Last week saw the start of a new Flemish-language series – called The Clan in its native Belgium – that presented us with something a little bit different. It was a modern fairytale that featured five sisters who were plotting to murder Jean-Claude ‘The Prick’ Delcorps, their dastardly brother-in-law and husband of Goedele. The two sisters who had initially come up with the plan (Eva and Bibi) had failed in their initial attempt, but they were intent on finishing their task. It was just a case of what their next attempt would look like.
Before we got to the next attempt by Eva and Bibi to take the life of The Prick, we were treated to some elements that appeared in the first episode. It seems that creators Kaat Beels and Nathalie Basteyns have settled on a regimented structure, almost like a sitcom. We had another family meal, where The Prick disgraced himself with yet more casual racism towards Bekka’s latest boyfriend and the Chinese restaurant he had bought food from (not to mention some homophobia to boot), and a scene in his study, where he once again played a cruel practical joke on someone that rubbed him up the wrong way. And then, of course, we had the attempt (and subsequent failure) to murder him at the end. This took the form of injecting a piece of liver with deadly poison. The family dog accidentally ate the liver, and ate a life sentence to go with it.
This repeated structure is handy, not least because with all the flashing back and flashing forwards it gives an air of anchorage and familiarity for the viewers as we’re flitting about the timelines. Whether there was too much flashbacking is an argument you can have with yourselves.
The poison for this latest task was procured by Veerle, who had suddenly become involved in the plot. And for good reason. (Well, for the purposes of a dark, murder comedy anyway.) The Prick had followed her after seeing her dining with ‘old friend’ Ben, and saw them leave a hotel and snatch a kiss. Her affair was exposed by the last person you want an affair exposed to, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before The Prick offered her an ultimatum: tell her husband about her infidelity or he would. She was trapped. After some wrestling with her conscience, she decided there was only one thing for it.
The Prick was also being devious when it came to his daughter, too, by taking one throw-away line from Goedele about her daughter’s private life and turning it into something, to the extent that he went into her room, prized open her diary and read it. Bloeme blamed her mother for this intrusion. The Prick laughed. There’s no doubt that Jean-Claude Descorps is being the worst kind of man – devious, paranoid and manipulative. But this presentation of The Prick in this very particular, almost pantomime dame way presents a serious moral dilemma to viewer: is it ok to wish someone dead? How far would you go until the straw breaks the camel’s back?
Elsewhere, the Dewitt brothers were still doing the rounds and Mathias was growing closer to Bekka, unbeknown that she’s one of the sisters and implicated in the plot.
It’s all bubbling up nicely, and again there were some nice comic moments. In fact, with what else is out there, The Out-Laws is a bit of must-watch at the moment.
For our episodes one and two review, go here