Vicious Series 1 Episode 5 (ITV) Review

After a strong fourth instalment and a week off for ITV’s annual Britain’s Got Talent takeover, Vicious has come back to our screens with a bit of a dud. Focusing heavily on Ash, surely the series’ worst character, this fifth episode never takes off in the way you’d hope in a penultimate adventure.

Ash has a new girlfriend and, curious as to what woman could snare a man they’re still convinced is in the closet, Freddie and Stuart invite her over for dinner. The couple that knocks on the door that evening are the picture of chirpy functionality – that is until the cracks begin to show. The entire episode is an exercise in normalising our central couple’s behaviour, as they cluelessly comment on how awfully couples can speak to each other – all while trading biting insults of their own across the dinner table.

There was nothing wrong with the story idea but, in practice, the absence of entertaining supporting cast members like Violet or Penelope is only exacerbated by the introduction of Ash’s irritating girlfriend. The point of her character was to be annoying, of course, but the knowingness doesn’t irradiate the audience’s experience of an unwatchable character. I could do with less Ash in general, with any interaction outside of those with Freddie and Stuart coming across as vastly out of character. He doesn’t really have a character and, I hate to say it, that may have as much to do with the actor as it does with the writing.

The jokes were also uncharacteristically weak, with the table leg on foot recurring joke seemingly the best the comedy team could come up with. Violet’s B-plot about a love affair gone wrong in Argentina would have been fine if it hadn’t taken her away from the main action, as her character works best when she’s in the thick of it with Freddie and Stuart. All in all, this might have been the most disappointing episode of the series so far, and I just hope that there’s a great finale waiting in the wings for us next week.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.