A good story is like a good sausage: you enjoy it without thinking about how it’s made. This week two scenes, both pivotal in moving their stories along. One caught you up in the drama and the characters and in the other you saw the wheels going round.
Peter coming home after missing Carla’s first ultrasound scan. “You were out – come on, that’s your cue, you were -“. “Drinking” he says, “It’s complicated”. Carla, not knowing the half of it, denies that there is any complexity in an alcoholic drinking.
Carla’s hurt and rage is emotionally exhausting to watch. I can’t imagine what it felt like for Alison King to act it. And Peter trying to not slur his words and carefully moving his feet so he doesn’t fall over, trying to convey the enormity of what he is dealing with without telling her what it is he’s dealing with. His affair with Tina, his guilt over that, and with Tina’s presence. She is everywhere he is all the time.
He crumples on the floor, the baby scan photo in his hand. Evidence of another reason for him to feel guilty. Another reason to stop drinking or keep on drinking depending on how he looks at the reality of a baby while his other child will not speak to him. A baby with the wife he loves while he continues a love affair with another woman.
Nearly three minutes at the end of Monday’s episode. Everything in Peter’s life is colliding and collapsing in on itself. This story is reaching a crescendo. And it’s doing it through fabulous acting and writing that propels action while maintaining character integrity. Writing wheels greased so they are noiseless.
Another story headed to culmination this week, propelled by needs of the plot. Maria tells Audrey that she and Tyrone are in love. Audrey realizes something is seriously off with Maria, and runs across the street to tell Fiz. That put Fiz in pursuit of Maria and Tyrone, in time to misinterpret a hug. So we reach the crisis, but the action that moves it along does not keep with character.
I don’t think Audrey would make a bee-line for Fiz simply on the strength of what Maria said. She would think about it, maybe ask Gail’s advice. If David had confirmed that yep, Maria was being weird, maybe she was decide this was serious enough to break Maria’s confidence and tell Fiz. And that would have been very simple to write in, just with a mention by Audrey that “David said”. The action would still have moved along the same path but would have stayed true to Audrey as we know her. Wheels clunk-clunking their words out of sync with their character.