In the recap, the scenes from last week, we hear the principal say, “I’m afraid she’s dead.” Definitely didn’t hear that the first time, and it bothered me.
Sarah’s boyfriend, who I thought was her husband the first time I saw it, comes over, just after The Kiss. He and Dave have that awkward meet.
Anna and the grandmother return a sulky Lucy.
Great scene with Anna. She annoying insists on giving Dave advice, and you’re cringing for him because he can scarcely bear it. Even her husband is apologizing for her and finally tells her to be quiet. Yet, the advice she gives is not unreasonable. The actress does a great job with this character.
The walls in Dave’s house cast warm, rosy glows on everyone. His character is a photographer, so it is not unreasonable that the tones of orange, salmon and red they were chosen specifically because of flattering light. Dave goes through the circus that is getting everyone in bed, while Sarah, back at her house, mulls over what has just transpired (the unexpected kiss with Dave), and gently deflects her boyfriend’s casual invitation.
Great scene here, as David brings a tray up to Lucy. Dave is trying his very best here, and really being a great dad. He’s demonstrated that he really listened to Lucy and is responding with a promise to act on what she says she wants. She responds like a true adolescent, heartlessly and cruelly, and poor Dave – the look at his face as he leaves. It’s actually almost funny, in a stab-yourself-in-the-heart funny kind of way.
David brings the kids to school, but can’t look Sarah in the face. In a sweet, very underplayed amusing bit, he fakes a cell-phone call to avoid facing her, while she keeps glancing in his direction uncertainly. Then, as he rounds the corner, he leans back against the wall, letting his head fall softly back, and you can hear him asking himself, “What the hell am I doing???” Small moments like this one really make Dave a sympathetic and believable character.
Dave goes over to Beattie’s, Rita’s mother. It turns out that Rita was adopted, and went through a period of estrangement from her parents-who-raised-her. During the time when she would have been pregnant with Lucy, her mother says that they weren’t in touch. David explains the situation, and expressed concern about what a girl Lucy’s age could do if she were very upset. Run off or get pregnant… pretty much what Anna was talking about, come to think of it. Beattie gives him a clipping of Rita’s graduation announcement, along with all the other graduates in her class. Rita’s diaries give him a set on initials, and he’s able to find a few other graduates with those initials.
As Dave is looking for the diaries, he pulls down a box with photos, and he is inundated by memories of Rita. He buries his face in her red dress, and cries. But then his thoughts turn to the memory of kissing Sarah. He’s having a tough day.
Down come the diaries. A hacksaw to the lock, and he’s in. He begins reading, and taking notes.
Dave is finally forced to come face-to-face with Sarah at a parent conference, and it’s sweet and lovely and awkward and furtive, as they reassure themselves that there’s nothing wrong.
Time for some screencaps:
Sarah returns home to find a note from Matt inviting her to join him at the pub. David goes home to discover that Anna is there, and has given all the kids cell-phones. nbsp; Rita, according to David, always hated cell-phones for kids, and Dave is livid.
Robin offers to walk the dog, and David gratefully leaves for his studio. The boys kick the soccer ball, and the younger one falls, and limps away. Sarah, instead of joining Matt at the pub, changes into running clothes and drops in on David at the studio.
Some nice cinematography here, such as David’s face reflected in the computer screen as he works.
Scenes of David’s family at home, Sarah changing and going out, and David working with the diary and the computer at the studio, are intercut as each builds to its conclusion. The younger boy, shockingly, tries to hurt himself for a little attention and sympathy; David, looking for a photo of Rita, is ambushed by an alluring photo of Sarah sunbathing; Sarah drops by David’s studio, after her pretend “run,” Matt comes home to find Sarah out. nbsp; David shares his detective work; Sarah discovers the photo of her that Dave had left open. They have a beer, then… the phone rings. They’ve taken Ewan to the hospital with what may be a broken ankle. This guy just can’t catch a break. Just then, there’s a response to David’s e-mails. He has to go, so Sarah responds for him, and we discover in a very brief throw-away line that David and Rita were never married.
I was rather shocked by the scene of Ewan taking the hammer to his ankle. I never expected this, but it is believable, especially when it turns out that he only succeeded in bruising himself.
David lashes out at Tanya when she shows up at the hospital, because she hadn’t returned when she has said she would.
Sarah returns home, with Matt angry that she hadn’t joined him, and he’s supposed to be away for a few days.
David is rather harsh on Tanya this segment.
David chats with Robin about the person who’d responded to the e-mail, but still won’t talk about the police’s offer. nbsp; David goes off to the airport to meet this man.
The scene where Dave rides his motorcycle is shot in almost metallic silver tones instead of the previous gold.
It turns out that the man is indeed Lucy’s father. He shows David photos of her at different ages. Rita had been sending him photos of Lucy, once a year. nbsp; David Tennant does a remarkable job during this difficult and weird conversation, as Dave meets this stranger, accepts that he’s Lucy’s father (difficult), see photos of her on his computer (weird and disturbing even though he knows it shouldn’t be), and discovers that Rita had been seeing this man secretly for years. All sorts of emotions play out on Tennant’s face during this scene. It's really extraordinary work here by Tennant.
David invites Sarah to come over so he can tell her about the meeting, thinking that his little girl is with Tanya, but the girl is dropped off by his ex-wife Michelle, because she’s sick. “She’s completely out of it,” says Dave, and he and Sarah just fall to each other. They can't get their clothes off fast enough, and...
And, given Dave’s luck, what do you think happens? Of course – his daughter walks in on them, in the act. Oh, yeah. He’s having a bad, bad day.
Later on, there's a scene where the little one chirps “I’ve got a secret” and it turns out to be chicken-pox. It's pretty funny. David the character is lucky he doesn't just keel over in fright or shock.
He shares the info about Stuart with Lucy. I love how Dave’s character is written. What a cool dad. How to be quiet about it, without a big show, but step up and, no matter how weird it is for him, go to work -- to take action -- to make what she wants come true. To make her wishes come true, aww.
And then, when Lucy meets with her father and his family in Edinburgh, Dave and Sarah finally get together... I mean, really get together.
Dave never hugs Tanya. Poor thing looks like she’d really like a smooshy hug.
The scene where Lucy tells David she plans to live with Stuart is another exceptional one. Again, I love how the character of Dave is written, as a father who’s desperately trying to do the right thing, and mostly succeeding – being supportive of this decision even while it’s clearly breaking his heart. Tennant just nails this one; take a look.
As the series comes to an end, it all wraps up rather too neatly. Lucy makes a decision, telling Dave, "He's my father, but you're my dad." Fine. But I thought that the reveal at the end by Sarah was rather disturbing, that she had gotten pregnant on purpose and had planned on keeping it a secret. And Dave forgives her instantly, declaring that "I think it will work. I know it will work." Hmmm. Rather manipulative of Sarah, to use Dave as a sperm-bank. Did she really love him? If so, why was she so willing to use him and leave him without telling him anything? Did she really want Dave, or just the baby? If the pregancy had been accidental, the ending would have been OK, but I really didn't like this aspect of the story. To me, it suddenly made Sarah less likeable.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed this mini-series. Right up until that last scene, I thought it was very well-written, nicely filmed and superbly acted, by everyone. Especially one certain tall, skinny, Scottish bloke.