Silk Series Two Finale: Maxine Peake, Rupert Penry-Jones, Neil Stuke shine in a satisfying conclusion to one of the best British TV shows around
Coming into the final episode of Silk, to an extent I thought I knew what to expect… namely Caroline Warwick and Martha Costello locking horns at the trial of Jody Farr with the latter struggling to defend the man who orchestrated the killing of Brendan Kay back in episode one. While we of course got the Farr trial, it was actually Clive and Martha who were going head-to-head on the day, due to one of this series’ subplots involving whether Caroline is a good fit for Shoe Lance Chambers especially after a discovery Clive made about what’s really in the plastic bottles she drinks from at court.
Clive’s involvement in the trial meant that we got to see he and Martha really go at it, which saw their relationship change but it was Billy’s loyalty to both of them that was put under the microscope in this final episode.
As we saw in episode one, Jody Farr is a sinister looking individual who is number two in the country’s most notorious crime family, the number one being his brother who is spoken of but never seen, and who Martha is only representing due to the deal she made with Micky Joy last week. Farr is on trial, along with courier Tony Conti, for the shipment of heroin, however he verhemently denies these allegations claiming he is being stitched up the police, a belief he conveys to Martha in a terrifying speech at the start of the episode.
The opening scene involving Jody, Micky and Martha was a joy to watch and exemplifies what’s so brilliant about Silk as the barrister and her client play a game of one-upmanship where she tries to show him she’s not afraid of him however the camera focuses in on her shaking hand. Though Martha does hate Jody for what he did to Brendan, she still believes that everyone she defends is innocent until proven guilty while Clive tells Caroline that Martha always fights for her client like a mother leopard with a broken leg defending her cubs, which to an extent must include himself as he pleads with her to represent him during his trial with the bar. We also see the relationship between Martha and law student Daniel grow, though it never becomes romantic, as she officially takes him on and in return he uses his prior life as a police officer to give her the inside information to crack the case and discover who it was that really set Jody up.
When Billy agrees to be Jody’s alibi, after accepting yet another bribe from Micky, he brings himself into the case and in a brilliant scene is questioned by both Clive and Martha which really showcases all three of Silk’s central cast members. Though for me this really was Billy’s show as we saw how he was trapped both in his professional and private life due to getting in over his head with Micky, as well as possibly having cancer. His bond with Martha has always been present throughout the show however this week he shows how protective he is towards Clive when he attempts to bribe the journalist who gave Clive the all-important photos during the Oxford case in order to stop him being disbarred. Once the trial is officially over, we see Billy involved in all the pivotal final scenes as he finds out his diagnosis, goes to Oxford to confront Clive’s nemesis before discovering whether or not Caroline has been voted into Shoe Lane. I’ve always highlighted the work of Neil Stuke throughout Silk but I felt this final episode really gave him a chance to shine as he struggled with the possible loss of his masculinity and also gave one of his all-important speeches to his junior clerks about first loves. Talking of the junior clerks we finally saw Jake pluck up the courage to ask Bethany on a date however as they only featured in one scene we never got to find out how it went maybe they’ll be a couple or maybe, like last year’s law students, they’ll have left the show altogether. This series’ other romantic storyline, between Clive and George, also got very little time devoted to it although it seems she has forgiven him for all his misgivings in the series and the pair went off to have a bunk-up once again.
Though there were again some parts of the dialogue which to me didn’t ring true, such as Martha telling Billy that the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, overall this was a satisfying conclusion to one of the best British TV shows currently airing. Maxine Peake once again was able to play the heroine here despite her being used under duress to represent Farr, Peter Moffatt’s script still allowed her to take the higher ground and ultimately sort everything out with the possible exception of Billy’s medical predicament. Though it will be a shame to see him leave I have also thoroughly enjoyed Phil Davis’ contribution to this series and I think his character bowed out in the right way with the door left slightly ajar for a possible return. I felt that Frances Barber was under-used here, but there was a reason for this, however now she’s officially a part of Shoe Lane I’m hoping that we get more of her next year while as I’ve said before Stuke was excellent.
The only major criticism I have when it comes to Silk is that it always ends too soon for me. Six episodes isn’t nearly enough time to dedicate to these morally complex characters played by some of the country’s finest acting talent. The fact that loads of money gets spent on reality shows and live sporting events while Silk only gets a handful of episodes is a ludicrous state affairs, however I’m glad to see that all signs point to it being renewed for a third series. I can only hope that on its return Silk will be granted more episodes as it is that rare beast of a drama that is well-produced but also does well in the ratings so the BBC should really jump at the chance to make the most out of it.
Have you enjoyed this series of Silk? Do you think it should’ve had more than six episodes? Leave Your Comments Below.
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