Scott & Bailey: Series 4, Episode 3 (Damaged).

Previously on Scott & Bailey: Series 4, Episode 2.

And just when Rachel is getting her stuff together and Gill gives her a mountain of tasks to get through because she’s the new Sergeant and Gill trusts her, Rachel’s mother reappears. At least she sent a text.

My fiance has been arrested. I’m on my way to see you.

Oh, goody gumdrops.

I mean, it’s not as bad as the trailer last week made it look. Everyone messes up, and Gill is a demanding superior officer, but she’s also not the type to hold a grudge. You can see it on her face in the scene in the restroom with her, Rachel, and Janet. She thinks highly of Rachel, and it’s going to be fine if her new Sergeant takes her advice to heart and pulls her stuff together.

That conversation between Rachel and her mother in front of her fiancé’s house is chilling. The way domestic abuse works, the way abusers work is so clearly laid out here. Telling her that he’s been with some “evil-minded bitches” and that all the charges — all the convictions — in his jacket were trumped up by vindictive women looking for a score… yup, that’s abusive rhetoric. Playing the good guy for as long as it takes to bind his targets to him, and then they won’t know what hit them. Literally. And then telling the next one that it’s all lies, he’s not like that, he’s the real victim here. And Rachel’s mum is so lonely, so starved for attention that she falls for it; and even though Rachel is determined to keep her out of her life, she’s terrified of that happening to her mother. There’s a moral conundrum there: is Rachel obligated to take her mum in, or to make her stay at a hostel?

Rachel’s mum does not deserve being beaten by her new fiancé, even if she walks into disaster with eyes open after not heeding a warning like that. If it happens, no-one gets to say ‘I told you so.’ Even knowing what kind of man that is, if it does happen, it’s still not her fault that he’s an abuser. That’s on him. However, if Rachel had bundled her into the car and taken her somewhere, she probably would have been back with him within 24 hours. It’s a very, very grey area.

The case was very well done, too. It didn’t disappear beyond Rachel’s mum troubles, and it made some great points about domestic violence both against women and men, and about same-sex relationships. Mitch calls Pete out on how he defines “gay sex games” precisely because it’s bollocks — and he does it gently, but in a way that gives you a classic example of how easy it is to get anything from misguided preconceptions to outright prejudice to crash and burn, simply by asking, “What do you mean?” or “Why?”

Sadly, next week, Gill is going to let slip that she offered Janet the Sergeant job first and, understandably, Rachel is not going to react well.

Next on Scott & Bailey: Episode 4.

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