Monday, 21 November 2011

The Slap episode four review: Connie - this week it's a coming of age drama, with scenes in a, er, vets

Right now the only thing jarring in The Slap is the 'and starring' billing for Melissa George in the opening credits.

It jars slightly because The Slap is an ensemble piece, and each week a different character takes a turn to lead.

And so episode four belongs to Connie, played by Sophie Lowe.

Connie's a 17 year old veterinary assistant and has a huge and potentially dangerous crush on Hector, the 40-year-old husband of her boss.

Connie's also got a thing for moping about his house and going through his old photo albums, while she babysits his kids.

She checks out old black and white snaps of Hector in his shorts being all young and handsome, and as she does so she moons about with her big doe eyes and long blonde hair not really knowing what she's doing.

And, as is the custom in The Slap now, there's lot of eerie, plinky plonky musical keys striking a sympathetic yet also a disconcerting note as she does so: there's trouble ahead, the music tells us, and the characters are having Deep Thoughts.

Quick fumble

But then when Hector gives her a lift home, she knows exactly what she's doing - enticing him in for a quick fumble in his car. He should know better of course, but doesn't. And she's in the driving seat (not literally; figuratively).

And so, as is also the custom with The Slap, the episode is a total gripper from start to finish.

The troubled, clever, orphaned, sexual, confused, manipulative and kind Connie is there in all her contradictions, and her eventual guilt about her brief tangle with Hector, and his eventual rejection, which makes her briefly say Hector raped her, lead her to a friend's party, and discovering a more wild side to teenage life, before ending up with a younger-Hector lookalike.

Seventeen year old girls feature in tv drama all the time, and Connie's part in the 'slap' didn't seem that significant to begin with - but her 'journey' (if you will) - a sort of coming of age story but with scenes set in a vets - made for the kind of engrossing and character-led episode we've all come to expect from this series.

And as for that star billing for Melissa George? Okay, she's done some films in the US, but here in the UK we still know her mainly for her role as Angel in Home and Away and it seems odd she'd trump, say, Oscar nominee Sophie Okendo in the billing stakes.

But no matter - when the only thing you've got to criticise is the billing of the cast you know you've got a good show.

Perhaps Melissa George just has a good agent.

We'll soon see - it's her episode next.

Related stories:
The Slap episode seven review - Aisha: Another part of the jigsaw
The Slap episode six review - Manolis: It's all still quite bleak...
The Slap episode five review - Rosie: confusing sympathies in the toughest episode yet
The Slap episode four review: Connie - this week it's a coming of age drama, with scenes in a vets
The Slap episode three review - Harry: TV drama as washing machine (in a good way)
The Slap episode two review - Anouk: It was good; we liked it
The Slap episode one review: Where logic and emotion collide, sort of, at a barbecue

What next?

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