mon 21/10/2019

Keeping Faith, Series 2, BBC One review - family misfortunes | reviews, news & interviews

Keeping Faith, Series 2, BBC One review - family misfortunes

Keeping Faith, Series 2, BBC One review - family misfortunes

Dark secrets are lurking in the exquisite Carmarthen landscape

Multitasking marvel: Eve Myles as Faith Howells

It was a year ago that BBC One scored a smash hit with the first series of Keeping Faith, but as series two opens 18 months have passed since Faith Howells’s husband Evan (Bradley Freegard) disappeared and triggered a traumatic chain reaction of events. Apparently the patriarch of a close and loving family, with himself and Faith both working in the family law firm, Evan had become embroiled in all sorts of murky stuff (bribery, corruption, perverting the course of justice etc). Was this really the devoted husband and father that Faith had known?

All will be revealed across these six new episodes (which is a bit of a swizz, since series one had eight), but this opener set a cracking pace, immediately plunging us back into the sense of menace and unease which had so powerfully informed the previous series. Evan is in prison for his misdeeds, while Faith is battling to clothe, feed and educate her three children while continuing to take up the legal cudgels on behalf of her clients.

Eve Myles’s performance as Faith is a continuing marvel of stressed-out multitasking, as she hurtles between domestic chaos, shopping and school runs and studying legal briefs and staying sharp enough for hand-to-hand combat in court. It’s an impossible ask, despite all the help she gets from gal-pal Lisa (an effervescent Catherine Ayers) and the loyal Arthur (Alex Harries), who Faith rescued from his vagabond life, but it makes a great engine for the drama.How her disgust and horror about Evan’s secret life will pan out we wait to see, but for the moment Faith is preoccupied with case of farmer’s wife Madlen Vaughan (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), on trial for the murder of her husband Dyfan. Big-hearted Faith is convinced this pitiable, downtrodden woman must be innocent, but the police and the prosecution are licking their lips at what they regard as an inevitable conviction.

What makes Keeping Faith so addictively watchable is the way writer and creator Matthew Hall successfully meshes the mundane details of everyday life with bigger issues of crime, justice, integrity and honesty (or lack of it), so it has the unpolished energy of a soap as well as the grander designs of more self-consciously weighty dramas like Line of Duty or The Missing. The clincher is its firm grounding in Carmarthenshire, from the locations and exquisite scenery to the unselfconscious Welshness of the dialogue and characterisations. It brings a sense of identity and a coherent framework it’s difficult to achieve if the location is just some huge, anonymous city.

It’s a story about the nature and behaviour of families too. The Howells dynasty is a labyrinth of historical entanglements and disappointments, and previously unseen connections keep popping up to add complications to the narrative. The way Faith has to contend with not just her children and her fatally flawed husband but also her difficult, demanding parents-in-law is a mini-saga in its own right. Meanwhile the toxic tentacles of the ruthless Reardon crime family have snaked under Faith’s front door and are threatening to throttle her, as she strives desperately to find a way to rid herself of the vile attentions of Gael Reardon (a shiver-inducing Anastasia Hille, pictured above). Will the reassuringly solid, though undeniably criminal, Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones) become her unlikely saviour? All episodes are up now on iPlayer.

The toxic tentacles of the Reardon crime family have snaked under Faith’s front door and are threatening to throttle her

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

Wow season two is a BIG disappointment, Faith is a nutjob now! Who in their right mind attacks their spouse in the house where the kids are? I can completely understand a smack in the face AFTER an unsatisfactory explanation. But to headbutt your spouse than punch him to the floor BEFORE you even know what's going on? She doesn't care for her kids!! She was told in last years episodes to stay away from Steve Baldini or lose her kids! She didn't! She's as bad as he is!!! SHE'S A VERY UNLIKABLE CHARACTER NOW!!!

The final episode was shown three weeks ago, what a cock up, I have carried on watching but it was so confusing and spoilt my viewing. How did this happen!

totally unconvincing in every aspect. First series was good but second series just went around in circles, very confusing and just left me in limbo emotionally. I wont watch another attempt.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.