In my review of last week’s episode of The Town I praised how writer Mike Bartlett had been able to combine the conspiracy elements of the Nicholas parents’ death with the humanistic aspects of the central characters however I feel this week his script has gone into overdrive. Personally I feel the main problem with The Town is that ITV have only allotted three episodes which I don’t think is enough to settle all of the stories that Bartlett set up. Obviously key to the success of The Town is the plot regarding Kate and Tony Nicholas and whether or not they committed suicide a story that had many twists in the tale especially Chris Franks’ affair with Kate. Though underneath this main story there are the plots involving Mark’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend Alice, Betty’s new job and her friendship with the slightly creepy Daniel, Jodie’s downward spiral, Mayor Len’s decision to step down and whatever’s going on with those two florist women. It seems a bit harsh then that this multitude of stories has been given such a short time to develop however as we’re in the run up to Christmas I suppose that’s all ITV could afford to give The Town.
We start this episode with Mark having been arrested after Chris Franks’ wife blamed him for her husband’s disappearance however they eventually let him go after there was little evidence to suggest he’d done anything wrong. Though this wasn’t the end of Mark’s hardships as Alice’s husband realises what she’s done and organises a mob of his mates to beat seven shades out of Mark. With Mark temporarily incapacitated it was up for Jodie to celebrate her 16th birthday alone though the celebrations were cut short when Betty ends up in hospital after falling down at the hotel. Eventually Mark arrives however Jodie is worried that his conspiracy theories are getting out of control and after another piece of evidence is found they think the crime has been solved. Mark though still isn’t convinced and after discovering that his mother bought flowers on the same day every year, which was the day that she died, he goes off to visit the florists to find out the truth. An angry Jodie lashes out once again by hooking up with the horrible Ashley while the nice posh Harry tries to win her back only to be turned down. In one of the most clichéd scenes in the entire episode Harry ends up winning Jodie back by saving the day when Ashley gets a little bit too hands on. Meanwhile Betty also discovers Daniel’s association with her son-in-law while we find out the true nature of the relationship between the florists. Then there’s the matter of Len’s resignation, and his instance that Shireen be his successor, a plot that does have its comic moments ending as it does with Renton’s annual tradition of bun throwing. Finally we have the resolution of Mark’s investigation and whether or not he’ll go back to London or stay to with his family and more importantly reignite his love affair with Alice.
Without trying to give too much away about Mark’s discovery or what actually happened to Kate and Tony I found the revelation a little far-fetched given the explanation of what happened. While the discovery certainly came from the left-field this wasn’t necessarily a good thing and I personally would’ve preferred a more believable conclusion. After offering up several likely reasons for the deaths, including Kate’s affair with Chris or possibly a robbery carried out by Daniel, I found the ultimate reason for their demise fairly disappointing. In addition I believe everything else finished a little bit too neatly with Jodie and Harry able to vanquish the terrible Ashley and Alice able to forgive Mark for ten years of hurt in addition to giving up her marriage for him. I also personally thought some of the characters were a little thinly drawn for example I would’ve like to have seen more from the relationship between Daniel and Betty as well as the two girls from the florists who provoked a massive ‘What?’ moment from me during this episode. Where Bartlett’s writing is at its best is in the representation of Renton itself and I found the bun-throwing segments quite apt for a town that has many traditions. Personally the strongest scenes in this episode came from Len’s attempts to get Shireen elected as the next mayor by having her suck up to some of the trickier counsellors.
The other way The Town has excelled throughout its run is through its ensemble cast who on the whole have been brilliant throughout. Andrew Scott has vanquished all memories of Moriarty with his performance as the troubled Mark a man who is often led by his emotions and whose quest for the truth has dominated the series. For me though it is Avigail Tlalim who has put in a career-making performance as Jodie and certainly signified herself as a young actress to look out for over the next year. Though the conclusion of her story with Ashley and Harry was a little weak it was her acceptance of her parents’ death that once again showed what a brilliant actress she is. I personally loved the little scene between Mark and Jodie in this episode where they finally celebrate her birthday and are able to laugh and joke like a normal brother and sister. Elsewhere Martin Clunes’ performance as Len has also been a revelation as he’s been able to jolt between his usual comedy persona and a darker more sinister edge that we rarely see from him. While I’m not particularly sure whether I liked the resolution of his character, or the silly voice Clunes used for that matter, overall I think the actor was well utilised.
Ultimately I don’ think that The Town will be remembered with any great fondness in a year to come but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained while I watched it. I think you could say that it would’ve benefited from a couple more episodes and a resolution that was a bit more believable but at the end of the day there was still plenty to like mainly thanks to the actors involved in the show.
What did you think to the final episode of The Town? Were you satisfied with the conclusion? Leave Your Comments Below.