This week’s episode sees Mark continue his quest for April, doing his best to drive a wedge between her and Angus. Resorting to desperate measures to try and get her alone for a date, he finally succeeds as the two of them go ‘mole-mapping’ together. Jeremy meanwhile is beginning to realize what a mess he has made of his life, as both Megan and Joe start to see through his tissue-thin veneer of being a professional life coach.
I said last week that the series had really upped the wackiness levels, with the plots getting ever more outrageous and far-fetched – but that the lines were still funny enough for it not to matter. Unfortunately this week, the balance has tipped the other direction – there were very few lines in this episode that really made me laugh and the whole dynamic between Mark, Angus and April doesn’t really work. Angus’ suggestion that he and Mark get colonoscopies together just seemed so sitcom-y and far-fetched. The same goes for Jeremy’s lies to impress Joe – claiming he once life-coached the Queen, and attempting to get Mark to do a Prince Phillip impersonation over the phone.
Dare I say it; the performances from Robert Webb and David Mitchell are sub-par too. They both feel like they are really over-acting their parts – Jeremy’s strange repetition of the word ‘Ombudsman’, and Mark’s manic cocaine-fuelled laughter and shouts of ‘Mark smash!’ as he trashed his flat were all very odd.
There were a few good lines, mostly from Super Hans – describing his bank-robber mate Wadey as ‘a teddy bear! Well, a violent teddy bear…’. But even there, it’s starting to feel a little like too much of a good thing.
Jerry briefly returned, with a few scenes set in Mark’s bank, which at least allowed Mark the hilarious inner monologue – ‘God, when is he ever going to forgive me for bundling him in a sleeping bag and throwing him in a lift?’
Mark’s scheme to lure Angus into a Greek Orthodox Church to trigger a manic episode was entertaining in its silliness, especially with Mark having to repress his natural interest in ancient history to stay focused.
This was the weakest episode of the series so far, but still an entertaining half-hour. It feels churlish to be so hard on a show that’s only guilty of setting its own extremely high standards, but’s here’s hoping next week will be a return to form. Only two more episodes to go…