As much as I love Silk, I have to admit that last week’s episode wasn’t up to the usual standard as I found the main case, involving a prison van driver charged with negligence, to be a little dull while the only new plot progression was the introduction of new legal student Daniel. Thankfully this week the standard has improved, possibly due to the fact that Peter Moffat has resumed writing duties, as several plot strands that have been building throughout the series come to a head before next week’s finale.
One of those strands is the case of Fatima Ali, which originally bought Clive and George together, who is accused of getting drunk and stabbing her brother to death with a bottle. Clive is obviously eager to demonstrate his legal prowess up against Frances Barber’s Caroline Warwick however after she offers him a place alongside her on the Jody Farr case he instead agrees to plea to manslaughter in order to wrap the Ali case up early putting Martha in his place to finish things up. Obviously this being Martha she doesn’t want to plea taking the case to trial and once again battling against Warwick, which allows Peake and Barber to bounce off each other perfectly, arguing that the fragile Fatima was actually a victim of circumstance. Although Martha comes close to clearing Fatima on her own its a piece of evidence from Micky Joy which enables her to convince Caroline to drop the case once and for all. Obviously a favour from Micky comes at a price that being him finally being able to convince her to be the QC in the Jody Farr case which is a task he tries to carry out all episode including a very powerful meeting in a cafe in the opening scenes.
Of course this cafe meeting is engineered by the ever manipulative Billy, whose constant pestering of Martha comes to a head this week, and who also recieves his own storyline. The opening scenes of this episode involving Billy sees him trying to urinate in a public toilet however when he is finally able to do so he finds blood and has to go for a doctor’s appointment. The inevitable revelation that he may have cancer prompts Billy to be more brusque than normal snapping at his junior clerks for constantly questioning his decisions as well as clashing with Caroline after her interview to join the Shoe Lane Chambers. We also see Billy’s caring side this week as he starts to worry about Martha after she takes on a pro bono case arguing the release of a death row inmate in an unnamed Caribbean country. This case did lurk in the background for most of the episode, especially when the Ali trial got started, however as I mentioned it did allow Moffat to demonstrate how much Billy wants to look after Martha. Neil Stuke is brilliant as ever here and I personally believe he’s the most valuable member of the cast as was demonstrated in the scenes after he believes he may have cancer.
That’s not to do play down any of the other main cast members all of whom get their chance to shine here in an episode which balances all of their stories equally. Maxine Peake’s ability to make Martha a principled character came across here once again in the scene where she convinces Fatima to give evidence after telling her a rather harrowing tale of her youth. Just like all the other characters in Silk it seems that Martha isn’t infallible caving in to Micky Joy’s demands to prove Fatima’s innocence we also see her break down at the end of the episode when she realises she can’t save everyone. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Martha as it seemed that she grew closer to charming law student Daniel who has replaced Nick as a new hunky sidekick for Miss Costello albeit one who isn’t as wet-behind-the-ears. Some detractors of the show have criticised Peake for her constantly changing accent but for me I felt that Martha is a character who tries to put on a plummy voice whenever she is in court but elsewhere she relaxes into a more comfortable Northern twang. Though Peake was excellent as ever for me this was Frances Barber’s episode allowing us the audience to really get to know Caroline both in her interview scene and her closing one with Martha.
The one thing I’m not too fond of in Silk is the long speeches that each character delivers to get their point across while I think it works for Billy they start to lose their impact when every single person launches into a monologue. This was most true of Micky trying to convince Martha to represent Jody by telling her a tale of him getting one of his teachers fired as revenge for him discovering the young Micky with a naughty magazine while in the toilets. As much as Phil Davis was excellent here I just felt that Micky was someone who didn’t have to resort to telling tales of his past to get his point across and he was much better when he was threatening Billy. Another problem for me was that there was no mention of Clive’s letter from the bar association and indeed Rupert Penry-Jones disappeared completely towards the end of this episode after he was kicked to the curb by George.
Overall though this was a brilliant penultimate episode which ended the Fatima Ali case while at the same time building up our interest in the Jody Farr trial which will see Caroline and Clive take on Micky and Martha in what will be an all-out battle. We’ve also got a lot more to look forward to namely discovering if Billy does indeed have cancer, if Clive is disbarred and if junior clerk Jake will finally pluck up the courage to ask the beautiful Bethany out on a date. Whatever happens I for one will be watching and bemoaning the fact that a programme that is as great as Silk will be leaving us again after just six episodes.
Are you enjoying Silk as much as I am? Are you looking forward to the final episode? Leave Your Comments Below.