Friday, February 27, 2015

Cucumber/Banana/Tofu - Episode 6 Recap/Review

Well, last night's episodes were a mixture of some quirky loveliness with one show and utter trauma with another. For those of you've seen this week's episodes, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Cucumber: Lance Edward Sullivan - 1966 - 2015. And all of a sudden, this episode opened up like Six Feet Under and I suddenly became very worried and with good reason. This was the episode where Lance was going to do and given that his entire life story from being born, losing his mother, coming to terms with his sexuality, reconnecting with his family and getting back to the present day, his doom couldn't be more spelled out for him.

Watching this episode was an hour of pure dread from start to finish but before you think that's me being negative, it's actually not. Yes, I knew that Lance was a dead man and sadly while being killed at the hands of a self loathing and despicable Daniel wasn't a shock to me, this was also the show at it's most engrossing, traumatic and insightful yet. I'd even go as far as to say that this could be the best thing Russell T. Davies ever written as well.

With allusions to the Doctor Who episode, Turn Left, a character dressed like Daenerys from Game Of Thrones, the previously mentioned Six Feet Under reference and the appearance of Hazel from Queer As Folk, Davies admitted he wanted to write an episode where a death felt like a death and he certainly accomplished that goal with this hour of television. Lance's death was unfortunately imminent from the moment he didn't follow Hazel's advice to go home (and the fact that something's been off with Daniel from day one) and tragic to watch as his life flashed before his eyes with Henry being one of the last people he saw before dying.

Cyril Nri has been great on the show but here in this episode, he was truly exceptional as was James Murray, despite my absolute vitriol for Daniel. Then again, so was Vincent Franklin who realised albeit too late that Henry loved Lance.  It's a shame that Lance in the way he died but as a piece of television, this was something truly not to be missed.

Banana: After the intensity of the parent show, it's nice that Banana went for something lighter with Amy's story. If the parent show has primarily centred on the male characters, then the spin-off (excluding the first episode) has been all about the ladies - Scotty, Violet, Sian, Helen, Sophie and now the adorably quirky and slightly paranoid Amy.

Played by Charlie Covell (who actually wrote this episode and Helen's episode from two weeks ago), I absolutely loved watching Amy onscreen as she went on a nervous but lovely date with policewoman Kay (TNia Miller), who also found out was the woman to arrest Daniel for Lance's murder.

I have to admit, I related a tiny bit to some of Amy's paranoia, though the thing about checking that switches and stuff are off before leaving is just common sense. Despite one or two moments where it looked like she might have blown it with Kay, I did like that the episode ended on a positive note but aside from the fact that we didn't see Amy in the parent show, I also noticed that both Freddie and Dean were absent from both episodes this week.

Tofu: A very emotional episode and actually the best one we've had as well. A lot of the episode seemed to be focused on the cultural impact of Queer As Folk. I caught bits of the show in my teens (I would've been about 14 when it aired, maybe slightly younger) and watched the full thing when it was repeated years later and I loved the comments from the usual suspects about the show and the comparisons that Cucumber has gotten to it as well (though props to Julie Hesmondhalgh for Tale Of Two Cities comparison as well). I also found Gary's (the vlogger guy's) comments particularly touching in this one. All in all, a very emotional draining week for the shows with Amy's adventure adding some needed levity to proceedings.

Next week, it's Lance's funeral and then we get to meet Aiden and Frank.

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