Dates review – Episode Seven – Channel 4

Dates Stephen MiaI didn’t like episode seven. It was boring and felt like a 30 minute irrelevance. You can’t really do an episode as uneventful as this in a series like Dates. Normally, a TV show starts with pace and later in the series, once the characters are fleshed out, it can slow down and let the audience enjoy a quiet, reflective episode, safe in the knowledge that the viewers like and enjoy watching the characters alone, without plot. But the only character this episode we knew was Stephen, and we’ve seen very little of him.

In the episode, Stephen was supposed to be on a date with Mia, but she stood him up and broke off the relationship. Despondent, Stephen crashed a business conference, and hooked up with a delegate, Heidi, by pretending to be a businessman at the convention. After fooling around a little, Heidi realised Stephen’s deceitfulness and left.

Heidi is my least favourite character in the show so far. She went from brash and obnoxious to annoyingly flirtatious. She was arrogant, and the type of person who responds to ‘you’re hot’ with ‘I know.’ It’s fine to have negative characters in fiction but the problem was that the show portrayed Heidi as if she was ‘feisty’ and likeable. She wasn’t.

I do like the way Mia has been used these last few episodes though, hanging in the background, fucking things up for others. They introduced a strong, dominant character episode one, had her influence things from the background in some episodes in the middle, and are going to bring her back for the finale. It’s a nice idea.

This episode ended with Stephen leaving the hotel, remarking to a hotel worker that he’d had an okay time. I’m not really sure what was being said here. The camera lingered on the hotel worker for quite a long time. Maybe she was flirting with Stephen, but he was oblivious to it for some reason? I would have suggested the scene was supposed to indicate Stephen walking away from Mia content, storyline over, but he’s coming back for the final episode according to the cast list. I just didn’t understand that concluding scene.

The episode overall was a little strange; a wandering and largely irrelevant story that had little impact on the series. I don’t think it really added anything to Stephen as a character, beyond a single line about how his tendency to ‘play’ at life might be why Mia broke things off. It is not an episode that I’ll remember when thinking back on Dates a few months from now.

Random notes:

  • The episode was written by series creator Bryan Elsley.
  • The wobbly, hand-held camera work in the series gets annoying after a while.
  • I liked that Stephen was not averse to returning the dickishness back to the dickish business types who took his seat.

Dates Reviews: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six, ………………….Episode Eight, Episode Nine

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