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TV Review: Episodes – “Episode Seven” (Season Finale)

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***If you live in Britain, this episode does not air until tonight. Beware: spoilers are below! Of course, you guys also get the DVD release next week, so I’m jealous!***

Seven episodes of Showtime’s / BBC Two’s Episodes is not nearly enough! Despite a weak and confusing premiere, the following six episodes are gems of comedy genius, delightfully played by a very gifted cast. Matt LeBlanc’s Matt LeBlanc is funny, but not over the top. Stephen Mangan’s Sean is the exact combination of neurotic and faithful needed. Tamsin Greig’s Beverly is the right mix of jealous and uptight. Kathleen Rose Perkins’s Carol is pitch perfect. Even John Pankow’s Merc is a deliciously sleazy, yet not quite villainous, boss. I know a couple of those parts were recast as the show was being made, but I can’t imagine anyone else in any of those five roles.

Which makes me incredibly sad that the series has not yet been picked up for a second season. The finale may have ended with the show-within-a-show, Pucks, getting a series order, but the fate of Episodes still hangs in limbo. I am most displeased, as it is a clever and unique show, and I see no reason at all why it shouldn’t be renewed. Except for ratings, of course, which have been so-so, despite mostly good critical reviews.

The characters are mostly realistic. I can definitely see how Beverly ends up in bed with Matt at the end of “Episode Six”, believing as she did that her husband Sean has been cheating on her with Morning (Mircea Monroe). I can also see why Matt doesn’t try that hard to set her straight, as the show’s Matt is very much a horn dog, and the detestation Matt and Beverly had for each other would likely make very passionate intercourse. Their hatred also didn’t let me see it coming, unlike other hate-duos before them, since I didn’t think the straight-laced Beverly would ever stray outside of her marriage, no matter the circumstances, until I saw it unfold that way it did. The writers managed to find the only set of variables that could have driven Bev to do the act.

I’d also like to heap praise on the way that Sean discovers the indiscretion. Matt and Tamsin both mix the right balance of guilt and dishonesty that Matt and Bev would show. But neither confesses. Sean puts together the pieces as anyone would be able to. It wasn’t a stretch that Sean figures things out, or that Bev and Matt seek to get away with it. Other shows would have lowered themselves to spell things out more explicitly, but not this one. I have a hard time finding just the right words to write this, but somehow the whole series of events seemed more natural and true than I’ve ever seen the situation done before. And boy, has that situation been done over and over before!

Which is why I want to see more Episodes. It somehow scratches an itch I didn’t even know needed attention. It’s comedy at its best, and simply one of the best made shows on television. Please, please, please renew Episodes!

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome is the creator and writer of It's All Been Done Radio Hour, a modern scripted live comedy show and podcast in the style of old-timey radio serials, and the founder of the Columbus-based entertainment network, IABDPresents. He is also the Chief Television Critic for Seat42F.com and a long-time contributor for Blogcritics. Plus, he works fiction into his space time. Visit http://iabdpresents.com for more of his work.
  • Matt

    Have really enjoyed watching Episodes, more please!

  • lindsey

    Don’t worry too much yet, Jerome. Shameless hasn’t been renewed either. I think Episodes will be back. I love it too!

  • Adrian

    As a Brit who’s just seen the season finale (and who’s spent time in the US), I too think it was a great take on the ‘separated by a common language’ thing. My concern for a Season 2 would be, where do you take it next? It’s a lovely squirm, but just like making Morning gay in “Pucks”, does the story have longevity beyond its basic premise? I can also understand if the US side of the ratings are so-so – just ask Ricky Gervais!

    Given the pedigree of the writers and cast, if anyone can find an ‘act two’, they can. But I would rather have it be a deliciously painful one-off, than have it outstay its welcome. People forget that only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers were ever made – and that’s still the best thing John Cleese ever did.

  • Good points, Adrian. I guess I am used to living in the states where most good shows (that aren’t canceled quickly like several unfortunate gems) can expect at least 70-100 episodes. I guess I would say, if this is it, I wish the finale had been more final.

  • Lynn Dee

    This show is great. I didn’t realize Episode 7 was the finale — and am now unhappy the season is over! I agree that the way Sean figured out the infidelity was so good, so brilliantly written and acted by all three involved, the emotions so true — and so funny! I’ve watched that fight scene over and over and it’s as fresh as when I first watched it. Matt LeBlanc’s undulating red shirt popping up from behind the couch as Sean gets hold of him and drags him back down — I was screaming. Oh please, let there be another season!

  • joao norton

    It seems U GUYS DO NOT LIKE Smart productions around u, do u? BRING BACK Episodes 4 ANOTHER SEASON! There’s plenty of smart people around here who want to watch more of EPISODES!:) Dont be stupid! bring it back…..!!!! PPPPLLLLLEEEAAASSSEEEE!:)

  • UPDATE: Episodes has just been renewed for a second season.