Friday, February 13, 2015

Cucumber/Banana/Tofu - Episode 4 Recap/Review

Now this was more like it. A week where all three episodes were on fire and the result was some of the best television ever made. I'm not kidding. All three shows genuinely were that magnificent to watch this week.

Cucumber: It was date night this week as Henry, Lance, Cleo, Freddie and Dean all had planned nights outs of sexy hi jinks and various excursions, with each of them taking various interesting twists and turns. Maybe it's timely with the release of a certain movie, but I found Dean's kidnap role date with a couple of bears utterly amusing until he managed to inadvertently wreck their relationship and perhaps it was the reduced screen time, but this was the first I actually enjoyed Dean in either show. Maybe less is more with the character at times.

Then there was Cleo, who wanted to give her new vagina (in which we got quite a detailed rundown of her surgery in a way that didn't feel like it was trying to be edgy, so kudos there) a test drive with Brian (Ardal O'Hanlon) and while it didn't pan out so well, it led to a beautiful performance from Julie Hesmondhalgh while Freddie's hook up with Anna (Haruka Abe) led to some details about his sex life with men and the latter's growing annoyance with anal sex as well. All in all some great scenes throughout the episode.

However the best and worst dates plots were courtesy of Henry and Lance. If last week was the episode where I finally clicked with Freddie, then this week was the one where it happened with Henry for me. A genuine turnaround episode and easily Vincent Franklin's best performance yet, I loved the twists Henry's date with French spouting Rupert (Rufus Hound on great form) took and the conversations about sex and pornography Henry would later have with Leigh (Phaldut Sharma) led to some of the best moments the show has produced so far.

Last but not least, the Lance stuff. I get why he didn't want to have sex with Charlie (Adebayo Bolaji) and he even turned the poor guy gently but I am at a point now that much as I like Lance, I absolutely hate his scenes with Daniel. It's nothing against James Murray but the character just rubs me up the wrong way and seeing Lance fawn over him at least twice per episode is actually making me cringe. Other than that, this was easily the best and most character driven episode (maybe not with Dean) the series has done so far.

Banana: If there was an episode well timed, it was certainly this one. In recent times, the UK have now brought in laws which means that people who engage in revenge porn can be jailed for their actions and while this episode didn't tackle that bit, it did however provide a great look into a very thorny topic nonetheless.

Bethany Black was the star of this episode, having briefly appeared in the parent show as trans woman Helen - the victim of a jealous ex, who decided to share some of their intimate videos and pictures online when she spurned his attempts of friendship and as a result found herself being publicly humiliated by her former lover.

I personally think this episode was the best one that this series has offered so far, even managing to surpass Scotty (who we haven't seen now for a little bit) and Black herself was brilliant from start to finish. The one thing I truly loved about this episode is that while Helen had to deal with her co-workers not being that supportive, her own family really came through for her in the end. I seriously wanted to cry at the end of the episode. A wonderful half hour that should be watched by everyone.

Tofu: This episode dealt with the topic of coming out as gay, bisexual and trans and handled it well. It made me think back to my own experiences (I came out when I was 18 properly). I can't imagine actually coming out as publicly as one person - a video blogger did to his 23,000 subscribers but it does sort of highlight that things are changing since I've done it myself and I think this episode successfully highlighted that with the choice of people here, including Andrew Hayden-Smith, Jake Bass and Bethany Black, all of whom had their own interesting coming out stories here.

Next week, Lance might actually get in there with Daniel while we also meet up with drifting apart friends, Josh and Sophie.

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