Dates Series 1 (Channel 4) Review “Mia & David”

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The final episode of Channel 4’s strange little mating anthology series Dates was titled ‘Mia & David’, but it could have just as easily added Stephen to that mix also. This final 20-minute adventure was about the love triangle that seems to have developed over the last three weeks, with the ever-mysterious and seductive Mia at the centre. But now it’s crunch time, and she suddenly loses a little of her usual control.

We start with a planned date between Mia and David, meant to be the day she meets his children for the first time, but her reluctance to be around kids and commit to one man mean that David leaves pretty sharpish. We don’t know whether the introduction was Mia’s idea, as David attests, or whether it was something he pushed upon her just 18-days after their first date, but something puts Mia into self-destruct mode. After David bolts, she calls Stephen for comfort and is shocked when he brings along his own 11-year-old son.

The hour spent with Stephen and his boy forces Mia to confront what she’s been avoiding, and it turns out that she’s better with kids than she’d probably admit to. When she takes Stephen back to her flat, David is waiting for her and the two men confide in each other about their individual experiences with the same woman. Stephen, realising his mistake, gracefully steps down from the fight, and we’re left with our original couple – deciding whether it’s worth all of the hassle or not.

I can’t honestly decide whether the ending we got – with David and Mia still together but not having made any progress – was a happy one. It has something to say, as has the series, about modern dating, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we leave Dates on a lingering shot of central London (side note: how the heck does anyone afford to live in that flat?). There’s a particular brand of loneliness and dysfunction in those living and looking for love in the capital and it seems that David, the outsider, is beginning to learn that. Part of the reason Mia is attracted to him is his fresh attitude, after all.

That is what made Dates such compelling viewing – the same thing that makes online dating such an exciting and risky experience. The people you meet along the way aren’t all going to be gems, or even diamonds in the rough, but it’s certainly going to be interesting. You may decide that you’re better off alone like Jenny, or that you need to concentrate more on your existing family like Stephen, but there will always be those like David and Mia who would never have spoken to each other otherwise. They may be the perfect couple, or it may crash and burn – the fun is in the discovery.

What did you think of the episode, and the series as a whole? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.