True Love Episode 3 review: Billie Piper and Kaya Scodelario star in best episode yet!

by Matt D

As much as I’ve been enjoying True Love I have to say I’ve become slightly annoyed that ‘What the World Needs Now, Is Love Sweet Love,’ is constantly stuck in my head and in addition I just find myself randomly humming it from time to time.

There’s no escaping it though as it appears at the start of every episode, including our third instalment which features Billie Piper as a put upon teacher. I was taken aback at how dowdy Piper looked here, because even when she appears in period pieces, such as A Passionate Woman, she still appears utterly glamorous but True Love sees her don many an unflattering grey cardigan, while she is able to portray a woman who is seemingly stuck in a rut.

Piper’s Holly has journeyed back to Margate to be close to her mother, played by Jenny Agutter, and has taken up a job teaching English in a secondary school where she struggles to control her class, while at the same time doesn’t seem wholly passionate about her subject either. Her romantic life meanwhile involves brief liaisons with a married man, David played by Charlie Creed-Miles, who won’t stay overnight at her flat and seems to be using her for sex so when someone comes along who understands her she jumps at the opportunity to have a more fulfilling relationship.

The only problem is that the person in question is one of her sixteen year old students and even more shockingly it’s one of her female pupils. Karen, played by Kaya Scodelario best known as Effy in Skins, is the only one who understands Holly and the two bond at the afterschool art club that the latter runs. Holly is able to open up around Karen revealing her love of art, her wish to go travelling once again and her unhappiness with the state of her romantic life. As is the case with every episode of True Love the pair begin a sexual relationship however, unlike the previous two instalments, it didn’t feel grubby but rather I found the couple quite sweet. Through her relationship with Karen Holly is able to get the confidence to end her relationship with David, as well as stand up to her mother but of course all of this comes at a cost. It’s not long before the pupils in her class get wind of what’s been going on, thanks to Karen’s friend Lorraine telling everyone, and so she makes the decision to leave her job but is this the right choice?

For me ‘Holly’ is the best episode of True Love to date as it is the most sweet-natured because of the three characters focused on to date Piper’s teacher is definitely the most sympathetic. The two previous episodes have featured men playing away from home, albeit for slightly different reasons, however here we see how lonely it is being the ‘other woman’ and how hard it is to escape being part of an affair. The relationship between Karen and Holly is also incredibly lovely and I felt that Dominic Savage didn’t play up the fact that this was a lesbian relationship instead focusing on the fact that these two had, for the first time, found someone who had really understood them. Sure Holly’s class do taunt her when they find out the truth but if anything is played as a taboo it is the fact that the teacher has betrayed her position of trust with her pupil something Agutter’s character brings up in the second conversation with her daughter.

As I said Piper is brilliant here playing Holly as an unassuming character unhappy with her lot in life and looking for something to give her meaning which ends up being her relationship with Karen. I really felt for her in the scenes in which she is taunted by her unruly class, something that to me that seemed incredibly real, as well as in her unfulfilling affair with David. I also felt that she shared a winning chemistry with the equally excellent Scodelario even when they were simply smiling at each other in the school corridors. The jazz music that has haunted me throughout the first two episodes was also dropped in favour of a Cyndi Lauper heavy soundtrack, True Colours and Time after Time were both heard here, but I felt that more suited the tone of the central relationship. Like with episode one I felt that the amount of story on display deserved much more than the 25 minutes allotted to while I’m also getting a bit fed up with the amount of heart-to-hearts that have to be had gazing out towards the sea as it’s starting to feel like the show is being sponsored by the Margate tourist board. The inter-connected nature of the series is also really starting to be displayed as Karen’s friend Lorraine was also the daughter of David Tennant’s Nick while throughout the week both Karen and David will feature again.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed watching this episode of True Love and by the end I had a big smile on my face, which is something I couldn’t say had happened up to this point. I found it refreshing that the lesbian relationship was never sensationalised but rather it demonstrated that sometimes you can’t help who you fall in love with. This episode certainly gave me hope that the final two parts of True Love will be something special also even if I do get a certain song stuck in my head for weeks to come.

Did you enjoy this episode? What are your thoughts on True Love up to this point? Leave Your Comments Below.


  1. Elle on June 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I completely agree with this review of episode 3 ‘Holly’.

