Half way through and the drama of this series is showing no sign of letting up, as the dangers of Mia’s double life become fully realised in this weeks episode.
The first few minutes drop us straight into the action as Mia lures the treacherous landlord John into her car on the side of the road. We have to hand it to the character that she is able to show who is boss with hardly any effort, and yet again maintains the edge over her misogynistic enemy. Meanwhile, moments later we see her going out on a date with her new beau Ben, played by the handsome Jonas Armstrong. As ever though, it was seeing Mia the assassin which kept our eyes glued to the screen. Even though her latest hit had a few complications, it served to show her struggle to keep her life in balance. Seeing her tread the fine line of normality against her nature is as gratifying as ever, but we can’t help but feel that the struggle to fit in all these different sides of her character might one day prove to be the characters’ downfall. We do hope though that the characterisation manages to stay as tight and nuanced as it has been thus far, as even after three episodes she is almost unbearably addictive to watch.
The rest of the cast keep the drama from going to far off the wall. Young ryan gets his first dose of death in the rural setting, Penny fantasises that her mother is still alive, while Levi lives the life of a typical teenage boy. It was Riley’s story thread, however, that really got kicked into high gear this week – as we see the perils of her sometimes brutal affair with the odious John in greater detail, and the consequences that it brings. Against the back-drop of of their transexual assassin guardian, these problems retain a sense of gritty normality, and help to maintain the organic quality that works so brilliantly with this programme.
As a platform for highlighting the realities of Mia’s life as a transexual, this weeks installment gave us a surprisingly sensitive look at the trials she has to face. The scenes in the hospital were surprisingly harrowing, and we almost felt ourselves weep for her as she was forced to use the men’s restroom. It was seeing Ben’s reaction to Mia’s secret however that was totally heartbreaking, and reminds the viewer that there are some people who cant, or wont, see her for the woman she wants to be.
The episode wasn’t without its mild annoyances. The prosthetic made an unneeded appearance yet again, for no other purpose but to remind us that it was there. There was also the matter of Chloe Sevigny’s accent which occasionally fades in and out in certain scenes which can sometimes be a little distracting. Our main concern however lies in the pacing of the episode and the series as a whole. After passing through the first half in the blink of an eye we are becoming a bit concerned about where the series will be able to go in the latter half of the first season. More importantly will it do well enough in its last few weeks to warrant what is bound to be an eagerly anticipated second season.
There were plenty of things to love with this episode, and the understated conversations between the characters were nuanced and heartfelt. There were some flaws, but none so bad that we found ourselves put off, and we still feel confident that the series will continue to go perform well for the rest of its run.