Dates review – Episode Nine – Channel 4

Dates episode NineThe final episode of Dates brought back David and Mia from episode one, along with Mia’s other date Stephen. David was supposed to be introducing Mia to his children, and we jumped straight into the action without preamble, as Mia provocatively decided via her choice of clothes to signal that she didn’t want to take such a large step in the relationship.

Dates has done this a lot – digging quite early in an episode into the plot and characters – and it has been both enjoyably refreshing and admirable to see it done so well.

David got angry at Mia’s apathetic attitude and stormed off, leaving Mia to phone Stephen, who showed up with his son. While waiting for Stephen’s ex to pick her son up, Mia made small talk with the teenager to reduce the awkwardness.

Mia has been a problematical and inconsistent character. She has often been portrayed as a self-obsessed, arrogant and obnoxious. But such cunty people don’t engage others in small-talk in order to reduce that person’s awkwardness. I think the writers of this show were a little too in love with their own creation, and it blinded them to the flaws and inconsistencies in the character. Mia is supposed to be someone who puts on a front, but that doesn’t excuse unbelievable switches in a characters’ personality and actions.

There was also some poor writing in this episode. ‘So you just build a tower and make it fall down?’ Stephen’s son asked Mia. That line is filled with embarrassingly obvious subtext.

Oona Chaplin

Stephen’s ex arrived and picked up her son, leaving Stephen free to go back to Mia’s, where they found a drunken David with an injured hand. Stephen decided to bow out at this point, saying goodbye to Mia, and leaving the show with a final scene in which he phoned up his son and tried to restart their relationship.

David and Mia meanwhile discussed their own relationship, with David wanting something serious. Mia won out though, and in the final scene David accepted Mia’s direction to just continue having fun. So, at Dates conclusion, Mia has failed to resolve her problems, David is resigned to an unfulfilling relationship, and Stephen has probably got the best deal, realising he should focus on his son, and leaving the destructive Mia behind.

This love triangle bookended Dates, and was the storyline around which the show revolved. It was an interesting and original take on an overused plot. The rest of the episodes in Dates could be hit and miss, and the writing in the show was at times problematic. But it was a strange and original little series with interesting characters and subtly engaging directing, and I’m glad I watched it.

Random notes:

  • Not to be coarse, but the show certainly got a lot of mileage out of Oona Chaplin’s tits.
  • There were some nice shots this episode, like one of Stephen and David filmed from outside the bathroom, and the final shot obviously, with Tower Bridge in the background.
  • My favourite characters were probably Jenny, David and Ellie. Maybe Stephen too.
  • Favourite episode: probably Ellie and David, because I liked the characters, or Jenny and Nick, because it was a nicely contained short story. Least favourite: Jenny and Christian, the one with the lesbians or Stephen’s episode with the business conference.

Dates Reviews: Episode OneEpisode TwoEpisode Four, Episode FiveEpisode Six,  …………………Episode SevenEpisode Eight

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