Paul Brian McCoy: Well, I guess there was a Soviet mole after all. Kelvin Green: Yes, and it was who it so obviously seemed to be. I’m not sure why Freddie didn’t work it out. Paul: Because that would have undone the delicate knot of plot Abi Morgan had planned out. Kelvin: I suppose… Paul: To be honest, I’m a bit ticked off at the way this all wrapped up. Kelvin: How so? Paul: Like you just said, it was so freaking obvious that the characters in the story should have seen what was coming. Freddie (Ben Whishaw) especially. Kelvin: Yes, and it didn’t wrap up very well either, as if Morgan was expecting a second series before it was announced. Paul: “Come on, we’ve got a story to write…” Blah. Kelvin: Exactly. Paul: If it wasn’t for the amazing performances, I’d have chucked something at the set. Kelvin: It was all very erratic. The Bel/Hector (Romola Garai/Dominic West) thing wrapped up without any fanfare at all. Paul: With a resetting of the status quo. Kelvin: The spy thing dribbled away, although I suppose that was Clarence’s (Anton Lesser) point in his rant at the end. Even so, it all seemed a bit choppy. Paul: There was a lot to dislike. I was especially disappointed with the Horserace Skit. Kelvin: Yes, after all the build-up, it was a bit naff. And obvious. Paul: I don’t know what I was expecting, but something more than that. Kelvin: Yes, with all the talk of not making direct comment on world events, the sketch certainly seemed rather direct to me. Paul: Me too! Kelvin: I wonder if there were last-minute rewrites as a result of it getting renewed? Paul: Hard to tell. Kelvin: It didn’t have any of the structure we were seeing in earlier episodes. Was there anything you did like? Paul: Yes, but first I also want to complain about Lix’s (Anna Chancellor) role this week as Ms. Exposition. And her, “Thanks for reminding me why I do this job” bit at the end. Ugh. Kelvin: Yes, Lix was wasted. Paul: Freddie: “Look into this for me, will you?” Lix: “Here are the answers you’ve been looking for all along!” He should have asked her earlier if it was that easy to find out. Kelvin: Yes, it was a bit rushed. They could have covered it at a more sensible pace if it had been brought up earlier. Paul: Hell, that should have been the first thing he asked her to do when she brought him the initial news that they were MI6. Kelvin: I cannot disagree. Paul: It should have been difficult info to get, which would have worked with a last-minute reveal. But it was just too easy here. Kelvin: Yes, it took all of five minutes, whereas it should have been what Lix was working on all series. Paul: Exactly. It’s not a good mystery if you just info-dump in the last few minutes after meandering around for six weeks. Kelvin: Yes, very clumsy. Paul: Clumsy, indeed. But those bright spots… Kelvin: Yes. You mentioned the performances. I’d agree, there were some storming performances in this final episode. Paul: I was glad Bel got a chance to erase the awkward obviousness of last week’s “Women have it hard” speech to her mother, with her wonderful “I don’t want to be a mistress anymore” bit. Kelvin: Yes, I don’t think that plot wrapped up very well, but I did enjoy the “breaking up” scene. It was perhaps the best scene Bel’s had in weeks. Paul: I agree. I think the only plot moment that I really liked was Hector fidgeting and then handing the Lord Elms (Tim Pigott-Smith) interview over to Freddie. That scene was played just about perfectly by all the actors involved. Lord Elms in particular. Kelvin: Yes, I’ve always liked the bits between Freddie and Hector, and Freddie and Elms, and we got all of it in one this time. And Anton Lesser was brilliant as Clarence. Paul: Yes, he was. Kelvin: The desperation and disappointment in Clarence’s speech were palpable. And even though the reveal itself was a bit rubbish, it did cast a different light on why Clarence was such a supporter of “The Hour”, and that did work, I think. Paul: Yes indeed. I thought it was a bit odd that Clarence had access to the information about the assassination attempt (which was another obvious clue about his true role here), but was very satisfied with the reasoning for slipping it to Freddie. And the disappointment in Freddie for not running with it was perfect. Kelvin: Yes, it was a really strong performance. He’s been one of the best characters, and one wonders whether he’ll be back next series. I can’t see how he could be. Paul: I don’t think he’ll be back either. In retrospect, you can see his frustrations with getting “The Hour” on the air and