A sense of impending doom enveloped episode four of The Hour as the mysteries surrounding the corruption story gained impetus. Rosa seems to have paid the price for talking to Bel (although I sense that Pike may not have actually bumped her off), and club owner Cilenti has the look of a man who’ll stop at nothing to protect his interests.
Watching your own back was also a theme with backhanders, blackmail and deals surrounding almost everyone. Hector’s new sobriety means he’s now perfectly willing to drop Commander Stern in it (and there was a hint that a minor reconciliation with his wife could also be on the cards thanks to that). At the same time Stern himself, despite realising his career’s about to hit the skids, is trying to burn bridges by breaking it off with showgirl Kiki.
It could be an interesting development as to what Kiki herself does next – where will her loyalty lie now she’s lost Stern, who was, let’s be frank, a vital revenue stream for her? She’s also got a lot of furniture to replace for a start, following Stern’s destruction of her dreadful knick-knacks and badly constructed chairs.
Government spin doctor McCain was also busy deflecting The Hour from covering the story by offering a scoop of an interview with the Chancellor Peter Thorneycroft. Following Hector’s drunken confrontation with McCain about his fondness for young men last week, there was a darkly comic scene with McCain trying to convince Hector of his new found heterosexuality (‘Vera. A second-cousin’). Hector scoffed magnificently, but it seems Rosa’s last act in delivering some candid photos of McCain with another man looks like it was all in vain.
The breaking news of the Chancellor meant a week’s delay for the Cilenti story, but this could be a good thing as even more evidence was gathered (by an extremely busy Isaac, mainly) about the whole sordid mess. Cilenti’s blackmailing of high-profile establishment figures turned out to be part of a plan to help his old POW friend gain a big contract with the MOD – industrial espionage can now be added to the list of his crimes.
Elsewhere, despite some terrific acting again from Peter Capaldi and Anna Chancellor, the Lix/Randall adopted daughter subplot dragged on (she’s in Paris studying music) and it was contract renewal time for the hacks. But these essentially held little interest as the main storyline has proved so strong.
If there was one criticism, it came in a scene involving Bel explaining to Lix and Freddie Cilenti’s plan. This was exposition central – anyone with more than three brain cells was entirely aware of what was going on, and didn’t need a synopsis of the whole plot taking place in the office.
But that’s really just a minor one-off criticism. There’s plenty to resolve and The Hour is boiling nicely to a double-bill finish next week (Weds and Thurs)
Other things of note, or things that just bug me:
- Is Isaac’s play now back on then? Or was he just too embarrassed to admit to Freddie it had been rejected?
- Dominic West’s US experience on The Wire counted against him in the opening scene when he veered from ‘miss-uls’ to ‘miss-iles’ in the same speech.
- Does ITV’s Bill Kendall actually do any work? All he’s done all series is hover around the BBC trying to poach staff or cop off with Bel. Fair play to him though, item number two on that list has now been ticked off.
- I detest comparisons between The Hour and Mad Men, but one of Camille’s CND buddies immediately reminded me of the horrible beatniks who used to hang around with Midge Daniels.