Frankie: Series 1 Episode 5 Review
Reviewed by David Selby
“Another great day for Frankie Maddox: shouting at patients, breaking confidentiality, behaving exactly as you please, and managing to walk away from the wreckage looking like a hero. Well done.” – Zoe Evans
Frankie continued this week with an episode which put a darker spin on the BBC drama; with the sole purpose of racking up suspense and intrigue for the revelation of Frankie’s stalker in the season finale.
This fifth episode was, with the exception of the opener, the most successful of the run; blossoming in its character development, delivering out of the blue dialogue shocks and using the audience’s emotional investment in the characters to a stunning advantage. The episode epitomized exactly what Frankie aims to be: a drama about a district nurse, her pursuits, her struggle to maintain balance between her career and her social life, and about how she affects those around her.
The episode began with some suspenseful shots of Frankie ruminating over her follower’s text messages; re-playing the scene over and over, to help reinforce the magnitude with the audience. That’s something that makes Frankie quite an easy series to follow: that even when the nonsensical fun parts come to a close, we’re still taken gradually through the plot and constantly reminded of what’s going on. It’s something I appreciate, as a viewer.
Once again, the two highlights and star performances came from Paula (Leila Mimmack) and Zoe (Jemma Redgrave); the two characters who had hitherto aroused the strongest feelings within the viewer. The two characters underwent drastically contrasting experiences this week; Zoe continuing to surprise with her vindictively unprofessional remarks, whilst Paula learnt a moral lesson, finally connecting with her job. The sub-plot with Dee (Margot Leicester) was designed perfectly for Paula, and Leicester delivered a heartfelt and memorable performance suited to the character. She elicited plenty of sympathy, and, perhaps more importantly, made the audience aware of her situation – another thing which affects people on a day-to-day basis. The same goes for the surrogate mother storyline: which maybe not retaining the same qualities as the former, it managed to successfully sustain itself as the episode unfolded.
The only aspect the episode falls flat in was Hope (Bebe Cave); yet another teenage stereotype who thinks only about herself. I’m guessing that the writer hasn’t had a good experience with teens (or, alternatively, may be about to startle us with a development next week). Also, it seemed like a lame excuse that Frankie wouldn’t go to the police because of the risk of seeing Ian – thankfully, this didn’t have a massive bearing over the narrative.
There’s a lot to be admired about how this episode is written, and indeed it is unequivocally a character-piece; centred around Paula and her self-discovery, culminating in a poignant, beautiful finish where she decides to deliver the news to Dee on her own accord. Zoe’s final comment, meanwhile, and Joseph (Dean Andrews)’s suspicious behaviour continued to build tension which will doubt have a bearing over how we react to the big revelation next week.
I have two ideas of who Frankie’s stalker may be. The first is Andy; one character the audience think they can trust – he would be vying for Frankie’s attention, thinking that stalking her will be the only way for her to be interested in him. The other, and the more likely option, is Zoe, whose personal vendetta seems to know no ends.