The Smoke continues to baffle.

by | Apr 3, 2014 | All, Reviews

I think we can all agree that was a completely unacceptable ending. I’m furious. How dare you make me care that much about a character over a mere 6 hours of extraordinary TV and then kill her off? I don’t want to believe it’s true. But there’s a body and it’s not looking good.

But then, if you’re staging an explosion in the Blackwall tunnel with all your major characters involved, how likely is it that they’ll all get out alive? I’m not entirely sure Asbo will make it through to the finale. Even if he does his survivor’s guilt is going to be multiplied. First the Churchill Estate and now this? If fans get their wish and we get a Series 2, I’m beginning to think they’ll have to set it in a psychiatric ward.

Astonishingly, even at the depths of despair Lucy Kirkwood managed to create lighter moments. Little Al and Rob may never speak of it again, but the passionate romance of Billy the Mince and Nina (the Cleaner!) was the perfect sweet spot to offset the tragedy. I just wish I had a pan of bolognaise to hurl at the TV.

Mind you, I’m all for a bit of black humour but that business with the undertaker and the spare hand nearly had me hurling of a different nature. And who’d have thought ‘going for a Chinese’ was a signal that your spouse was pregnant again? Guess Rob won’t be acting in an advert for contraceptives after his TV debut last week!

I had intended to start this week’s review with a nod to it being Jamie Bamber (who so flawlessly plays Kev) birthday. Birthday wishes also to Sam Gittins, who has created in Gog a character so menacing that you can feel his presence even when not on screen. I almost wrote that it would be a blessing if he’d been in one of tonight’s victims, but that’s not in the spirit of the show. That’s why Kev turned back and saved Asbo, why Ziggy won’t let Mal and Kev destroy their friendship. By giving us characters that wear their faults so openly, we’re forced to become less judgemental. There is a screenwriting cliché that you ‘put your character up a tree and throw rocks at them’ to see how they cope. Well Lucy Kirkwood doesn’t throw a rock so much as douse the tree in petrol and set it aflame, but by showing how Kev and co deal with their ‘rocks’, us viewers start to wonder how we’d cope in similar situations.

I almost want to go the full hippy and end this review with that old Jerry Springer sign off ‘take care of yourselves, and each other’. Because I think that’s sort of the point of The Smoke. It’s not a series about fire fighters. It’s not about infidelity. It’s about friendship. It’s about how far you’ll go to protect the people you love. And how you cope if you can’t protect them. I guess we’ll find out in the grand finale next week. Until then, ponder this:

  • Will Trish’s death (or miraculous survival, pretty please) mean Mal and Kev can finally mend their friendship?
  • Will Asbo get the forgiveness I think he deserves?
  • Can Ziggy hold it together for long enough to keep ‘her boys’ from falling apart?

 As always, if you’d like to feature in these reviews then tweet me @QueeniePrior. I’m off to dry my eyes and give my family a hug.

The Smoke Concludes Thursday at 9.00pm on Sky One

Vicky Prior

Vicky Prior



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