Utopia, Channel 4 - TV review: Series finally picks up the pace
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Tuesday 29 July 2014
Protective visors at the ready. As the plot intensifies in the home straight of Utopia (Channel 4), so too does the garish colour scheme and the risk of blood splatter.
Fans have come to expect that any scene of a loving family enjoying domestic security will shortly be followed by a massacre of some sort. That's just the Utopia way. This episode's opening sequence, then, was a clear sign that the series was about to pick up the pace.
About time too. These last few weeks have seemed to prove that writer Dennis Kelly's decision to carry over the Janus plot from series one was a mistake. There's only so many times alliances can be betrayed and reformed before the device gets old, and there's a limit to how many blank-faced psychopaths a viewer can emotionally invest in. Luckily, both of Carver's children have begun to seek out more meaningful ways of relating to their fellow human beings.
Jessica was pursuing a romantic relationship with Ian (much to his bewilderment) and her hitman brother's renewed sense of purpose handily pointed us towards the series' own thematic end-goal. "I didn't see you as a family man," ventured Donaldson conversationally. "This is all about family," was Arby/Piotr's solemn reply.
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