The Politician’s Husband: Episode 3 Review
Reviewed by James Wynne.
Unfortunate though it is, the final episode of Paula Milne’s political tale, The Politician’s Husband, sees the series ‘crash and burn’ with a conclusion that squanders all it promises.
As the credits rolled on last week’s instalment, two potentially game-changing moments had come and gone: first, in the form of Dita bearing all to Aiden, and, second, with Aiden making his most underhanded move yet to topple Freya; piercing her diaphragm in the hopes that the subsequent pregnancy would render her soaring career a commitment she could not sustain. Very little could be gleaned from either of these moments – how pivotal they would be to the “climax” of the series was anyone’s guess. Among other things, though, both were quickly pushed aside and forgotten about, as this episode became caught up in the rigmarole of Aiden’s plot for revenge against Bruce Babbish. In essence, that’s what is most disappointing about this third and final episode; that it confines itself to such a simplistic, singular mode of storytelling, at the expense of some potentially intriguing subplots.
It’s odd that Aiden piercing Freya’s diaphragm was treated with such dramatic prominence last week, since it is dismissed so readily this week, with Freya remarking that she’s now on the pill instead. We’d already seen the depths to which Aiden was prepared to plummet with his vile antics in the bedroom – to be honest, this was somewhat tame by comparison – so what purpose did this moment serve? It left no lasting impression on the characters or the story that hadn’t already been instigated by other means.
Likewise, Dita Kowalski’s scandalous indictment of Aiden Hoynes was ill-handled. It’s not exactly clear why she felt so compelled to expose and propose herself to Aiden in the first place, even taking into account the noted crush she had for him, and it remains vaguer still why his refusal would prompt such drastic action on her part. There seemed to be an obvious inference that her foreign origins had perhaps left her shamed to the point of seeking retribution for Aiden refusing the considerate offer she made him. Apart from an underlying hint of racism, that seems a flimsy excuse for her to go to such bold lengths. This besides, as with the diaphragm, the repercussions of it are brushed side almost immediately, and the whole scenario winds up lacking any ounce of impact upon the story, beyond spurring one of the many arguments between Aiden and Freya that comes to naught (Aiden sounds unmistakably Doctor-ish when he shouts back at his wife).
Meanwhile, Paula Milne continues to insert blatant propaganda about the immorality of politicians with about as much subtlety as Dita’s bathroom proposition. Unlike the previous two episodes, it takes centre stage in the form of Aiden’s contentious speech about the self interest of his peers, and the decadence of politics in general. Aiden’s words were almost like a wrecking ball tearing down the fourth wall, such was the directness with which the message was being relayed to the viewers. Worse still, it seemed utterly pointless in context. Yes, it served to further emphasise Aiden as a hateful, natural inhabitant of the political scene, with a firm hypocrisy etched into his every word, but the exact nature of his ‘care for the elderly’ scheme lent more than enough credence to this notion already. All the speech did was undermine the later impact of his despicable endeavour being revealed as an attempt to drag Freya down in tandem with Bruce.
Speaking of Bruce Babbish; I’m curious how he managed to pull off such a masterstroke of deception on his old pal Aiden when his futile attempts to do likewise with Freya were about as see through as a pane of clear glass. I had supposed he was a dab hand at hoodwinking his likeminded cohorts, but his scenes with Aiden’s missus may as well have had him twirling his metaphorical moustache. How did one so inept in the art of deception reach such dizzying heights through…well…deception? That’s an unmistakeable bout of inconsistent characterisation right there.
It’s a shame The Politician’s Husband falters at the final hurdle, in more ways than one. It might have been a more cynical outcome, but rather than have Joe’s death provide a clichéd means to teach his son the error of his ways, culminating in his eventual deputy position below that of his wife’s, perhaps Aiden should have been shown to have profited from his dirty tactics. Paula Milne has seemed at pains to stress the contemptuous level of ambition that enables one to succeed in politics, so it’s odd that Freya should be the personage to ascend to the foremost position in British government, and not Aiden (even if it was an unexpected twist for her to do so). Whilst it would have been somewhat distasteful to see all his deeds bear fruit, it would have been more in keeping with the series’ leitmotif.