Review: My Mother and Other Strangers – Episode 2

November 24, 2016

My Mother and Other Strangers continued on Sunday with another quiet episode in its five-part series. Already two hours in, there’s been little excitement so far, aside from a nostalgic look at small town life. The wartime costumes are admittedly pretty but as the numerous characters of the series continue to remain undeveloped, it’s hard to know exactly what this episode actually added to the plot.

Part of this is definitely due to the lack of American soldiers, who were absent for the majority of the hour. This is probably down to their ban at Michael Coyne’s bar, but after their lively presence in the first episode, it felt like a real loss when the story’s ban stopped not only the pub visitors from seeing them, but viewers as well. With last week’s highlight being the speech of the young American lieutenant, and having been sold this series in the promise of some wartime romance and drama, I felt a little cheated.

Even the appearance of the lovely Captain Dreyfuss did little to make the episode compelling. He appears briefly, has another conversation with Rose Coyne and promptly leaves, leaving her somewhat breathless (again). Despite that, the chemistry isn’t too strong between these two – whilst the show is definitely trying to insinuate a charged connection, it’s quite hard to see any believability in their efforts. It’s a pity because Hattie Morahan and Aaron Staton are both fantastic actors – perhaps I’ve been spoiled by other period dramas but their interactions comes across as disappointingly listless, as opposed to fuelled by an undercurrent of attraction.

Still, it’s not hard to see why the character of Rose would be thrilled by even the most meagre grain of interest. Her husband Michael continues to be controlling, mean and ashamed of her occasional attempts to speak up. Even if I don’t believe in the chemistry with the Captain, it’s impossible to not feel that she deserves someone much better than who she’s with.

Other than that, the episode storyline featured little of interest. With three more episodes to go, My Mother and Other Strangers has quite a bit still to prove, and will have to use its time well to really build characters with depth and substance. Fingers are all crossed here for episode 3.

My Mother and Other Strangers is on this Sunday at 9pm. Don’t forget to catch up with our review of episode 1 here.

More about Jen Scouler

Jen Scouler is a magazine journalist, film critic and the founder of Lost In Drama. With degrees in both English Literature and Digital Journalism, she has experience of writing for popular print and online publications. Jen is also devoted to her metaphorical novelist aunties - Aunt Jane, Charlotte and Jo are particular favourites - and is usually found with an Earl Grey tea in hand.

2 Comments
    1. Running around with full-on torches – ridiculous! Ireland observed blackout during WWII, partly to prevent German air strikes on Ireland and Britain. People found their way around even the entirely pitch-black countryside areas by only a pinhole – literally – of light. Bicycle flash-lamps were more usually carried than torches, with the lenses covered with black cloth, paper or tape, pierced with only a tiny pinhole to emit the weakest and smallest area of light, barely enough to show the surface of the road etc or a passerby’s face. My mother often talked to me about those times.

      Also, I doubt that stage performers of any experience jazzed up the songs and waved their arms around so much. Again, my mother was a professional performer in Ireland (North and South) in those days and certainly would not have done so. Notwithstanding that she met many American GIs during her time serving in the NAAFI, audiences in Ireland would not have appreciated such variations, they liked to hear the words and see the faces – and microphones were neither as usual nor as good as nowadays.

      Aside from that it was beautifully staged.

      1. That’s really fascinating, thanks for sharing those stories! It’s definitely a beautiful setting, but historical accuracy would benefit from a bit of work.

Speak your mind, dear reader.

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