Episode four of The Mimic was probably the weakest of the four aired so far. It certainly wasn’t the funniest, and the first 15 minutes were slow and kind of boring. The second half was better, and the plot moved forward at a quicker pace.
The episode opened with Martin moving back in with Jean, leaving Neil alone in his house of paranoia and despair. Back at work we see Martin scrapping chewing gum of the ground, in a nicely directed shot that tilted down past the watchful eye of his much younger boss to find him down on his knees scowling. With his voice-acting career burgeoning, Martin’s starting to resent his menial work, and he has a growing self-confidence about his mimicry abilities that was lacking in earlier episodes.
After some annoyingly indulgent impressions of Terry Wogan, Martin attended a recording session for a Sat Nav product, where he was faced with the reality of making money out of creativity i.e. it can be boring and routine and it doesn’t hold as much excitement as he might have thought.
The scene that followed went on way, way too long. After the sound engineer left the studio, Martin began doing various different impersonations. The scene lasted over two minutes and I completely lost interest in what was happening. I guess the point was to show how Martin can disappear into his own world at times but we don’t need two minutes in order to get that.
Maybe if you really liked impressions the scene would be enjoyable but I expect most of the audience was losing patience after the first minute. It also wasn’t very believable; would he really get on the table and start pretend swimming? I mentioned last week that if The Mimic is going to strive for naturalism then it can’t be doing wacky, over-the-top things.
As it turned out, the whole thing was filmed, swimming actions and all, and was uploaded to YouTube were it became a viral hit. ‘Freaky voice man…that’s who you are now,’ Neil says, with a fantastic delivery from Neil Maskell that suggested he believes Martin is now a completely different person. Back at his job, the employees of the company Martin works for were now all staring at him. ‘They’ve never looked at us before,’ his fellow custodian says. It’s not particularly subtle social commentary, but it’s true all the same; how invisible certain people can be, to certain other people.
Martin is not so much worried about his newfound fame, or people thinking he’s a freak, as he is about all the people he’s lied to finding out who he really is. It’s a nice little character moment; Martin has built his ego on the back of pretending to others that he’s somebody else, and now all that is coming crashing down.
The other main plot point in this episode is the reveal that Dionne, the mother of Martin’s son, has cancer. This has been pretty obvious for a while now, but I think the writer was illustrating again how oblivious and self-absorbed Martin is; he can’t see things that everyone in the show and in the audience can. Maybe I’m over-thinking things though, and it was just clumsy writing.
In the funniest scene in the episode (because Neil is in it), Jean, Martin and his family get together at Neil’s house to eat the probably terrible dinner he cooked for them, and to admire his childish, awful art. They are celebrating the news that Martin is to appear on a TV show, which he’s accepting with a mixture of happiness and fear. There’s pleasure to be taken from success in life, but it also raises the stakes. As Martin says at one point: “I used to just do my voices in the car, and now people are saying that some of them aren’t that good.” We’ll learn next week how Martin copes with the negatives success can bring.
- ‘Mind you, bad means good now doesn’t it?’ ‘Yeah, if you’re a pimp in 1970’s New York.’ ‘Well, who knows who these people are?’
- ‘His OBAMA is BAD,’ says a YouTube comment. It’s true, which makes you wonder why they keep including it in the show, if they know it isn’t great.
- ‘What’s a fucktard?’
- ‘How old are your kids Neil?’ ‘What, you can tell I’ve got kids just from looking at my art?’
- ‘This is called woman with out stretched arms.’ ‘But she’s got her arms by her side though?’ ‘No, it’s woman without stretched arms. It’s the companion piece to woman with stretched arms.’