
Our Girl Continues Tuesday at 9.00pm on BBC One