Southcliffe – Lights Falls – Series 1, episode 2

Neela Debnath

IMG9713 copy 300x199 Southcliffe   Lights Falls   Series 1, episode 2SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 2, series 1 of ‘Southcliffe’

With echoes of the capture of Colonel Gaddafi and Raoul Moat’s demise, tonight marks part two of this study of misery. Although no one got urinated on there was plenty of grimness abound to keep the mood suitably dour.

Southcliffe is a tough watch due to its harrowing subject matter and disordered chronology. It requires close attention in order to piece together the plot. Following tonight’s revelations, the shocking conclusion of last night’s episode feels like a vague and distant memory on the horizon.

More characters were added into the mix which only caused further confusion. We’ve barely got a grip on what’s taken place in the first episode before we are confronted with insights into the lives of even more Southcliffe residents.

From the philandering husband who loses his family to the journalist whose father was killed at a power plant, it was grimtastic. However, far too many characters were thrown into the fray and it was difficult to develop any sort of sympathy towards them. We see them for several scenes and then they are gone. It was like getting introduced to a large group of people at a party only to forget their name a minute later and not notice when they leave.

The only ones who made a lasting impression were Eddie Marsan and Shirley Henderson, who play a couple  confronted by the death of their daughter at the hands of the gunman. They shine as this sweet couple that many can empathise with. All the performances in Southcliffe are very naturalistic and these characters feel like real people. It plays out partly like a dramatic reconstruction and partly like a drama series. Thank god Southcliffe is a fictional place otherwise it would be the grimmest town in all of Britain.

The tragedy, the shock and grief makes for some powerful stuff. Saying this, it’s still hard to comprehend why this nation is slowly falling in love with Misery TV. So sad it’s good. I must be missing something. Perhaps it’s the desire to see what will happen next and just how bad things will get. It’s compelling in a rubbernecking sort of way but it’s not my kind of telly.

By the end of the episode there is a distinct autumnal chill in the air and all memories of the glorious British summer have evaporated. Can part three take us even further into the depths of despair? Of course it can.

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  • Słobitach

    It’s not the misery, it’s the performances. Sean Harris & Eddie Marsan are worth watching no matter what they’re doing.

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