Five Days S01E05
Admin: It is now day seventy-nine since Leanne went missing. Her body has been found and the police have a strong suspect with Kyle Betts (Rory Kinnear). In the previous episode, John Poole insisted on viewing the body. Seeing Leanne’s corpse, which had been in water for some time, took its toll on him. He is now in a mental facility after harming himself. His granddaughter Tanya (Lucinda Dryzek) seems to be the only person who visits him, even if it means ditching school and taking a very long bus journey.
RF: Tanya seems to have made it up with her friend Jamie from S01E01, relying on her and her family for some moral support. I’d also note that she’s showing a huge amount of bravery and devotion in undertaking to visit John in such a daunting place with such regularity.
Tanya Visits John
Admin: John is extremely distressed when Tanya arrives. He immediately leaps from his chair, “No, no– I don’t want you coming all this way….a child your age exposed to this.” Tanya ignores his anguish and remains cheerful. She has the newspaper and a pen so he can do the crossword.
RF: Oooohhh, it’s such a huge and complete change for John from when we left him. He’s covering his face with his hand and visibly trembling when we first see him, unshaven and clad in a bathrobe, and has obviously been in the facility for quite some time. It’s a great contrast from the confident man we saw in the previous episode who insisted on seeing his daughter as his last duty to her. Yet his instinct is still to try to protect Tanya by sending her away. For her part, Tanya seems to have happened upon a remarkably effective way of handling John’s despair by behaving as cheerfully and ordinarily towards him as possible.
Admin: He’s still vexed though referring to himself as “daft, yes….selfish…stupid.” Granted, I’m more than a little obsessed with The Pickwick Papers‘ Mr. Alfred Jingle, but that bit reminds me of his Fleet scene. Not that the characters are in any way similar (they totally aren’t); it’s just that one moment reminds me of him.
RF: I hadn’t thought of Jingle before when watching this scene (and I’ll join you in that obsession), but you’re right that there are some similarities between this and the Fleet scene. Both characters are despairing and in distress, at the end of their emotional ropes, and castigating themselves bitterly for their current situations.
Admin: Absolutely. And thankfully they have their supporters, in this case John has Tanya.
Admin: Tanya thinks his distress is because Grandma, Barbara Poole, still hasn’t visited. “Well, she’s fed up with me. No change there, then.” John gives a small rueful laugh after that line which I rather like. Oh, that Barbara…we wish she would change. Tanya is pretty fed up with Barbara for saying that John had an “accident”. Tanya wonders how that is supposed to help things. Tanya is really ready for everyone to just be honest with one another.
RF: Notice how Tanya offers John a tissue to blow his nose much like a parent would a child, making it even more obvious that they’ve exchanged caregiver/cared-for roles since we last saw them. Even in his current state, John is still playing peacemaker, telling Tanya that she shouldn’t blame Barbara for lying about his condition and not coming to see him (no points for Barbara, as far as I’m concerned). But John is enough himself to be ever so slightly cynically amused that Barbara hasn’t changed. Continue reading