REVIEW: Un Bore Mercher (S2 E6/6)

Over the course of five episodes, we’ve seen Faith Howells deal with a lot.

More than most, in fact.

She’s had to reap the consequences from all the wheeling and dealing she was forced to do after her husband Evan had done a runner; deal with Evan’s return, incarceration, release and potential affair with the woman who was mercilessly blackmailing her; deal with a smug police officer who strutted around and issued threats to her down; taking on the defence of a woman who was accused of murdering her husband; deal with her own on-off feelings for Steve Baldini; and deal with the kind of problems at home only a working mum-of-three could understand.

Make no mistake, she really has had to deal with a lot.

You always got the sense that as her world was not just crumbling, but shattering, someone – whether it be herself, Steve or even Evan – might take matters into their own hands and do something to resolve the situation.

But what of Evan? At the end of the last episode, Steve Baldini warned that Evan might well be more dangerous than anyone ever imagined.

So the pressure was on to tie all of these narrative strands up. It was a huge task, but they did it. Whether they did in a satisfactory matter or not is another matter entirely. It all happened very, very quickly.

Let’s first tackle the murder mystery side of things. Yes, we knew that Gael Reardon was trying to coerce Will Vaughan into selling his farm to her, and we knew that she had set-up the photographs of the mystery woman that were sent to Madlen Vaughan. We also knew that Gael and Evan were on the hunt for this mystery woman.

What we didn’t know who would get there first. It was Faith who found her and more pieces fell into place: Diana was a Ukranian immigrant who Faith had managed to track down (via some particularly nasty henchman, who she dispatched with a quick kick to the nethers). What Diana told Faith shook her world once again. She had come over from Ireland in the back of a truck (Gael’s people-trafficking truck) and her boyfriend had become so ill he had died soon after. He had been buried in the sand dunes by none other than Evan.

I was thinking at this stage: how on Earth could Faith forgive Evan after this?

I had also been thinking that it was Will’s son Dyfan who had murdered him. Perhaps accidentally, perhaps not. And it was looking for all the world that Cerys and Faith were beginning to believe that, too. But an interview with the youngster had revealed something I hadn’t been prepared for: Madlen was actually guilty.

This was a bold move. We’re so used to our heroes being right, and so used to the main characters being a shining light and people who fight for the truth and people who are often vindicated. So for Faith to be wrong about Madlen Vaughan was a twist of sorts. It underlined that this series is all about flawed people, and Faith is another of those flawed people. As she said to Breeze towards the end of the episode, she had just made another stupid, emotional decision.

This series had been full of them – decisions made emotionally that had consequences. Each character was flawed, and had acted on emotions.

But what of Gael Reardon? She had procured Corran Energy, but still insisted that Faith was in her debt. So I did think that either Faith, or Steve or even Evan might take matters into their own hands. Her end was about as unsatisfactory as her character (I still believe she’s a bit of a caricature) – her nephew Shane was about to bump her off in revenge for the death of his brother. Instead, Gael managed to escape his clutches and turned the tables and killed him. She disappeared off into the sunset on her private jet.

That just left the Faith-Evan-Steve triangle to sort out. Un Bore Mercher has been full of fantastic moments and terrific acting, and the moment Faith asked Evan to get out of the house was one of them. He was cooking a chilli iin the kitchen and, as the children did their homework in the living area, she sidled up to him and whispered in his ear everything she knew he had done (he had also passed the photographs onto the prosecution during Madlen’s trial). He reacted badly, pressing a knife to stomach, threatening to kill himself. Faith, again, whispered, talking him down. He collected his things and left.

It was a fantastically tense scene.

For good? Who knows. He’d had some sort of affair with Gael and had done some bad things, but they were never explicitly revealed. Or confirmed. Or explained.

What we did know was that Evan was a coward to the last.

Now the path was clear for Steve to move in and be with the woman he had coveted for so long. Except… he had buggered things up, too. It was he who had taken the photographs of Diana and Will together for Gael Reardon. He had lied to Faith.

Another man, another lie.

She forgave him (forgave him that easily after everything she had been through?) but told him it would be a while until she trusted another man.

Too bloody right.

And yet, Faith – aside from emotional wounds – got off lightly. Breeze, who seemed content to strut about and not do an awful lot, kind of let Faith off. Why? There was enough on her to put her away for a good stretch.

In the rush to tie everything up, there was a sense it was all a bit unsatisfactory. Perhaps there was too much in this series; too much to fit in.

And yet this series was not a bad one. It was extremely well acted, Eve Myles fitting the character of Faith Howells so perfectly it felt like an extraordinarily natural performance. Add in real-life husband Bradley Freegard, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Madlen Vaughan, Hannah Daniel as Cerys Jones and Demi Letherby as Alys Howells, and you had an ensemble cast that was at the top of its game. There was always a sense that these characters’ relationships were intimate and believable, especially within the Howells family unit.

This series was about trust, and how people recover from making monumentally bad decisions. In that sense it was pure noir – one woman, in particular, trying to make order out of chaos.

But Un Bore Mercher did lose its way. Like its central characters, it had its flaws.

I hope it comes back for a third series.

Paul Hirons

READ MORE: Our episode one review

READ MORE: Our episode two review

READ MORE: Our episode three review

READ MORE: Our episode four review

READ MORE: Our episode five review

 

 

 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Dan Campling says:

    Series 2 was enjoyable but not in the same league as Series 1. Series 2 would have benefitted from the additional 2 episodes that Series 1 received as the pacing felt off and definitely rushed. But Un Bore Mercher being average is still better than most programmes on TV at the moment. On a different subject Paul I have a query regarding London Kills. The TV listings show it as being broadcast at 13:45 daily but at around 23:30 the same day, each episode is repeated on BBC 1. Do we know why? I’m wondering if the afternoon version is sanitised with the violence and swearing cut out, whilst the evening repeat is uncut. Any info would be greatly appreciated as I can’t find anything online.

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    1. Paul Hirons says:

      Not sure Dan – I’d be surprised if something like London Kills has any swearing or violence in it. It could be just filler and giving people who go to work a chance to watch again (although there’s iPlayer for that)

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      1. Dan Campling says:

        You may well be surprised Paul. I’ve downloaded and watched Episode 1 and it’s not the standard cosy afternoon stuff BBC normally show like Father Brown or Shakespeare and Hathaway, which is why I raised the question. (SPOILER ALERT) The victim in Episode 1 is tortured, stabbed to death then left hanging from a tree, and I don’t think the BBC will be happy to show that during the daytime.

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      2. Paul Hirons says:

        It’s more that it was made by Acorn that it’s a daytime thing. I’ll have a watch and see what it’s like…

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  2. Zeke says:

    I really didn’t like the casting of Gael. I have seen the actress in so many shows in other type roles to make it believable she’s a sort of Femme Fatale, mixed with Mobster.. Besides, she’s too old to be the ‘hot fling’ opposite Faith!

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  3. Tim Saville says:

    I may have missed it in earlier episodes but why was Madlen in a wheelchair?

    Also, how was the Howells practice supposed to survive when Faith and Cerys were running around all over the place playing policewomen, fighting with each other, driving along the beach, working out in the gym etc? And weren’t there massive conflicts of interest in Faith apparently at the same time acting for the company that Gael was trying to buy and for Gael herself?

    I can also see Faith running into major trouble with the Solicitors Regulation Authority over her participation in bribery, corruption, illegal parking etc, following which she could well go daaaahn.

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