The Replacement: Bathos of the Century

I’ve slept on it and I’m still as confused as if I too had swallowed a fistful of pills. I’m referring to BBC’s The Replacement, the three-part drama that concluded last night, and disappointed millions whilst at it.

Let me recap what I did get. Ellen is a successful architect who is pregnant and fast-approaching maternity leave. She employs a temp to oversee the finishing touches of her new library but her overly-friendly Replacement, Paula, begins to seem amiss to Ellen. Paula is very protective towards the unborn baby. Intrusive, even. And they become obsessed with each other. We are left wondering which lady is the mad one. Is Paula trying to take over Ellen’s life, or are Ellen’s motherly instincts turning into paranoia?

The first two episodes were excellent. A delectable psychological drama is totally my thing! Difficulty came with watching the characters -bar Ellen- lapping up Paula’s artificial sweetness.

‘She’s evil!’ we wanted to shout.

So that brings me to the first severed end: Kay. Paula apparently killed Ellen’s best friend and colleague, Kay. But why did Kay phone up Ellen from the new library late on the night of her tragic death? She knew something. Something that had to be said in person at the library – the one place Ellen was banned from entering on risk grounds. Best friend, my arse.

With high expectations, I anticipated it ‘all to fall together at the end’ (as my dad always assures me when I exclaim, ‘I don’t get it’ during every programme). Instead it all fell apart.

Ian left Baby Lia on the balcony of their flat, foreboding her kidnap by Paula. He popped his carbonara in the microwave and the baby, as predicted, had disappeared when he returned. But can someone please explain (1) how Paula knew the baby would be on the balcony and (2) how the psychopath managed to climb up to the balcony and climb back down holding a cradle.

But the bigger question is what compelled Ellen to get into Paula’s car? To willingly be locked in a car alone with a murderous lunatic seems a silly thing to do. And then to take a handful of strange blue tablets under orders of the same lunatic also seems silly. Come on, Ellen. You’re smarter than this!

Upon waking from her heavy sleep (apparently they were sleeping pills?!), architect Ellen turns mechanic. Not being a mechanic myself, I’m unsure as to what exactly she does but it’s something clever with wires. The car flies through the garage door and Ellen hits the road James-Bond-style.

So it turns out that Paula is insane and Ellen was right all along. Woopee! Bathos of the century. I am baffled as to what the critics saw in it. Every respectable newspaper had nothing but praise. At least fellow tweeters saw the light.

Note to the BBC

I think I will forgive you for such a descent because most of your shows are top-notch. Line of Duty, The Missing, Death in Paradise, to name a few. I won’t mention this again to save you the embarrassment.

X

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The Lie – C.L.Taylor

In need of a real gripper to trial my new kindle with, C.L.Taylor’s The Lie was a strong contender. I read the Accident a few years back and remember really enjoying it and The Lie had positive reviews so I decided to take the plunge. And, boy, did it not disappoint!

Flicking between past and present, the reader follows Emma/Jane from her previous life to the new one she has fabricated. Five years ago, Emma went on an ‘adventure of a lifetime’ with three friends. The hippy of the pack planned a retreat to Ekanta Yatra in the Nepalese mountains. Fooled by the paradisiacal description, their friendships and lives are slowly strained and wrecked before us. Five years on tells the tale of animal-lover ‘Jane’ and how she has pieced back a life for herself. But someone is starting to rip in apart again. The less you know the better…

I felt both aggravated and attached to the characters. The hatred I felt towards Leanne was softened by her mental difficulties and bumpy upbringing; the same for my irritation towards whiny Daisy. Emma was relatable and Al was loveable. The characters felt real and I unpicked their layers as the novel progressed; they were far more complex than first apparent.

Other reviewers have criticised the unrealistic storyline. I second that, although the excitement and unpredictability would be non-existent if it were set in a generic city with simplistic characters. The unfamiliarity of a cult and its ritualistic nature is necessary to take the reader beyond their depth. My only drawback would be the slightly rushed ending. Nothing was left open, so whilst satisfying, Taylor seemed to face quite a challenge hastily tying up loose ends in the space of a few pages.

Poignant and purposefully written, The Lie had me eagerly awaiting bedtime reading. I would recommend this book to suspense-hungry readers because the cliffhangers in this book will keep you reading far too late in the night!

So THAT’S what a skip is for!

 

What does ‘King’s Cross’ mean to you?

Harry Potter fans will squeal ‘PLATFORM 9 3/4!’.

Avid globetrotters will call it their door to Europe.

And for me, Kings Cross is where Skip Garden lies.

‘Skip Garden?’ I hear you ask. Well, it is exactly what the namIMG_0301e says: it is a garden with lots of skips! Offering respite to the office workers, builders, tourists and busybodies like me, it hides amongst building sites and looming architecture just a 10 minute walk from the infamous Kings Cross.

Rusty skips are brimming with petals of rich reds, valiant blues, dreamy violets and glowing yellows. Apple trees wind around fencing and hang languidly over the skips, shading them. Dotted between the skIMG_0277ips are sheds, small and large, lined exhaustively with potted plants. And two little sheds are converted into the most dazzling toilets; a handy addition for needy visitors. Skip Garden is also the home of two very lucky chickens. Probably the only live ones in Central London.

If the awe of the skips, sheds and chickens is not enough to distract you from a rumbly tummy, never fear. Skip Garden have their own café. This is no greasy spoon ‘caff’, though, hence my use of the accent above the ‘e’. You would have no luck ordering a bacon bap or even a can of cola. Instead they use fresh produce grown in their own garden. With chocolate and courgette cake on the menu, they definitely don’t cater for the fussy eater. That, I must say, is a shame; visiting families and their picky kids will probably snub the home-grown goodness in favour of a nearby fast-food eatery. Which is exactly what we did…

IMG_0282Global Generation are the charity behind the garden. The space is small but resourcefulness has grown it into something truly remarkable. Entirely built and maintained by the hands of volunteers, the goal is to connect people with each other and the natural world. Admittedly, the name ‘Global Generation’ slightly exaggerates the more localised nature of this charity. They won’t save the planet, but what they can do is inspire. Inspire people to care a bit more.

So if you do one thing this summer, pop in and say hi to the chickens and let your wild side explore the skips and sheds. It won’t take long but will germinate a seed of curiosity and appreciation within you.

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