Previously on Scott & Bailey: Episode 6.
Oh, here we go. Perhaps not all hope is lost, but, hell, this is trouble. The thing that hurts so much is the thought that you like someone, you’re proud to be working with someone, and you think you know them; but then it turns out that maybe you really didn’t.
It’s a huge thing for a TV show to take one of their leading characters and twist them and our and their friends’ perception of them like this. Making a character who started out so likeable, so no-nonsense and clever into this and taking them to this level of fucked up is brave, because the drama can draw you in, but it can also alienate viewers from the show. Not necessarily because of Rachel’s behaviour itself, but because the mess that she’s dragged into the station is becoming a looming shadow on the syndicate, and thus on the general narrative. It’s been escalating for three series, and there might be parts of the audience going, ‘You know what, enough already.’ (It’s a bit like having Daleks in every series finale of Doctor Who three years in a row.)
I liked Rachel, I really did, and I still do. Well, I’m torn, really. From a narratological point of view… see, the camera cheats. Narration in a TV series isn’t necessarily reliable, and what Janet’s saying in her talk with Rob is, essentially, exactly that. What if we’ve been seeing Rachel through Janet’s eyes this entire time, and it’s only now, with Janet’s changing perception of her, that we’re seeing more of the picture. Janet is definitely seeing more of that picture, and she doesn’t like what she sees. She wonders if the personal connection that she thought she had with Rachel was only a fluke, that they just got along professionally, and that Rachel’s personality just never really came out—or, at least, these unpleasant parts of it. Janet’s wondering if Rachel’s been like this all along, and if she’s just been blind to it.
The question for us as an audience is: are we wondering that, too?
The fact of the matter is that Janet has every right to be appalled and pissed off at Rachel’s behaviour that night; and the things Rachel said to her in the car… wow, that hurt and that was totally uncalled-for. Taking Kevin to Janet’s was the last straw; anything before that, they could have come back from, even from that stupid email. Janet’s fury stems from Rachel’s betrayal of Tasie, mostly. I completely understand that she doesn’t want anything to do with Rachel for the foreseeable future. Rachel is giving her no reason to believe that her support means anything. Yeah, she’s being harsh, and cruelty really isn’t her way, but I get it. At some point, it’s just too much, and the anger just turns to ice.
Do we know Rachel Bailey, do we trust in our feelings for her? Do we believe that she can get her shit together and redeem herself, both as a friend and as a police officer? And can we wait for her to go back to normal next series?
I’m rooting for her to get back on her feet, and I do hope that perhaps Janet can give her another chance. The fall-out from Sean was mostly as expected, though I really hadn’t thought he’d be dumb enough to march into MIT and punch Kevin in the face. Bloody hell. That was laying it on a bit thick.
In everything else, this script, written by Amelia Bullmore, was brilliant indeed; and I think this was the pinnacle of the series in terms of everybody’s acting. Suranne and Lesley killed it with their combined body language, not just the dialogue.
Kudos to Rob, by the way, for taking care of Janet the way he did—and, again, no kudos for the writers for inserting that stupid butt-nipping thing last episode. There’s no lingering awkwardness between them in this episode, and Rob seems just genuinely sweet and concerned—it’s like it never happened. And, given how still distressed he was by it at the end of last time, it should never have happened, plot-wise, because with this following on the heels of it, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It was stupid and unnecessary and completely inconsistent, and it still makes me cringe; and it marred my viewing of that scene. Rob’s a great guy and a good Sergeant.
The scene in which Gill got the news about the outcome of the mole hunt was really, really good—you could have cut the air with a butter knife. So it really was Kevin who was leaking information to the press. He was the only option, really, but it’s still sad. (The trouble is, he is a bit of a twat.)
Next: Episode 8.