Frankie: Series 1 Episode 6 (Finale) Review
Reviewed by David Selby
WARNING: CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE FINAL EPISODE
“You think you could get away with anything, don’t you? You; with your optimism and your big smile and your can-do…” – Dr Zoe Evans
Episode 6 of Frankie took a big step back from its medical subplots and, not surprisingly, wrapped up the series with an intense, suspenseful character piece, lining up all the suspects for the reveal of Frankie’s stalker. But did the big disclosure live up to its expectations?
Frankie’s concern and almost innocent moral integrity reached its pinnacle this week as Frankie took legal matters into her own hands. Whatever you’ve made of Frankie as a character so far, you simply can’t deny her goodness; it seems that all she wants to do is make other peoples’ lives as pleasant as possible without even a thought for her own. An example of this was Nicky (Kerry Godliman)’s perilous predicament; another victim of the NHS system (an interesting perspective for the show to take in the last episode of the series), who would normally be left alone – but Frankie won’t give up, and, eventually, teaches her that childlike comforts can often be the solution to our most difficult problem (thus strengthening the mother/daughter bond in preparation for Hope’s storyline).
Frankie’s decision to keep the stalker’s identity anonymous, whilst questionably being guilelessly foolish, stretched her compassion to endless limits – especially as the stalker was someone who’d spent the last few weeks going out of her way to make Frankie’s life a misery.
On Ian and Andy
I’m finding myself apathetic to Frankie’s dilemma and Ian and Andy’s competitive dynamic (but that’s not to say they haven’t been handled well – Ian being the policeman designated to rescue Andy from the flat was a resourceful touch). I’m just not a huge fan of the concept. The stalker was a refreshing story-arc; something seldom touched upon these days, and adding a darker nuance to the series – however, I’m not feeling the same way towards this. Indeed, it’s another testament to Frankie’s fear of venturing outside textbook soap-opera clichés. Call the Midwife (what I’ve always envisaged as Frankie’s historical rival) excels itself in its surprises and its uniqueness – Frankie, meanwhile, often brushes the most interesting ideas under the carpet.
The characters, however, were still well-written; both relatively likable, both unwittingly drawing parallels to each other. Andy’s dog attack was a particularly harrowing scene; both shocking and tense. A minor criticism, meanwhile, would be that the depiction of the police is of a useless horde of untrained dogs – not the best idea, perhaps, in a society where the police are disparaged enough.
On the stalker
As expected, Frankie’s stalker was revealed in the climax of this episode as the unhinged Doctor Zoe Evans. It was obvious, really; a Doctor who personally attacks her district nurse on a regular basis and then accusing her of undermining her (Zoe’s accusations were getting to stage of being simply hilarious) clearly had a screw loose, and it doesn’t take a genius to make the connection. But, despite this, I liked the turn-out. It may have been predictable, but, fundamentally, it worked.
Zoe’s revelation was both dramatic and ingenious; the fact that Frankie even made her tea while she held a knife to her was highly amusing. Zoe’s been my favourite character of the run; maddened, vindictive and unstable, yet, on occasions, shockingly human. I’ll miss the psycho-Zoe when she returns from her holiday; no doubt having learnt from her experiences.
However, once again, the episode draws the line a little too early. It seems scared to venture into any darker areas regarding the stalker, and, soon enough, has shrugged off the darker undertones, and whilst Zoe packs to go on a nice little holiday, Frankie’s back, deeply engulfed in her relationship with Ken Bruce. But this can be forgiven – thank God that Joseph Corden didn’t turn out to be the stalker…
Hope’s story had a slight improvement, but nothing as major as I’d hoped for; in my eyes, she’s still overreacting, and is another egotistical adolescent archetype that can’t learn from her mistakes. It’s also interesting to remark, as a Doctor Who fan, that the setup was, from my perspective, Kate Stewart stalking Gwen Cooper who is being fought over by her ex-boyfriend, William Shakespeare, and her college, the late Sir Robert McLeish. Thankfully, the acting is so superb that this is hardly even noticeable – kudos especially to Jemma Redgrave, who gives a phenomenal performance as Dr Evans.
The final episode of Frankie did have its faults, but, all things considered, it was a satisfying conclusion; a rewarding end to a series, which, whilst not being especially stand-out, has been incredibly entertaining and generally feel-good. I eagerly anticipate its return.