Dear God Mark, what are you doing!? This week Olivia Colman’s Sophie returns to our screens, with an offer of relationship renewal that should, and initially does, have Mark running for the hills. But then April shows up to break things off after last week’s cocaine-induced kiss, and Mark begins to accept that this is probably the best offer he’s likely to get.
His internal monologues weighing up the subject are hilariously bleak, nailing exactly the sort of cosmic weariness that Peep Show has been so good at over the years: ‘Butter the toast, eat the toast, shit the toast. God, life’s relentless. The April door closes, the Sophie door opens. The loveless marriage. Cut off the cock and stick it in the jar. Might be a relief…’
This episode marks a real return to form, with some fantastic lines and setups. Jeremy and Super Hans come to blows over the credits for a song they recorded years back, during their mid-noughties turbo-folk period, that has become an incredibly minor hit on a German football video on YouTube. The pair’s musical endeavours have always been a comedy goldmine throughout the years, and their argument over who precisely wrote the ‘lyrics’ – which consist entirely of a robotic voice singing ‘ATOL protected, ATOL protected’ – to their track ‘All The Whores Of Malta’ is no exception.
The second half of the episode is set in the ‘Kids’ Kave’, a children’s play-centre where Mark is looking after Ian (remember Ian? Mark and Sophie’s son?). April reappears, having had second thoughts about breaking it off with Mark, whilst Super Hans arrives for a showdown with Jez, who’s kidnapped his snake as collateral for the negotiations. It all builds to a fantastically deranged ending, and features some fantastic lines, particularly from Mark: committing to escape his recently reconciled marriage ‘as elegantly as a man backing his car into the entire peloton of the Tour De France’ or suggesting that, in order to find his temporarily missing son, he could clear the play-centre by reporting Jeremy to the staff as a ‘famous pedo. What? You’ve always been very free and easy with labels, you don’t mind a bit of a ‘bad boy’ rep’.
For me, this is the strongest episode of the series so far, and a real step-up after last week’s slightly disappointing outing. It’s partly because there’s less focus on Jeremy’s relationship with Joe, which I feel has been a slightly weak storyline, but also the performances and writing this week are as good as they’ve ever been over the past twelve (twelve!) years.
It’s fantastic to see the show closing out on such a high. I can hardly believe this is it. We’re so close to the end, just 25 minutes of Peep Show gloriousness remaining until it’s finally time to say goodbye…
The finale of Peep Show is on Channel 4 on 16th December at 22.00.