Saturday, January 21, 2017

THE LEVEL Episode Five & Six review


Now THAT is how you end a season!

The story gets tied up, but ends in a place that feels like a natural extension of the tone and theme of the show-world. This is a dark, ambiguous place where people act selfishly and get away with it, or act on principle and get punished. 

It's been a couple of days since the show ended here in NZ (and months since it aired in the UK), so I'm not going to dwell on plot analysis. 

Here's a rambling run-through of general thoughts:
  1. I still cannot believe my prediction about Darryl (Lorne MacFayden) was correct. I liked the way his story played out -- he's just another damaged soul that Frank dragged into his orbit.
  2. I loved the not-happy ending between Nancy (Karla Crome) and Gunner (Noel Clarke). It was a bit of redemptive moment for her, and it also stopped the show from going full-on into a romantic clinch the show had not earned. And Gunner walking away was great -- he's the only character who remains on The Level.
  3. The final scene between Nancy and Hayley (Laura Haddock) is a great misdirect. Like the scene with Gunner, at first you are led to believe the scene is going a specific way: fed a line of BS by her mother, Hayley has become her gormless lapdog --  and then pulls the rug out. She wants to help Nancy bring her mother down, essentially as an undercover agent inside her own family. It redeems Hayley, who has been led astray throughout the series, while also setting out a new path for the story which is rife with possibilities, not all of them good. If this is the end of the series, it is wonderfully ambiguous. If not, it's a great cliffhanger for Season 2.

Final point: After watching this show, I am buying a seat on the Crome train (or is it the Crome-mobile?). She is the heart of this show, and a great spin on the noir fall guy. Nancy is strong but not a badass, smart but capable of big fuck-ups -- in summary, a complex human protagonist in a genre that is not known for depth.  

I've taken a look at her filmography and I'm going to take a look at reviewing some of her other work (Hit & Miss, Misfits). Watch this space.

THE LEVEL Episode Three

THE LEVEL Episode Four

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