READ: BBC’s Our Girl returning for second series? Lacey Turner could be back!
Over the last two weeks, I feel as though I’ve written the same thing about Our Girl; namely that two strong episodes have been let down by ludicrous moments in their final scenes. However, I have to report the opposite about this final instalment as I didn’t care too much for the first ten minutes or so, but then I felt it started to get going…
Although, judging from the comments about last week’s review, it appears that I’m in the minority when it comes to my lack of enjoyment of the romantic subplot, and there seemed to be a lot of viewers worried about the fate of Molly’s two love interests.
I feel part of the reason I didn’t particularly care for these opening scenes was because it felt like parts of the story Tony Grounds had to get out of the way. Molly’s initial trip to the military hospital and her troop’s subsequent deployment to Cyprus for decompression felt incredibly rushed. Similarly I found that Molly’s visit to the Birmingham hospital in which Smurf and Captain James were both patients was rather brief. However, these scenes did at least allow for the obligatory awkward meeting between Molly and the Captain’s ex-wife.
After complaining about how this love triangle had been handled by Grounds so far, I actually rather liked the way he dealt with it in this final chapter. I’m particularly referring to the way that, once she’s back at home, Molly spends some time with both James and Smurf, with differing results. A trip to the Captain’s hometown of Bath yields some home truths for both as one of them realises that they are not yet done with the army. Meanwhile, Smurf’s visit to Molly’s house, which is supposedly to plan their Vegas trip, is also brilliantly handled as he finally wises up to the fact that he can only be her friend.
The fact that the last few scenes of the episode feature neither men reinforces the fact that this is the story of a young woman who has finally discovered her purpose in life.
I think it was this theme that most of us loved about the original pilot, and I feel that Grounds has come full circle in exploring the character of Molly following her experiences in Afghanistan. What I thought was especially well handled was the issue of Molly’s constant flashbacks, which were superbly edited together and which made me think about what soldiers really go through when they return home from war. This was also perfectly exemplified through Molly’s inability to settle down at home, and her constant need to go running. I think that Molly’s struggle to find calm and inner-peace is something that this episode goes to great lengths to portray.
Another story that Grounds focused on in this episode was that of Molly’s continued worries about Bashira, which I’ve found to be one of the series’ best plots. Grounds let us know that even though Molly had left Afghanistan, her quest wasn’t complete until she’d discovered that Bashira was truly safe. This plot also allowed us to spend a bit more time with translator Qaseem, one of the series’ most underrated characters, who aided Molly by attempting to trace Bashira’s whereabouts.
As Molly spent the majority of this episode back with her family, we were once again privy to some fantastic performances from the actors who portray the Dawes brood. It was great to see that, after our last visit to them, Molly’s parents are back on track and appear to be more in love than ever. From his making ice cream floats to emulate their first date to their general manner around each other, it was fair to say that they were as close to being as much of a happy family as possible.
As Belinda and Dave, Kerry Godliman and Sean Gallagher have relished their time on-screen as the working class parents of a daughter who achieved more than they ever thought she would. They brilliantly conveyed their characters’ pride over their daughter being honoured with an award for bravery, even if she didn’t quite think she deserved it. Additionally, I felt that Godliman, Gallagher and Ruth Sheen as nan perfectly played a family who didn’t quite know how to react to Molly’s behaviour. I was particularly a fan of Sheen’s one interaction with Molly after she received an e-mail from Qaseem. Sheen was great at portraying the confusion of somebody who would never quite experience the same horrors as her granddaughter.
Molly’s ultimate decision to go back to Afghanistan, in order to train the country’s medics, felt like the only way the character should go. Lacey Turner’s portrayal of Molly’s restlessness alluded to the fact that she couldn’t settle back into society the way that James or Smurf had planned to do. Molly’s return to Afghanistan also allowed Grounds and director Anthony Philipson to create one last thrilling set piece that had me on the edge of my seat. Everything about this final sequence was perfectly executed, so much so that I felt that Grounds should have ended things there instead of including that post-credits scene that hinted at where a second series of Our Girl may lead.
Whether or not this second series will materialise is really the decision of the bosses at BBC One, but I do feel that this first run has been popular enough to justify more from Molly. I particularly want to see more Our Girl thanks to the performance by Lacey Turner, who has been absolutely outstanding, especially during the series’ action sequences.
Aside from Turner’s excellent portrayal of a young medic, Our Girl has made a serious mark due to the fact that it’s totally different from any other BBC drama. The use of young actors, the lack of star names and the focus on the military offer a refreshing change from what the major channels often offer up on a Sunday night, and the BBC should be applauded for giving this a chance. Judging from the aforementioned comments I’ve received, it also appears that a large majority of the audience have become invested in Grounds’ characters, and I’m sure would be eager for another series of Our Girl.
I’d like to finish this review by thanking everybody for their comments, and it was great to hear some differing opinions about the elements of the series that I wasn’t particularly hooked on. Going into this final episode of Our Girl, I definitely had my reservations, but I loved how Grounds finished the series. I’ve always seen Our Girl as the story of how Molly learned to stand on her own two feet, and the fact that she’s now gone from student to teacher was a joy to watch. I’m now just crossing my fingers that a second series of Our Girl is commissioned, and I’m guessing a lot of you will be doing the same.
What did you think to the final episode of Our Girl? Would you like a second series?
Leave your comments below.