Thursday, 7 June 2012

HIT & MISS – episode two & three

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Episode 2
Episode 3
After the premiere, this second episode felt like it was largely solidifying the relationships between the characters, and giving us more examples of how Mia (Chloë Sevigny) is changing—and being changed—by the young country family she's adopted. The three kids appear to be coming round to accepting Mia, despite an early upset when their smallholding is put up on the market by evil landlord John (Vincent Regan), humiliated after Mia beat him to a pulp last week. There were a few surprises here, too, like the reveal that Riley's (Karla Crome) CB radio Romeo is none other than John, and that Mia's gangster boss Eddie (Peter Wight) appears to be a real softy at heart. Although I got the impression that his plan to buy the farm from John and allow Mia to be his tenant isn't something that appeals to Mia, who's perhaps beginning to enjoy her independence and doesn't want to permanently be in Eddie's pocket.

The frustrating thing about Hit & Miss now, which didn't feel so apparent last week, is how Sean Conway's script often slips into unsubtle sequences (Mia, naked in a false Pinocchio nose, punching her own manhood in front of a mirror) and the dialogue isn't as nuanced as I'd like. It's all very abrupt and on-the-nose, really, which is a shame. The one thing the show excels at is capturing a mood, with some terrific landscapes and scene compositions. Hit & Miss has a strange, alien quality to it—which rather suits the fact it's about a "freak" adapting to a more normal existence, away from shooting criminals in the chest with a scoped rifle. The whole look and feel of the show is enough of a reason to keep watching, even when the actual content proves to be considerably less understated than you'd expect from a show with this pedigree. You do sometimes wonder if the show's going to run out of steam when they've exhausted all the possible ways to highlight the fact Mia's a woman-trapped-in-a-man's-body, and the meat of this drama (stripping away the transgender hitman gimmick) needs to take some inventive turns. As of right now, I'm a little concerned by the fact it's building a story around some rather corny threats towards family harmony.

That said, the third episode was a notable improvement over the second because it kicked things to the next level—mainly with the reveal to potential boyfriend Ben (Jonas Armstrong) that Mia's a man, and the manner in which she assured him a relationship with a pre-op transsexual isn't so bad (via a lingerie-clad blowjob, and probably more unsuitable for home-viewing). John admittedly became even more of a cartoon (shooting a cow dead with a shotgun, raping Riley then demanding she have an abortion now she's pregnant), and the subplot that little Ryan (Jordan Bennie) is having his eyes opened to the cruelties of the real world can get a little heavy-handed and bizarre (like the sequence where he painted his face green to liberate a tank of frogs from class, leading them to freedom by squat-hopping across the playground).

The thing is, Hit & Miss remains very pleasurable even when it's perhaps taking things to a silly extreme, or exploring characters and storylines that feel very clichéd. Sevigny's quietly intoxicating in the lead role (loved the sequence where she woke up in hospital after a hit-and-run and was led to the gent's toilet by the nurse), and the supporting actors are all doing good work—especially Crome, who should become a more famous name when people see her in Misfits later this year. With just three episodes left, I hope the scripts start to match Hettie Macdonald's direction and the first-class acting, because there are some worrying wobbles every five minutes or so (an unruly nightclub bouncer needed to be assassinated?), but the good outweighs the bad.

written by Sean Conway / directed by Hattie Macdonald / 29 May & 5 June 2012 / Sky Atlantic