Vicious Series 1 Episode 2 (ITV) Review

Vicious got a mixed reaction after it debuted last week, but this second episode improves on a lot of the problems it was picked on for. The supporting cast are given more chances to shine, for example, and there’s an increased sense of warmth between the central couple that got a little lost in translation the first time out.

The biggest change is that we leave the flat, however, and the characters’ excursions to a brightly-lit department store do the world of good after being stuck in the stuffy London flat for so long. The plot surrounds a science-fiction convention at which Freddie will be honored for being Doctor Who’s tenth best villain. It’s the highlight of his career, and Stuart wants to buy him a new coat for the occasion. The trouble is that he can’t afford it without taking a job at the store. Shenanigans, of course, ensue.

What the trips out do most are give Violet and Penelope room to own a scene or two, instead of simply reacting to whatever Stuart and Freddie are saying and doing. Penelope, who blended into the background last week, is a hidden strength of the series whose comic timing lifts the caliber of a couple of otherwise dodgy jokes. The only thing that is so far wearing me down is Violet’s constant digs at poor Ash, as Iwan Rheon still hasn’t got anything to do but look awkward and shift around.

The biggest difference between this week and last has to be the way in which the episode ended. After following Stuart to the store where he believed he was having an affair, Freddie discovers the truth of the matter. Not wanting his partner to lose pride in his stalled acting career, Stuart pretends that he was indeed thinking about straying and, despite knowing this, Freddie continues the charade. It’s what they’re willing to do for each other, and it gives us an added reason to root for their love.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think it improved on some problems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.