Originally written for Lesbilicious magazine. Warning: contains spoilers.
In last week’s review, I accused Lip Service of being a bit predictable. Well, as you can imagine, Friday’s episode certainly shut me up.
It may have been bizarre, shocking and more than a tad depressing, but it certainly wasn’t predictable. In fact, it was about as unpredictable as you can get without having all the characters suddenly turn into Dolmio puppets and sing ‘That’s Amore’.
It was also a very powerful reminder of life’s frailty, one minute you’re wearing a basque, touching yourself in front of your illicit shag-partner and worrying about your relationship issues, the next you’re sent flying by a speeding car and end up breathing your last outside a boarded up branch of Ladbrokes.
Between that, new character Dr Lexy and the hospital setting, the whole thing was about as close to an episode of Casualty as you can get, right down to the Holby City-esque bizarre mixture of accents (seriously, are there actually any Glaswegians in Glasgow?). It definitely didn’t feel like the silly, frothy, escapist programme we’d come to know and…well, know. In fact, it was incredibly odd.
One thing’s for certain though: we’ve seen the last of Cat, unless the programme decides to go all ’28 Days Later’ on us. But how on Earth is the show going to cope with what is clearly an unplanned and not-exactly-ideal early exit by Laura Fraser? The Cat/Frankie on-off love story was as central to the plot as the random mentions of herbal tea or the (now sadly lacking) sex scenes.
It’s crazy, equivalent to Mr Darcy being randomly taken out by a meteorite strike three quarters of the way through Pride and Prejudice. Or Belle from Beauty and the Beast being abruptly crushed to death by a falling chandelier during the iconic ballroom dancing scene. We emotionally invested in Cat, despite the fact she had a face like a cliped arse, to coin a Scots phrase.
The least they could have done is prepare us for the worst by giving her a troubling cough last episode and then revealing she actually had terminal syphilis.
That would have a) allowed us to get used to the idea she wasn’t going to be around for long and b) saved us from having to sit through her sudden, gruesome, bone crunching death, which was not at all in keeping with the tone of the programme to date. We went from enjoying a diluted version of The L Word to watching Final Destination, or possibly that horrible advert where that small child slides across a road and then dies in reverse.
Transitioning from that to watching an oblivious Frankie mud wrestling in the Highlands with Sadie was very strange indeed.
Speaking of Frankie, what on Earth is she going to do now? Cat was her childhood sweetheart and officially The One. You don’t get over that kind of thing unless you’re some kind of evil, heartless robot. A Dalek, for example, or possibly David Cameron.
There are now two choices: 1) portray Frankie as incredibly, unbelievably emotionally resilient, so much so that she bounces back faster than a homing kangaroo, or b) spend the next six weeks watching her cry in HD.
Neither are particularly appealing to be honest. Although she’d already started down the first path at the end of the episode when she demanded a grief-counselling, tear stained post-funeral shag from the increasingly wonderful Sadie, whose delicious East End drawl makes her sound like the love child of Marsha from Spaced and Danny the Dealer from Withnail and I.
She kindly agreed to do it with Frankie in order to cheer her up: I don’t know about you, but nothing turns me on like a weeping, drunk woman covered in grave dirt.
All in all, it’s a bizarre situation for a series to be in. However- and I’ll probably regret saying this- it still seems fairly predictable. True to form, Tess got rid of Fin the Footballer for crimes against girliness and she’s now hung up on new flatmate Lexy, who’s inconveniently into recently bereaved Sam. Frankie is distraught, but not so sad she isn’t willing to continue to be Lip Service’s answer to Russell Brand, and Sam’s obviously going to have a harrowing showdown with her at some point in the very near future.
It’ll be like watching Ripley from Alien battling Skeletor.
Conundrum of the Week
What kind of hospital leaves a corpse lying around so people can drop in to visit it? Don’t they have morgues any more, or did they all get shut down in the Glasgow area to prevent Frankie having sex in them?