Friday, 6 January 2017

Reviewing: White Heat, Episode 3

Following my review of Episode 2, which you can find here: http://vintagehew.blogspot.com.mt/2016/12/review-white-heat-episode-2.html


It’s time to review the third episode of White Heat and believe me, this series seems to get better as more is revealed. Although I am sure that once I’ve watched it all I won’t be as curious to rewatch it for knowing how it all ends, it is also that type of script that has you enjoying all those little hints when you watch it for a second time. Many quotes that seem random enough on a first viewing are much more charged with meaning when you know what comes next. The most accurate ones in foreshadowing are usually Victor’s words and they are also the most spot on in defining characters and what is going on in relationships.

Just as in Episode Two he harps on the fact that Jack should treat Charlotte better, in this one he has much to say to Charlotte about Jack. His idea is that Jack’s allure is in his dangerous streak and that women are psychologically made to respond to it positively. It’s genetics, he tells her, Jack is the type of guy to make the best breeder, despite his flaws. Well, we already knew that Charlotte seems unable to get herself to move on from him. I must credit Victor for still trying so hard to get her interested in him even when he admits, “We don’t choose who we love, we only choose who we don’t.” It’s so clear he feels that he’s the injured party that I can’t for the life of me see why he struggles on to get the two apart. If anything, Charlotte has much more in common with Jack in my opinion than with Victor. That said, I have to give it to him that he is rather insightful and if I understood Charlotte’s character right then that makes him appealing. Bravo to him for noticing that, “He’s your fatal flaw.” yet being brave enough to still make a move on Charlotte despite this ominous observation. However the most accurate of his observations is clearly that “You sacrifice the best part of yourself for Jack.”

                     

Jack too utters a very memorable quote in this episode, one that will come back to haunt Charlotte in a later episode and later on in her life. “You are the only thing that makes life bearable.” Jack admits, causing her lapse of judgement in Episode Five. It is also the truth, most especially after his first serious blow since the start of the story. His delusional dad’s rejection - that dad who believed that money could always solve Jack’s ‘problems’ and mentioned the word “cheque” more than any other word in the dictionary - is more than he can bear. It is clear Jack truly cares about him and hungers for a connection even though they never see eye to eye and this episode is key in showing this with Jack going out of his way and also against his principals to support his father at a difficult time.

I could go on and on about Jack’s side of the story and the other characters’ view of him, yet he remains my favourite despite his addiction and treatment of women. As Victor says, there’s a danger to him that makes him all the more appealing and the fact that Sam Claflin plays this long-haired barely-together man only serves to gain him more points from where I stand. However so much happens in this episode that finally it seems like this is a story about all seven youngsters and all of their problems carry equal weight. For who in real life is unscathed by their own individual reality?

It is the 1970s and a background of exploding bombs, IRA shootings and political unrest serve to undermine yet move along the characters. Alan and Lilly find a temporary peace whilst Orla wrestles with the result of an unfair choice she has to make. Jay’s true personality is a secret no more among the friends and elicits opposite reactions from Jack (rude yet loyal) and Alan (disgusted and repelled). The dinner that all seven sit down to together for the first time in a very long while is brought about by Orla - the mother figure - whilst Alan and Victor seem to have moved on from the roomie phase and are out on their own. The phrase I would look for to describe this episode is ‘Seeking Stability’ as they all seem to me to go out of their way to do that.


With the end of this episode the series reaches the half-way mark and not only so, it seems to me also to be the ending to the characters’ life as youngsters before they make their way to more serious stuff. Now adults in search of their “Holy Grail” as Jack put it, they are facing the remainder of their life. The script-writer is a tease, leaving so much still for us to find out even when we’ve already gotten to the end with the help of ‘present day’ scenes.

On to the review for the fourth and fifth episodes:
http://vintagehew.blogspot.com.mt/2017/01/1974-white-heat-episode-4-bbc-two.html

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