The Syndicate Series 2 Episode 3 (BBC) Review

After quite enjoying last week’s Tom-centric episode of The Syndicate, this week’s decision to focus on benefit-cheating nurse Rose didn’t quite live up to my expectations. While it had some interesting things to say about the individual case-by-case reasons for taking benefits you’re not necessarily allowed, the episode was overwhelmingly on Rose’s side throughout, and I wasn’t quite on the same page.

Flashing back to before the group’s big lottery win, we see the difficult life Rose must lead with five kids all needing something to achieve their big dreams. One daughter wants to be a dancer like her mum nearly was, another wants to go to university at £9,000 a year, and her son has just been kicked out of his house with a baby son on account of him being a bone idle layabout. In short, this is the sort of family that could do with some free money coming in, and they barely seem to make ends meet even with the extra couple of hundred they receive each week.

But that doesn’t excuse taking money from the state when you’re working two jobs, and I wasn’t sure about the show’s opinion that she didn’t know any better. My interpretation was that Rose knew what she was doing all along, but couldn’t face life without the extra money coming in. A widow for over a decade, money from her nursing job and ironing for the neighbours might not have made them rich, but it probably would have covered the essentials. There are plenty of kids whose parents can’t afford to send them to university, and they don’t have the good fortune of winning the lottery.

That’s why I was glad of the episode’s final scene, in which photographers for the media questioned how deserving she was of the money after stealing benefits for over nine years. It offered a different perspective on the situation, but it wasn’t enough to make the argument balanced.

Another discovery we made this week was of Rose and Alan’s secret relationship. It began over a secret weed habit, but things were starting to get more romantic. There might be a sizeable age difference between them, but it seems like a sweet union between two lonely souls. They’re doing a lot better in the love department than Mandy, anyway, as we see that her husband, previously thought dead, has actually been tied up in the basement. It looks as though she’s had some kind of psychotic break – talking to her husband as if nothing were wrong while tending to his restraints and drip.

With it revealed that Mandy is also being blackmailed for some hidden reason, the whole plot is becoming a little far-fetched. I’m willing to go with it for now, but I hope we get a dose of reality to go with the plot next week.

What did you think of the episode? Should Rose have gotten away with her crimes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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