Thursday, 21 June 2012

HIT & MISS - episode five

Thursday, 21 June 2012

It's still as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face, but Hit & Miss has proven to be oddly enjoyable despite that failing. As penultimate episode's go, this one didn't leave me desperate to see next week's finale, but I enjoyed the repercussion of Riley (Karla Crome) shooting John (Vincent Regan) dead as he tried to strangle her. It predictably led to Mia (Chloƫ Sevigny) taking charge of the situation, behaving suspiciously calm and collected around the gruesome scene, while getting into further debt with crime lord Eddie (Peter Wright), who acted as the "cleaner" to dispose of John using an axe and some plastic bags. John may have been the show's most overtly villainous presence, but Eddie's the one Mia really needs to escape from if she's to live a normal life (as a woman, with her newfound family). But Eddie has his hooks in deep; even giving Levi (Reece Noi) a job and feeling of responsibility.

A few things have started to irritate me, however. I'm confused about why little Ryan (Jordan Bennie) is now best-friends with John's son, who earlier in the series was nothing but a torment. Did I miss something, or forget a key development in their relationship? Ben's (Jonas Armstrong) dithering about whether or not to pursue a romance with Mia, reconciling his first instinct to run a mile when he learned she's a he, has also meant the character's been swimming in a small circle for a few episodes now. At least this episode, with Ben having penetrative sex, appears to put an end to that character's indecision. Or will Mia fly off the handle when she discovers he slept with a "real woman" to try and get over her? It also irritated me that two professional killers, Mia and Eddie, failed to succeed in a simple task of hiding a dead body—with the kids discovering John's decapitated head before the credits rolled. I mean, really? And what's with the creepy uncle, hanging around like a bad smell and doing magic tricks to entertain the kids? Is he just there to show that a dysfunctional weirdo is actually less dangerous than the more ordinary-looking Mia?

As I said, subtle is not this show's strong suit. The dream sequence with Mia playing hostess to a dinner table of her bloodied victims, as they passed a parcel around that contained John's head, was perhaps the biggest example of this. It was fun, but far too obvious. Or maybe it was the moment Mia donned a pregnancy suit, brandishing two handguns, after watching a "real woman" give birth (something she'll never, ever be able to do—which is the ultimate expression of femininity.)

Together with the fact much of Hit & Miss is trading on reheated soap-y plots, and I spend most episodes wishing the writing was more multifaceted. At times, it feels a few drafts short of the finished article, and when things get a little too conventional they remember to throw in a sequence where Mia's on a job and kills a mark. But as I've said all along, the performances are good and it's quite tricky to see where things will go. My guess is that Mia's going to kill Eddie (as the only means to escape her past), and the family are going to discover her true occupation. Whether or not they accept this, and let her turn over a new leaf, is anyone's guess. So too is whether Riley's going to confess to killing John because the guilt's too much. Or will Mia take the fall for her, proving herself as a "mother" and repenting for her sins by going to jail?

Hit & Miss isn't the masterwork I was hoping for when it was announced, but it's largely enjoyable and manages to keep you watching week to week. Credit the commitment of the fine cast and the superb cinematography from David Luther, but it's a shame the scripts aren't a great deal sharper and more perceptive.

written by Sean Conway / directed by Sheree Folkson / 19 June 2012 / Sky Atlantic