There was a moment in this third episode of the second series of Un Bore Mercher that made me want to stand up and break out into applause.
It wasn’t a sensational plot twist, it wasn’t a line of dialogue and nor was it a lovingly photographed shot of the Welsh countryside.
It was a piece of acting.
If there was one theme to this episode, it was Faith’s descent into a full-blown emotional collapse. She was being blackmailed by Reardon, Breeze was on her case and putting the squeeze on her, Rhodri had to be taken to hospital with suspected meningitis and she had just lost Madlen Vaughan’s case after she was convicted of murder. And she told Tom to stick it up his “fucking arse”.
And then she received a request from Evan to come and meet him in prison. It was urgent, he said.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE ONE REVIEW
As he relayed the news that he was to be freed from prison early, the camera cut to a close-up of Faith’s face, lit dimly and half covered with her hand. This news, on top of everything else she had gone through earlier in the day, almost tipped her over the edge.
We only saw her eyes.
Her bloodshot, tear-glazed, green eyes. And they darted from side to side in this close-up, as if in sheer panic. As if they were searching for the correct response. As if they didn’t know what to do.
As if she could barely contain the fear and confusion boiling underneath.
It was a different sort of acting, but it was supremely moving and conveyed Faith’s mood and breakdown perfectly. It was like the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, when James Stewart was sat in Nick’s bar, his world collapsing around him, and shook with anxiety, his eyes darting like Faith’s and not knowing what to do next.
Faith Howells had also reached this stage.
READ MORE: OUR EPISODE TWO REVIEW
Even after that incredibly understated but powerful piece of superb acting by Eve Myles, more was thrown at Faith: Steve Baldini told her that Reardon had been visiting Evan in prison (as well as proclaiming her undying love for her), Cerys (I bloody love Cerys, and I bloody love Hannah Daniel’s portrayal of her) had procured some information about Corran Energy illegally from her lover, and poor Alys – so convinced she’s growing up and desperate to be an adult – was extremely upset when she found out her dad was coming home (“I’m not ready, I’m not ready,” she wept into her mother’s arms in a very moving scene).
So everything that could be thrown at Faith had been thrown at her, and her final words in this episode were, “I’ll make everything ok, I’ll make everything ok.”
You do wonder whether if she’s going to do something. Something drastic. Something silly, even.
She’s feeling trapped, under the cosh and embattled and that’s when people make silly decisions and do stupid things.
It’s anyone’s guess how she’s going to get out of the several messes she finds herself in.
Several things I’m wondering at the moment.
One, will Faith decide to take in young Dyfan Vaughan in? He’s now lost both his parents, one to death and one to prison, and Madlen’s conviction is hitting Faith hard. She’s naturally kind and caring and wants to save the world, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she takes him in. And, with plenty of lingering shots of Dyfan tending to plants or animals on the farm in a slightly odd manner (and even perhaps displaying slightly creepy, obsessive behaviour sort of way), my second thought is this: did Dyfan kill his father?
I’m enjoying this series greatly so far – it’s intriguing, extremely well acted by an excellent ensemble cast, the dialogue is sharp and the characters feel authentic and natural. The only one thing I will say is that Gael Reardon’s character doesn’t feel very authentic – she comes across as a bit of pantomime villain. She’s all sneers, black leather jacket and gloves (gloves?) and fairly one-dimensional.
Still, you can’t have everything.