wed 22/05/2024

Years and Years, Series Finale, BBC One review - soggy ending fails to inspire | reviews, news & interviews

Years and Years, Series Finale, BBC One review - soggy ending fails to inspire

Years and Years, Series Finale, BBC One review - soggy ending fails to inspire

Doomy drama runs out of steam in the final furlong

'This is the world we built': Stephen (Rory Kinnear) and Muriel (Anne Reid)

As Russell T Davies’s doomsday odyssey reached its endgame on BBC One, feisty grandma Muriel (played by indestructible Anne Reid) got to deliver the moral of the story. With the Lyons clan gathered round that now-familiar dining table, she spelt it out for them.

“It’s all your fault,” she scolded, reminding them how they’d all twiddled their thumbs and done nothing while everyone was ripped off by the banks, let themselves be seduced by dirt-cheap globalised manufacturing, and let the evil Vivienne Rook become Prime Minister. “This is the world we built,” she jeered. “Congratulations!”

This was all very well, but Davies still had to concoct an ending. Disappointingly, after last week’s devastating episode, this one regressed into an implausible mixture of we-can-save-the-world melodrama, lukewarm science fiction and clunking great chunks of exposition. Assisted by digitally-enhanced Bethany (half woman, half iPad), political activist Edith sprang into action and launched a daring raid on Erstwhile 4, the concentration camp where Ukrainian immigrant Viktor was being held. Long story short, the fascistic baddies had their misdeeds broadcast live online, like one of those old-fashioned thrillers where the hero destroyed an evil conspiracy by faxing the details to a newspaper (probably the Washington Post). As if.

It was rehabilitation time for Rory Kinnear’s Stephen too, whose monstrous betrayal of Viktor (Maxim Baldry, pictured left) had been haunting him ever since. The worm finally turned, as sad, desperate Stephen finally faced down his unspeakable employer Woody (an impressively loathsome performance by Kieran O’Brien) and did his bit to throw damning daylight on the clandestine horrors of the Rook regime.

The big pitfall was that it seemed as if it was only the combined efforts of the Lyons clan that had demolished Rook’s evil empire, and the idea that a ruthless military dictatorship would drop its weapons and run away when somebody pointed a smartphone at it was not altogether persuasive. Davies tried to end on a hopeful note, though not very convincingly. It boiled down to “all you need is love”, filtered through altered states of consciousness washed down with woozy sci-fi music. It felt like one of his old Doctor Who scripts rescued from the shredder.

It boiled down to 'all you need is love', filtered through altered states of consciousness and woozy sci-fi music


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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