Friday, 9 December 2016

Reviewing: White Heat, Episode 2

Following my review of Episode 1, which you can find here:

White Heat has got me well and truly hooked and that is saying a lot coming from me. Rarely do I find a series engaging enough to see it through. For characters to be intriguing enough that I let them accompany me throughout my day in my head is a big feat but Claflin's Jack and the rest of the cast have me in their power, saddened by their situations, worrying about their fate, wanting them to see things through to a better time whenever they're in difficulty. Though this post deals with episode 2, I have up to now watched up to episode 5, which leaves me only with the ending episode still to see.

I think I can safely assume that if you are reading this you most probably have already read my review of the first instalment ( and hopefully watched the episode too. However if not, please note that this entry might contain spoilers for episode 1. I will try to keep info about what goes on in the second episode to a minimum in order to avoid giving away surprises.

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Starting off two years later, in 1967, episode 2 shows Charlotte campaigning to end female discrimination and degradation and the first flashback shows Lilly and Charlotte as friends. However as from the first episode, in 'present day' scenes, we see that eventually something must have gone wrong between the two roomies as Charlotte appears hostile towards Lilly, the latter submissive.

Charlotte is not the only one with a cause. Jack becomes more active in voicing his disgust at racism and war. Victor on his part also shows disgust, at Jack's treatment of others, especially Charlotte. She is still unable to resist her feelings towards a person who alternately pulls her close and then pushes her away, despite her beliefs against men who degrade females. I have to admit that in this episode Jack does seem to become more unlikeable. Jack’s is not teenage angst any more, but a deeper rebellious passion that is shaping who he is, or who he thinks he is.

The title of the second episode is very apt. 'Eve of Destruction' had me wondering at first was it a literal phrase or elusive to women’s ability to cause themselves harm. This came to mind as in the first episode Lilly and Charlotte discussed God’s punishment of Eve after she ate the apple.

In fact, the second episode does punish Charlotte’s mum as well as Lilly, presumably in both cases for being female in a not-so-far-off past still dominated by men. Both the women are a victim of circumstances up to a point.

On the other hand, the title could also be referring to the fact that this seems to be the first turning point in the story. With the scene set in episode 1, it is now time to turn to the actual destruction of the characters’ dreams and hopes and add to the drama.

When Lilly gets drunk, she is giving Jack the upper hand, letting him destroy her whole future, or so it seems to me now that I’ve seen further episodes. Charlotte’s mother cannot help being who she is and without her bit of crazy Charlotte would have no apparent responsibility always holding her back.

image of Victor from
Victor is undeservedly punished for his troubles in supporting Jack. However it seems to me that pride is his biggest downfall at the end of it. Jack, being Jack, can’t help himself from first abusing of his friendship and then trying to make up for it and Victor will have none of that.

Speaking of Jack, his relationship with his father is very much an important part of the story. This time round, it’s a meeting in a pub that goes less than well, with Jack verbalising what he thinks of his dad, Edward. Seeing this episode a second time around in order to refresh it in my mind before this review, I couldn’t help notice how Edward says, “I shan’t always be around”. Sounds like foreshadowing to me, though ironically for the time being he is very present and still bailing Victor out.

Alan and Orla as well as even Jay are only minor add-ons to the plot up to this point yet they too will eventually handle their roles well. In the meantime Orla serves to offset Charlotte in thought and action whilst Jay tags along wherever needed. His sexual orientation is known to the viewer but not yet his friends save for Orla. Alan’s story starts here with a minor incident. We get to know he likes Lilly when he admits how long he’s wanted to kiss her, but is Lilly’s reaction aimed at his kiss or was it just wrong timing? More circumstantial destruction in my opinion.

This second instalment ends with a revelation. Lilly explains something to Charlotte that could very well explain the latter’s hostility towards Lilly in the present day, but is it? Meanwhile, on the note of Lilly’s tragedy, Charlotte ends the final scene with an ironic twist that leads us to believe she might see the light about Jack after all. Then again, will she?

Jack and Charlotte
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On to the review of the third episode:

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