Episode Tite: "Episode 5"
Writers: David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik
Director: James Griffiths
Previously on "Episodes":
Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly Lincoln (Tamsin Greig) struggled to get through the filming of "Pucks," a bastardized American version of their hit series "Lyman’s Boys" starring Matt LeBlanc, which was not the experience that duplicitous TV Merc Lapidus (John Pankow) had promised them. On top of that, Beverly quickly developed an antagonistic relationship with Matt, while he and Sean became good friends.
Late one night during the pilot shoot, Matt drunkenly called Sean to come pick him up, following a court decision that cost him his kids. Matt than tricked the Lincolns into driving him to his ex-wife’s house where he pleaded to see his children. Forced to face up to his mistakes, Matt was emotionally devastated. Feeling sorry for him, Beverly offered to let him stay in their house for the night and they seemingly reconciled. But the next day, Matt resumed his bad attitude towards her.
On the set of "Pucks," Sean brings the latest script changes to Morning Randolph (Mircea Monroe) in wardrobe and she seems usually pleased with his work. She even nonchalantly takes off her top, which allows Sean to stare at her breasts. Of course, Beverly walks in on them almost immediately and catches Sean in the compromising position. He chases after her to reassure her that nothing improper happened. He also tells her that Matt invited him to a charity event against rape, which Matt specifically did not extend to her. When Beverly states that she should have been invited as well, Sean points out that she and Matt hate each other.
Beverly returns to wardrobe and finds Morning in an incredibly inappropriate outfit for a school librarian. However, neither Morning or the wardrobe man understand why Beverly would have any problem with the extremely short skirt and revealing blouse for a woman who spends most of her time around underage boys. Carol Rance (Kathleen Rose Perkins) soon arrives and pulls Beverly away from the situation and offers to be a sympathetic ear for her problems. But before they get too deep into their conversation, Morning approaches them in a tight black dress and tells them that she’s going to Matt’s charity event, which annoys Beverly once again.
At the event, Matt and Sean meet up with Merc and his blind wife, who is devoted to this charity and other good works. Matt and Sean also witness Merc abandon his wife at random, leaving her briefly disoriented and confused. Back at the "Pucks" set, Carol breaks out a joint which she and Beverly share. Carol confesses that she and Merc began an affair before his wife went blind and she has been unable to break it off. Carol shows that she is in despair for the plight of Merc’s wife, but mostly for herself. In return, Beverly tells her that she met Sean when he was married to another woman on the set of their show.
Sean soon learns that Matt brought Sean and Morning together at the event for a little "fun" with each other. When Sean refuses to go along with it, Matt seems surprised that hand jobs and "all jobs" are considered cheating. But Morning is clearly into Sean and she asks him to drive her home. He hesitates, but ultimately makes an excuse to get back home to Beverly.
Once Sean gets back to his house, he finds Beverly still up and highly suspicious that he didn’t tell her that Morning was there. He admits that he could have cheated but chose to remain faithful to her, but Beverly is unmoved. Frustrated, Sean goes to bed for a few hours before getting up in the dead of night. He finds Morning’s sex tape online and begins to pleasure himself to it… unaware that Beverly has caught him in the act.
This the second episode of "Episodes" in a row that really elevated the series. Last week, Matt LeBlanc was the MVP, but this week it was Kathleen Rose Perkins’ Carol Rance.
In her first few appearances, Carol came off as a vapid, TV producer who was essentially Merc’s mouthpiece. The revelation that she was seeing Merc didn’t make her look good, but it at least added another layer to her. But the last two times that Carol has appeared on the show have really revitalized her character. She’s not completely self-aware of her issues — otherwise she wouldn’t view the onset of blindness in Merc’s wife as a punishment for herself — but there’s a desperation about her that actually does a lot to humanize her. And her regret also does a lot to soften the blow of what she’s done.
It’s also understandable now why Beverly is so worried that Sean will cheat on her. She was once the other woman in his relationship with his first wife. Now that we know that, a lot of her actions in the show make more sense. She’s also not wrong about Morning’s wardrobe choices or the fact that Morning is clearly into Sean. As for Beverly’s ongoing cold war with Matt, that should have ended with last week’s show. Before it could have been argued that they were both incredibly rude to each other, but now it’s all Matt.
Speaking of Matt, he’s kind of transitioning into become a real antagonist on this series. He was basically the devil on Sean’s shoulder urging him to sleep with Morning. And it was really funny that Matt couldn’t grasp that all "jobs" would be considered cheating. There was also a great scene at that party in which Sean’s former PA came over to him and basically laughed in his face when Sean told him that Matt LeBlanc was the star of his "Lyman’s Boys" adaptation. That was the perfect reaction and I loved how much that seemed to piss off Matt and deflate Sean.
I’m having a harder time getting a handle on Morning’s character. It’s difficult to tell if she’s really into Sean, or if she’s just flattering him because he’s in charge of the show. So far, we’ve now gotten deeper glimpses into Sean, Beverly, Matt and Carol, but Morning is still kind of a cipher at this point. Whereas Merc is an amazingly funny jerk, who we need to see more of in the last two episodes. I’d also like to see his wife learn what he’s done to her just to get a reaction out of her.
"Episodes" has been getting continuously better along the way. Although I’m skeptical that this show could continue into another season, I’m invested in seeing how it ends.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.