ITV’s Scott & Bailey Episode 2 review: Rachel’s wedding & Janet’s separation are explored in this flashback instalment

by Matt D


In my previous review of Scott and Bailey, I commented on how jarring it was that the events of the first episode jumped one year from the events of series two. Luckily this second instalment flashes back a year to show us what happened after Rachel discovered that her brother Dom had killed Nick Savage. This episode also explains why Rachel married Sean and how Janet’s marriage to Ade finally ended.

We start in the present day with Janet and Rachel heading to apprehend a suspected murderer. As they travel to his place of work, Rachel reveals that she had a one night stand with a man she met at a bar. She also tells Janet that she doesn’t regret the fling as she married Sean for all the wrong reasons. We then discover what those reasons actually were as we flashback to a year prior where Rachel apprehends her brother Dom for Nick Savage’s murder. The case isn’t that cut and dry though as Dom claims that Rachel wanted Nick dead. When Rachel is questioned she denies wanting Nick dead during a drunken conversation she had with her brother. Rachel later questions her sister Alison who adds that Dom felt that he was acting on Rachel’s behalf. Eventually the case is dropped however Rachel’s job is still on the line as she is asked to attend a hearing conducted by internal affairs. It is here that DCI Gill Murray really sticks up for Rachel, listing her merits as a detective and also championing the arrests she has made since being a part of her team. Whilst Rachel’s professional life is in jeopardy her personal life is solid as Sean decides to stand by his other half. Sean’s solidarity is part of the reason that she agrees to marry him though she seems to instantly regret her decision.


As the wedding plans continue, it is clear that Rachel isn’t really interested in her forthcoming nuptials. This is evident as she picks a very plain wedding dress and also decides that she and Sean won’t be going on a Honeymoon. While all this is happening, Rachel has to deal with the reunion with her mother. Rachel’s mum Sharon voices her regrets about abandoning her young children to run off with her boyfriend. As an emotionally vulnerable Rachel pours her heart out to Sharon it seems if the two are reconciled. But Alison later delivers a warning to Rachel namely to never trust Sharon as she is always after something. In the present day Rachel laments that she didn’t have longer between the hearing and her wedding as things may’ve gone differently. We also see her voicing her doubts to Alison and Janet who both tell her she has cold feet. But ultimately her feeling of doubt is apt as we see that she is now stuck with an incredibly dull husband.

Rachel’s wedding also sees a different side to Sharon as she starts to get drunk and ruin her daughter’s big day. She later makes a show of herself as she embarrasses her daughters by taking on the stage to perform a raucous karaoke routine. As Gill leaves the wedding, she spies Sharon having a sexual encounter in the car park with someone. When Gill shines her light on the pair it is revealed that Sharon’s male companion is none other than Rachel’s colleague Pete. Gill’s discovery leads to her reprimanding Pete and also explains why Pete was so angry at Rachel last week. Meanwhile Ade comes clean to Janet and tells her that he doesn’t think their marriage is working. Eventually she agrees and the pair decide to separate properly once their house is sold.

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I found this episode of Scott and Bailey satisfying mainly because it filled in plenty of the plot holes from last week’s opener. We now know why Rachel married Sean and what happened to Janet’s marriage. It also sees the resolution of Dom’s storyline and what happened with the Nick Savage case. My initial issue with this episode is why this story was interspersed with scenes of Janet and Rachel going off to apprehend a murder suspect. It appeared as if this investigation was given very little time to develop and that the scenes set in the present day really didn’t matter. However upon reflection I feel that Sally Wainwright is trying to say that these women’s personal issues come second to their job. This added to the overall theme of how the job of being a police detective often means that you can’t enjoy a successful personal life.

In terms of the performances I still feel that Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are both at the top of their game in Scott and Bailey. This episode was mainly Jones’ show as Rachel’s various stories took prominence over everything else. Jones was able to demonstrate a woman who’s emotionally fraught past meant that she had issues with proper grown-up relationships. This was later demonstrated through the reintroduction of Sharon, the woman who had abandoned Rachel when she was only a child. I felt Jones was brilliant throughout especially in the scenes in which she was forced to fight being prosecuted for Nick Savage’s murder. Despite this mainly be Jones’ episode, Lesley Sharp is able to shine in several pivotal scenes. I personally thought Sharp was great in the scene in which she and Ade decide to call it a day. These scenes are tenderly performed by both actors and I felt it was refreshing for a TV relationship to end quietly rather than with a blazing row. I was also pleased to see Amelia Bullmore being given more to do as she is asked to testify at Rachel’s hearing. Her speech at the hearing is nicely counterbalanced by her comic scenes later on when she discovers Pete in a compromising position with Sharon.

Overall this was another great episode of Scott and Bailey which focused primarily on the characters rather than their investigation. The performances and scripting were brilliant as always with Suranne Jones being notably great throughout. My hope now is that the narrative will only focus on events happening in the present day and not jump forwards and backwards in time. However I’m still looking forward to yet another instalment of this brilliant crime show.

What did you think to this episode of Scott and Bailey? Did you appreciate the flashback scenes? Leave your comments below….


  1. Karl Ward on April 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I was a tad disappointed by this episode and it’s mainly due to the disjointed flashback nature of the narrative. In last week’s episode, as you say, we were to assume that the events in the car park with Gill and her assailant are in the present and that the remainder of the story was 8 months previously. In this episode I was left thinking, is this the continuation from 8 months previous to the assault (plus the time taken on the last story) or a separate story previous to the events of the last part minus occasionally 12 months for the flashbacks, taking us 18 months back from the 2 minute present timeline at the start of pt 1! (Although I did wonder if it was just my little grey cells being sluggish!) Also, since we know that in the present the duo are back together, there was no tension in the suspension part of the story! But at least the acting was, as usual, superb.

  2. Sarah on April 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I love Scott and Bailey but I found this episode confusing and agree that the flashbacks and flashforwards jumped about too frequently without clear indicators of whether what we were watching was in the past or the future. I wonder whether this was originally meant to be episode 1 of series 3 rather than episode 2? This would have made more sense in that regard, particularly in relation to Rachel’s mum, who we had already met in episode 1 and knew of her unreliability and continuing dependance on alcohol.

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