When last we left the crew of the Orpheus, Clem (James Nesbitt) was being crushed by the pressure of the great underwater trash compactor. Or was he?
Nope. Just like his Lazarusesque (yes, that’s a new word!) wife, Clem not only survives Lurch imploding, he takes slimy Raymond out with an iron bar, gets shot in the gut, roasted by a blast from a nuclear weapon and then blown up along with the rest of the Volos.
While I applaud the writers for being brave enough to sacrifice a lead character, Clem’s death was ridiculous. The upshot was that I spent the rest of the episode devising improbable ways that Clem would suddenly pop up again, alive. Maybe the lava bugs have regenerative properties?
Having said that, there was a certain symmetry in having the husband depart on a mission to find his wife, and having the wife return from the dead while Clem got shot and roasted.
Back on the Orpheus, the big news is that a blast from the Volos has knocked out the life support systems. Frances is unconscious, and the rest of the crew gradually start tripping out and collapsing. What saves them is…Svetlana and Vincent blowing up the Volos.
Sadly, most of the episode is taken up with the ‘new threat’ of an international cover-up at the UN monitoring station. There’s a fascinating double-cross at the beginning where the Asian guy turns out to be a Russian spy, but from there things descend into oddly boring revelation that the Americans own the Orpheus and they’re crazy Texans desperate to cover up the existence of an awesome alternative energy source.
Back on dry land, things are also descending into parody, as Granny reveals to Wee Scarlett that the big computer she smashed up last week wasn’t the real one, it was an old busted one of Clems. Ah, come on. Like anybody’s Granny is clued in to the top-secret research on her daughter’s computer. Utter toss.
I’d been enjoying the series up until this point, but the finale wrapped things up in such a ham-fisted manner that I’m disappointed. Svetlana and Vincent’s ending may actually have been the strongest part of the episode. And that’s even counting in Vincent’s rambling monologue to Zubov about his last words and his period of illness between the ages of 12 and 14. I almost fell asleep at that part. But it’s fair to say that the gallows chemistry between the two was a little bit touching.
While we’re on vaguely positive points, how awesome to see Raymond brought down by Clem and rapidly losing the ability to function – it was actually quite a grotesque moment, watching his speech start to fail him. And Nesbitt did us proud during his last scenes, slightly manic, laughing at Raymond’s fate while realising that he too was dying. Shame the rest of the episode was a complete shambles.