If you read my blog regularly you may have noticed that I didn’t write about episodes 2 & 3; this is why. As I previously wrote a couple of weeks ago, the series started off rather mildly with many happy and vibrant scenes gracing our screens. However, I found that episodes 2 and 3 were rather bleak. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Meadows’ work and the This is England series but I couldn’t help but feel that they hadn’t quite met the standards that we normally see. There were certainly a few moments of peril and tension but I found myself almost watching on auto-pilot; unaffected by the scenes that lay before me.
However, on Sunday night this all changed. It seems that Meadows was planning to deliver all of the shock in one go with more than one beloved character travelling down a path of destruction. One in particular, however, (and you’ll know who I mean if you’re an avid watcher like myself) was genuinely heartbreaking. It was so realistic and gritty that I struggled to watch it. I found it even tougher to watch than the rape scene back in This is England ’86 (2010) which was horrific but not to the same degree as this.
Many of Meadows’ signature moves were present in the finale, such as the revisitation of major events that had occurred in 1990 via the documentary footage. There was even a speech taken from This is England (2006) and placed over the footage which had a profound effect upon the audience and certainly did not go unappreciated.
Never before has my heart pounded in the way that it did. Struggling to watch but yet I struggling to look away.
The amount of tension that was built up inside a 76 minute period deserves an award.
It is clear that Meadows wished to end things on a note that we will struggle to forget. When speaking to Radio Times, Vicky McClure who plays Lol said “As far as I’m aware this is the end of the This Is England tale…But if Shane Meadows turned round in ten years’ time and said, ‘We’re going back’, all of the cast would drop what they’re doing and just go and do it.”
So perhaps it might not be the end for the This is England gang but one thing is for certain, there is a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up for the sake of my and many other fans’ sanities. I wouldn’t be surprised if we meet the characters again in the near-distant future.
A term I have become fond of using is ‘Grittish’, meaning gritty British television and This is England is certainly that.
Due to the sheer impact that I felt this final instalment achieved, I’m going to go ahead and give it my first 5/5. Five for you Shane Meadows, you go Shane Meadows! (If you don’t get this reference maybe you shouldn’t be reading this blog)