The Syndicate Episode Six Review: Siobhan Finneran shines in the final episode of the lottery drama

by Matt D

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As those of you who have been reading my reviews of The Syndicate will know, I have not been a massive fan of this series. I have found that Kay Mellor has often neglected various characters and I’ve found some of the subplots fairly ludicrous. At the same time I’ve found the cast to be, on the whole, very impressive and this final episode is no exception. Here we finally fill in the gaps of Mandy’s story as we see how Steve ended up in the cellar and if Mandy can ever achieve the freedom she rightly deserves.

This episode starts with Mandy running into the police station to confess to her crimes once and for all. As the inspector interviews Mandy, she reveals what led to her drugging in the first place and why she later tied him up in the basement. In typical Syndicate fashion we then flash back four months where it is revealed that Mandy was studying for her nursing degree at college. This was obviously without husband Steve’s knowledge, so when Helen tells him what Mandy’s being doing he isn’t best pleased. Confronting Mandy about her lies, Steve whacks his wife across the face and gives her the black eye that has already been seen in various flashbacks. This incident with Steve affects Mandy’s confidence and so she is unable to speak during her interview for the senior nurse position. The job instead goes to Helen who reveals in this episode that she and Steve once had a fling following her divorce. We also find out the reason for Helen’s bitterness, namely that her husband and sister had an affair behind her back and are now having a baby together. Meanwhile Mandy gets the idea to start popping pills into Steve’s beers after seeing Tom pop some medication in a patient’s tea. While this plan works for a while, Steve finally discovers what his wife has been doing and confronts her about it. As he lunges at her, he falls down the stairs and breaks his leg. When this happens, Mandy calls Helen who doesn’t want any part of Mandy’s scheme as it will risk her reputation. Later Helen decides to blackmail Mandy for the money she rightly believes is hers and wants a million pounds for her silence. The episode then flashes forward to the end of last week’s episode in which Steve is rushed to hospital after breaking out of the basement.

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When Steve gets to the hospital, Helen once again threatens to expose Mandy’s secret unless she’s given more money. But instead of giving into Helen’s demands, Mandy stays strong and tells Helen to do her worst. Once Steve is released from hospital, it appears as if he’s turned over a new leaf and wants to make amends for all the wrong he has done. The other syndicate members also make sure that the police don’t arrest Mandy and instead try to make it seem like a bitter Helen is simply being vindictive. So Luke and Becky clear out all of the evidence from the basement while Tom replaces all the drugs that Mandy stole from the cupboard at the hospital. Though Mandy is free from arrest, it seems as if she won’t be free of her husband any time soon. By and by, Steve starts to get more possessive and is suspicious of any move that his wife makes. As Steve and Mandy prepare to go on holiday, she sees that the only way to escape her marriage is to hand herself into the police. Unfortunately for Mandy, there is no evidence to back up her story however the inspector is sympathetic to Mandy’s situation. Mandy is given the opportunity to take a restraining order out against her husband but decides against it. Meanwhile Becky apologises about forcing her parents back together as she didn’t realise the extent of Steve’s abuse. To make amends, Becky devises a plan and plants some items in her father’s luggage which gives Mandy the means to escape him at the airport. Becky also reveals that she bought a ticket to Crete for her mother so she can be free once and for all. However will Mandy get the freedom she so richly deserves or will it be snatched away from her once again?

As this is the final episode of The Syndicate, we are also given resolutions to the other characters’ storylines. It appears that after last week’s episode, Alan has decided his future is with Rose. The pair finally admit they have feelings for each other and cement their relationship with a dance at Tom’s housewarming party. Meanwhile we finally learn a little bit more about Tom namely that he and Natalie are getting married and expecting a child. Finally, Becky seems to be happy with Luke as she is no longer paranoid about him taking her money. It is revealed that she has bought a new car and given the other one to Luke while they are also planning a holiday with his brother. I have to say this is a surprisingly happy ending for all of these characters seeing as last series ended on such a bleak note. However, on the whole, this series of The Syndicate has provided us with some likeable characters and I’m glad that they all found happiness.

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I personally found this final instalment of The Syndicate to be the best that the series had to offer. That was partly due to the amazing performance from Siobhan Finneran who portrayed a victim of domestic abuse perfectly. You could see that Mandy found it hard to escape from Steve and had to lie to him in order to achieve any sort of happiness. I found that Steven Waddington added to the believability of Mandy’s storyline by playing a man trying to justify hitting his wife. Waddington is such a dominating screen presence that his threatening demeanour is totally realistic as he towers over Finneran. I found that Mellor perfectly tied up all of the loose ends in this episode and for once all of the plot twists made sense. The fact that I was really rooting for Mandy to escape her abusive marriage is a testament to Mellor’s writing and Finneran’s performance. The only issue I had is the everything ended a little bit too neatly for my liking as everybody got their happy endings, apart from the awful Helen that is.

Overall I have found this series of The Syndicate to be a frustrating watch mainly due to the fact that each episode focused in on one particular character. This meant that a lot of stories were put on the back-burner once a certain character’s episode had finished. I also found that a lot of the episodes lacked any ounce of believability and some of the plots felt incredibly ludicrous. Thankfully this series ended on a high due to this great episode that focused on domestic abuse and how some women feel incredibly trapped. I personally believe that The Syndicate should come to an end now as this second series has been fairly problematic from the start. I think that the decision to focus on an entirely new set of characters was a mistake and instead we should’ve caught up with the characters from series one. The only saving grace of this series has been the fantastic ensemble cast who deserve unanimous praise and probably deserved better than what they were given from Mellor’s incredibly patchy scripts.

What did you think of this final episode of The Syndicate? Did you enjoy the series as a whole? Leave Your Comments Below

5 Comments

  1. Ann M on April 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I enjoyed it very much, the cast were excellent.

  2. Karen on April 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Stellar cast, great series from the bbc.

  3. Julie on April 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Brilliant series. Really enjoyed it. Think the reviewer does not know what goes on in real life. This is real, these things happen. Very cleverly written. Good idea to use a new cast. Great acting. Hope we get a series 3 with a new story.

  4. Roger on April 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I agree – great cast but think Kay M writing and directing was a bridge too far as you missed/forgot about some of the characters as they were left on the shelf each week.
    Hated the Shirley Valentine ending too ?! Come on !
    That said still HEAPS more enjoyable than a lot of the other rubbish on currently!

  5. Christine on April 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    If Mandy didn’t know she was going to Crete until she opened the envelope while hubby’s bags were being searched – what happened to her luggage and how did she check in for the new flight?? Also if the syndicate had won £14m each, I don’t believe they would not have given Helen say £1m a piece – especially as they all seemed happy to carry on working (with her) apart from these biggies – brilliant – loved the touch of winner from series one now being an advisor albeit not a v good one.

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