on track to undermine the government as the same conflicts the real show has had balancing the espionage with the soap opera. We’ve got a serious spy story going on and the romance elements threaten to keep throwing it off-track! Kelvin: Yes, you’re right there. Whether that’s deliberate, however, I don’t know. I doubt it. Paul: I doubt it, too. That’s what makes it even more interesting. To me anyway. The medium is the message and whatnot. Kelvin: I understand that. I enjoy the show as an allegory for the BBC’s struggles with the current Conservative government, but I don’t know if that’s intended either. Paul: Especially given how ultimately, the government’s actions are, if not justified, at least rationalized and proven to be well-intentioned. Turns out they were right to be Red hunting and shutting down the news!!! Kelvin: True! I hadn’t considered that. Paul: And Ruth (Vanessa Kirby) had to be killed because she was undermining national security. Kelvin: Yes indeed, that was a bit of a surprise. I wasn’t expecting her to be an active spy. Paul: Hmm. Thinking this through for the first time here. I guess we can see Kish’s (Burn Gorman) giving up and essentially killing himself in a new light, too. As if, maybe, he was done with the game. He was friends with both Ruth and the Prof after all. And then he killed them both. Kelvin: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. He wasn’t afraid of anyone, he just had enough. Paul: It wasn’t Freddie getting the upper hand on a trained agent after all. Also, looking back over the whole series, Lord Elms’ speech at the end about losing faith in the government was really more about being exposed to the way things really work and losing his own innocence. Along with losing his daughter. Kelvin: Yes, I wonder if it’s one that rewards a repeat viewing. Paul: I don’t know. The overall theme seems to be “The Government does bad things, but it’s all for the good of the people, so stop whining and let us get our jobs done.” Kelvin: Hmmm… I can’t imagine that’s the message they wanted to get across, but I’m struggling to find another viewpoint on it. Paul: “Keep playing around with your soap opera dramas and let the grown-ups do what’s important.” Of course, then it’s the soap opera element that saves the day in the end, with Freddie unable to stop obsessing over Ruth’s murder. With the added on plea to open up the restrictions on the BBC’s political reporting. Kelvin: It’s a tricky one to pull apart. Paul: Kind of like making a movie about Thatcher’s rise as a “Girl Overcoming the Odds” story without addressing the end result. Tricky. Kelvin: Yes… I do wonder what approach the Thatcher film is going to take. Based on The Hour, I’m a bit wary, to be honest. Paul: “The price paid for power” by an “extraordinary and complex woman.” Hmmmm Kelvin: That doesn’t seem very promising. Paul: Granted, that was written by someone on IMDB with no credit. I haven’t checked out any official marketing. Kelvin: I see. I’ve not seen anything of it myself. I was expecting more coverage, given what a divisive figure Thatcher is. Perhaps closer to the time. Paul: The Telegraph headline: “Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher Will Be a Role Model For Girls Everywhere” Kelvin: Oh dear. So will you be watching the second series? Paul: I really don’t know. I doubt it. Unless it airs when there’s just not a lot else on. Or if they change it up and focus more on spy business. Kelvin: Yes, I’m of much the same opinion. It’s a fine cast, but I’d rather seen them in something else. Paul: And with Bel fired, Clarence a mole, and Hector back with his wife and family, I really don’t know where they’re going to go with another series. Kelvin: Yes, and the show itself may have been shut down. So it’s all in bits, and I don’t know how the next series will work, but I’m not particularly interested in finding out, either. Paul: So I’d give this one 3 stars, but really only for the performances and one bit of clever plotting. How about you? Kelvin: I’d agree. 3 stars for the strong cast and a handful of good scenes, but that’s it. I was hoping for a strong finale, but what we got was a bit of a mess. Paul: And for something so obvious and controlled, its being a mess was really the only surprise. Kelvin: Yes, there was clearly some strong writing going on, but it lacked direction and focus almost from the start, pulled things together for a couple of weeks, then threw it all away at the end. The Hour 1.063.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.