Broadcast on back-to-back evenings, this added up to quite a lot of The Hour when I sat down to watch it. The Two Hours, in fact. And episode 5 had that slightly dislocating feeling that shows sometimes have when you feel as if things have been happening off-camera that no-one’s told you about. There seems to have been some sort of rapprochement between Hector and Marnie, which looked less than likely after the first four episodes.
We are told about the inevitable death of Rosa, but between episodes Bel has stopped being a journalist, and for some reason the murder makes Bel less keen to run the story. But help is at hand, because all of the Castlecore baddies have arranged to meet. Not secretly, either, but at El Paradis, a nightclub frequented by journos and photographers, not to mention Hector himself. It seems to me that meeting there might not be the best way of keeping a secret. Not for the first time, it’s the details which elevate this episode: Isaac’s exquisitely sad response to Sissy’s engagement, or any scene with Peter Capaldi and Anna Chancellor searching for their daughter – a plot arc with no bearing whatever on the main story, but beautifully acted anyway.
Episode 6 kicks off with the media reaction to the police raid at El Paradis which ended episode 5, and it’s a little surprising: I thought everyone knew that El Paradis was a glamourous yet seedy nightclub and that Hector was a regular there, what with all the front-page photos and so on, but this seems in fact to have come as something of a shock. Admittedly the revelations about him being accused of smacking Kiki around were new, and in consequence ITV withdraws its interest, and Marnie loses her show as well. Not that this – or Marnie’s pregnancy by, one assumes, that dude who’s being hanging around her – can dent their happiness. I must have missed something.
Anyway, Bel’s determination to run the big corruption story has been refreshed, and Freddie vows to bring Kiki in to put her on The Hour; slightly incongruously, he puts himself firmly in the camp of those who believe that private behaviour has a bearing on public office: they lie to their wives, so they’ll lie to the country. And there’s some pressing business for shippers to be dealt with, as Bel and Freddie share their first kiss (squee!). Of course, kissing immediately before Freddie goes on his dangerous mission means that his fate is all but sealed.
And so it proves: the story runs, and while the glare of publicity acts as a shield for Kiki, it doesn’t so much for Freddie, who gets a serious beating from Cilenti and his thugs. Meantime, in what looks like a cheeky nod to the rise of celeb culture, Kiki is escorted from the BBC building by Angus McCain, reborn as a kind of PR man and reputation manager; famous for 10 minutes, in our decade Kiki would by now be weighing up her reality TV offers.
Whether Freddie survives depends, one assumes, on whether there’s a third season of The Hour – the BBC is silent for now – and which actors return if there is. Without ever becoming essential viewing, The Hour has been enjoyable, and has benefitted from some seriously good acting by Peter Capaldi and Anna Chancellor in supporting roles. I’d watch a third season, but I have a feeling we’ve seen the last of Hector and the team.