Our Girl S1E3 - "Episode 3" Review

The war is taking its toll on young medic Molly Dawes. But upon being sent home for a session of R&R, Molly finds that the home she once knew is not as it was, and neither is she. Needing to get away, she pays a visit to Smurf in Newport and the duo bond over their difficulties adjusting to being back. Throw in the building tension of having two suitors, Captain James and Smurf, and new family drama, it's a wonder Molly doesn't crack under the weight of it all.

"Go and buy me some Rosabaya coffee capsules and I will adore you for always."

The love triangle everyone saw coming from the start is starting to turn up the heat… but in nowhere near as cheesy a manner as that expression. Molly and Captain James are one longing look or bright-eyed giggle away from finally outright admitting their feelings from one another. But when Molly returns from R&R, Captain James turns a bit childish by jumping to conclusions about her and Smurf spending time together while away. Apparently basic communication skills weren't part of the Captain's training. But in glorious "I Am Woman" fashion, Molly follows James as he approaches an obstacle in the road that may or may not be an explosive device that will blow them away, declaring her feelings and boldly asking him if he reciprocates.

The writing on Molly's love life keeps away from many of the over-used cliches. When Smurf repeatedly makes comments about he and Molly being more than friends, her dismissal of them is light enough to make viewers wonder if she is aware of the depths of his feelings. But when the tension explodes, Molly tells him off, asking why they can't just be friends. She will not accept the excuses he has been telling himself to try to justify why it may be that they haven't yet gotten together (none of which include her mere lack of interest in him). This smacks men who would complain about the ludicrous "friend zone" concept right across the face. This paired with Molly's refusal to let the drama drag out with Captain James, and confront him directly (even if it was as they were about to potentially die) present a much more progressive means of engaging in romantic relationships that disregard outdated gender roles and promote more maturity.

"It's not always that straightforward. We're not wholly bad or good."

Even Molly, who is a largely likeable character, is not free from her flawed moment. When reunited with her family, she clashes with her mother's new friend Shazza. She places blame on Shazza for filling her mother's head with ideas that threaten to change Molly's home life as she always knew it. Now Molly's mother wants to go out into the world and become a teacher's assistant. It seems contradictory that Molly would be fighting so hard to get Afghani girls the opportunity to go to school and then react so negatively to her mother wanting to expand her own horizons.

A character wouldn't be interesting if they never made mistakes. Without character flaws or moments of weakness, they would be one-dimensional. Molly eventually encourages her mother to pursue the job as a teaching assistant but her initial animosity towards it acts as a throw-back to the more hot-headed Molly seen in the special. Molly has had nice character development over the course of her journey but having this weak moment keeps her grounded and relatable.

Overall, this episode was on parr with the also strong Episode 2 seen last week. Where last week, there was drama and strength of story rooted in larger philosophical issues related to the morality of war, this week shined in regards to the characters themselves and their personal journeys and relationships. The director of photography did well, from the opening upside down shot introducing the jovial horseplay of human wheelbarrows, the intertwined hands of Molly and Captain James bathed in warm light, and Molly seeing her reflection dressed in her soldier's uniform at home. It was a questionable choice to kill off Sohail, as too often POC characters in Western media are only able to find redemption and liveability by sacrificing themselves to protect the white lead. With the exception of that plot point, the emotional potency of the scene, from the music, to the writing, to the acting from all the actors present was strong. Also, the "might gonna" reference when Molly and Captain James were saying goodbye was a nice touch from series creator/writer Tony Grounds. With only two episodes left, it's a little unclear as to what the show's endgame is. But perhaps this is a mirror of the uncertainty of the characters within their own lives.

Our Girl airs on Sundays on BBC One at 9PM.

1 comment:

  1. "...present a much more progressive means of engaging in romantic relationships that disregard outdated gender roles and promote more maturity."

    Thank you! Great write up, I totally agree with your point above.


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