I was left completely unsure whether Homefront was any good last week, and this second episode demonstrates both the strengths and crippling weaknesses of the ITV series.
The challenge for the series, after the trauma of last week’s initial death, was to present the mundane aspects of these women’s lives as relating directly to their husband’s vocation. All of the wives are having significant relationship problems this week but what stops Homefront from being a run-of-the-mill soap opera is the unique situation the families find themselves in. There’s still a complete lack of diversity within the cast, considering there are no husbands or same-sex couples at the centre but, what it does, it still does quite well.
We focus a lot less on Tasha this week as we delve deeper into the lives of Louise and Claire. Louise gets the toughest break of all with a letter explaining how her partner has been playing away. After 35-minutes of denying anything happened, she finally learns the devastating truth and handles it the best she can. I find Louise the most interesting character, to be honest, since we know she’s been in the forces herself. There’s a level of understanding on her part that the others don’t have, and that’s what makes her reaction to the affair all the more poignant. She’s not taking any excuses, since she sees them for what they are.
Claire, on the other hand, is completely new to the experience and rightfully is taken aback when her husband’s place in the army jeopardises her own job search. With so many spouses on Homefront seemingly happy to stay home and look after the brood it’s nice to see a character who wants to work represented. It’s also good to see a new form of prejudice explored, as fear of flaky employees following their husband’s around must be a legitimate one within these communities. With her husband not being very forthcoming with affection, all she can do is forge a path of her own.
Though we do spend more time away from Paula and Tasha this week, they get a fair slice of the drama for themselves. Mainly fighting over her son, the pair are still at loggerheads over last week’s discovered letter. Tasha’s flaky, largely unhelpful mother also arrives to sniff around the insurance payout, before her daughter reveals a surprise pregnancy. How this will pan out remains to be seen, but the end of the episode sees her telling her son about the new arrival. If Homefront throws in a miscarriage or something equally unnecessary, I don’t think it could ever claw it’s way back.
This second episode doesn’t mark a vast improvement, but builds upon it’s previously stamped strengths nonetheless. It’s still a story worth telling, for example, and I hope each thread it developed further than ‘isn’t it lonely being an army wife?’ melodrama. Some interesting questions that have already been posed, so there’s a good chance that the show can become a greater success than it is currently.
What did you think of the episode? How do you think the various story threads can develop from here? Let us know in the comments.
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