    When story lines are first discussed, any potentially controversial topics are usually pounced upon by those that feel it inappropriate to broach such gritty topics.
    The reality is, things are not always simple in life and sometimes happiness and sadness can come from unexpected and not always ideal circumstances.

    This portrayal of teacher-pupil, lesbian no less, did not sensationalise broken boundaries or the finer points of the sexuality. It was a touching and bittersweet story of two people finding each other when in their situation they shouldnt. Any longer in duration and the programme would have needed to explore the unavoidable consequences of such relationship. Instead, the episode just takes a brief picture of lovers, friends who are happy in that moment together.

  2. gail on June 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I have to agree entirely with this review. I actually cried at the end of last nights episode. I really felt for these two characters, in particular Piper’s character. What Billie Piper does well is vulnerable and she is endearingly heartbreaking when portraying this type of character. I haven’t been overly impressed with True Love so far, I’ve found it predicatable and at times cringe worthy to watch, in particular David Tennant’s episode but last night it took a huge turn in the right direction and I didn’t feel it was at all stilted unlike the previous 2 episodes. Put it this way, if it moved me to tears then it in my book that’s a job well done

  3. Dani on June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Completely agree with your review and with Gail. I love Tennant but the episode…I didn’t finish it. This one has been the only one I’ve liked so far.

    -From a viewer outside the UK

  4. Esther on June 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Completely agree. In David’s episode there were so many flaws. Vicky McLure and Lacey Turner as sisters – a cockney and a Nottingham accent. David and Vicky’s character had split up 17 years ago – Vicky McLure is in her late 20’s,was she 11 when they split up “because he couldn’t commit”???? Joanne Froggat at 34 was the mother of a 16 year old – not implausible I know but it just all didn’t add up. It felt a bit lazy and as though they thought “the viewer won’t notice”. Both the first 2 episodes were well acted but lacking in chemistry and believability. Billie Pipers episode was fab! The chemistry was excellent, I believed them, I felt their pain and I cared about the characters which hadn’t happened in the previous 2 episodes. A huge well done to all 3 actresses in this episode they all showed how talented they are. I hope the next episodes are as good.

  5. adrienne conway on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    The Billie Piper episode was the first one I had viewed.
    To go by the previous comments, and the review -if this was the best…! I found the film naive somehow something that might have been written ( or conceived) by a young idealsitic begginer. (writer not actors). I was not at all conviced by the attraction between the two women, nor the running off together!

  6. A. G on June 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Personally this was my favourite of the 5 episodes, It was different to the others, (obviously due to the fact it was two girls). However it captured me in a way nothing else I have ever watched has, By the end of the programme I felt happy for the two as they walked off together. Also episode 3 allowed people to view the lesbian relationships which are occurring more often in day to day lives, in a different sympathetic way, That you really cannot help who you fall in love with.
    Billie Piper herself astonished me at her talented acting skills, portraying a much different role than ever before. In addition to this i’d just like to say that the whole episode caught my attention in a good way, plus i didn’t want it to end, i felt like there should have been a continuation.

  7. Olivia on June 23, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I totally agree with all the points made above, out of all of the episodes of True Love I felt that this episode about Holly was the most heart-breaking but inspirational. The whole fact it was two women didn’t bother me at all but made me intrigued to find out what happened to both Holly (Piper) & Karen (scolderalio). There relationship was so believable and I wanted them to be happy together, Billie Piper I felt however was absolutely amazing. The way she played the role of Holly shJowing both a vulnerable and loving side made it also more believable.
    Being a young adult it gave me a whole new look on lesbians (i had nothing against them before watching this). It presented and showed how it doesn’t matter what gender or age you are but if you love someone that much your willing to scarifice everyone for them.
    I’m quite disappointed that there isn’t more episodes of True Love as I would of loved to have seen the challenges they have to take and whether it is infact ‘true love’

  8. A.G on June 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I agree to Olivia, i would have loved there to have been a continuation with the episodes to see what happened next and how they managed to cope with what was going on. However i think the next few scenes would be predictable, people finding out, the school prosecuting etc etc, I think True Love episode 3 gave us an insight to the facts and ways of live and how anybody and everybody can be affected by what goes on, Also i believe we should all treat others with the up most an greatest respect, this episode allowed me to realise more fully how lesbian relationships are no different to any other.

  9. YouCan'tHelpWhoYouLove on July 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Completely agree with the review 🙂 It was beautiful and Kaya and Billie are both incredibly talented, more talented than they get credit for sometimes.

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