Dates review – Episode Eight – Channel 4

Dates Episode EightHalf way through this episode of Dates I was thinking how nice and fresh it was to see a normal date between normal people for once. But then, oh no, wait, one of them is mental and a cultist and married.

You can assume the unrealistic plotting in Dates is being done on purpose then, with the joke here being that the audience thinks that they are finally watching a normal episode and then the crazy comes along. I don’t know though; I think it would be better if at least some of these films were normal and straight-forward and there wasn’t some twist or extremely odd behaviour or character in it.

Episode eight started with Sheridan Smith’s Jenny from episode two visiting an art gallery with Christian, played by Andrew Scott (the outstanding Moriarty in Sherlock). The date progressed in a light and enjoyable way, with the characters giggling their way through the awkwardness.

Back at Christian’s, the two had sex before Christian revealed that he was in some vaguely cultish religion. There was some slightly dodgy writing, as Christian just happened to zoom in on the Bible commandment about theft, telling the secretly kleptomaniac Jenny that people who steal are only doing so for reasons to do with self-esteem, and that they should realise that they are good people. It is really annoying when writers rely on such fortunate coincidences.

As Christian took a shower, and as everything seemed to be going well if a little strangely, suddenly another woman showed up, and it turned out Jenny’s new date was married.

Jenny talking this episode about her past dating horrors and about being left at the alter, along with the events of the second episode where her date fucked some guy in a toilet, all combine to make this episode’s conclusion a big joke on Jenny. Ha ha, Jenny is humiliated once again. That is a strange direction to go in with one of the most likeable characters in the show. I don’t really like seeing a nice character with internal self-esteem issues humiliated, especially not when the show seems to make that humiliation a big punchline.

The very last scene, with Jenny telling Christian to fuck off and throwing away her wedding ring, is supposed to be a moment of triumph. I’m not sure it was though, when the bulk of the episode was just a big joke on Jenny and was filled with preposterous events. Could someone in the same situation as Jenny, watching at home with, say, their own defunct wedding ring glued to their finger, get catharsis out of that ending, considering how unrealistic the rest of the episode was? It’s possible, but I think it could have been better written.

Random notes:

  • The discussion in bed about religion was good. A very accurate rendition of how awkward it is to discuss serious things with people you don’t really know.

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


5 thoughts on “Dates review – Episode Eight – Channel 4

  1. It wasn’t her wedding ring. It was the ring she had been compelled to steal (Cleptomania established in a previous episode) from his wife when the wife threw it at him on discovering his further infidelity…

    • Yeah, I watched it back, and you’re right. My mistake. I guess the triumphant ending was about Jenny throwing away her Kleptomania, but I still think that it rings false, given the absurdity of the episode and its punchline structure – also I’m not sure how the events of that episode lead to her suddenly solving her problems with stealing.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • I wouldn’t say she was a ‘dumb slut’ and I don’t see that in the character at all. Kleptomaniac yes, but you’re allowed to stretch reality a little in TV. I just think they consistently broke too much with realism in the series and I would have liked at least one episode with a normal date. Thanks for the comment.

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