Hi there, I'm TalksTooMuch and I will be recapping this Red Production Company / Danny Brocklehurst show Come Home for you. More after the break!
Come Home is just the latest series I've recapped from this team, previous oeuvres include Ordinary Lies (almost done season 2!) and the most popular show I've ever written about: The Five. Written by Harlan Coben, it was a ten-part series that people are STILL talking about, almost 2 years after its initial release. Of note is that Danny Brocklehurst and Red Production Company will be teaming up again shortly for Safe, also from Harlan Coben and starring Amanda Abbington and Michael C. Hall. IN THE SAME SHOW!!
On we delve into the mystery of Come Home, which is about a wife and mother leaving her family, how could she do that? Let's find out.
We open with Greg Farrell (Christopher Eccleston who's been in bloody everything, honestly, look him up. I remember him from The Leftovers but I'll try not to bear a grudge) sniffing fabric and remembering his wife holding their baby, which is sweet until he moves over to the bra. A noise outside sends him running for the window, where he sees Marie (Paula Malcomson who has also been in everything but will always be Sons of Anarchy to me) and panics, hiding in the bathtub.
He broke into her house? If he knows where she is...? I am adjusting my expectations by the moment.
We go back two weeks, with young Molly Farrell (Darcey McNeeley) waking up her flatulent daddy so he can wake up everyone else and get them off to school. Oldest Liam (Anthony Boyle) and middle daughter Laura (Lola Petticrew) complete our frantic family, totally typical for a school morning. He's going oot later.
Greg continues on to his garage where Liam works with him, to flirt with the sandwich truck lady Brenna Coyle (Kerry Quinn) before sneaking off to message an online missus.
Molly watches him strap on a tie and breaks our hearts.
Greg sits and reads a book, waiting for Juliet (Grainne Keenan) and reading The Psychopath Test. I don't know if that's the best icebreaker, it doesn't go very well for Greg. Neither does the fact that he changed out of his suit and tie after his kids teased him, Juliet makes a flip comment about his "nice trainers."
Now, she looks tremendous in a lovely fancy dress and curled hair but that's kind of an arsehole thing to say.
The more complicated interactions come after they've sorted out their garbage collection colours, suddenly we're to the primary question of this entire show: why did his wife walk out 11 months ago? He gets tense, then angry, then fast-drinky and then as the coup de grace drops a couple of condoms out of his pocket.
Juliet is gone with a "you won't be needing those" and YOU DON'T KNOW HIS LIFE, JULIET.
He stays and drinks, feeling the mocking eyes on him and lost in the past.
A woman being assaulted draws his attention, oh, that's Brenna! Her fella is an ASSHOLE, choking her in the hallway while she tries to shoo Greg away. Greg gets his bum handed to him and her man is gone, leaving Greg to take Brenna to his house. She can't believe he's internet dating! You know who does that!
Brenna asks about Marie too, she left the kids?? She didn't fight for custody? There was no other bloke or missus? No, but Marie said she felt like she was drowning, like she couldn't breathe.
Brenna's old man works away and comes home to be the boss, they can barely stand to be near each other. Greg offers her his couch, but you know these two are heading towards shared sheets.
One entirely too-grunty love scene later, Brenna suggests he get a refund on his "long-lasting performance" guaranteed condoms and they keep practicing.
Molly finds them in bed the next morning, it's terrible because she thought it was her mum.
The other kids aren't any happier to see her or their dad.
Greg is tormented by memories of Marie.
We see Marie and Greg next at Mediation, I want to believe that Marie is being cruel when she refuses to sit next to Greg but I totally understand the need for space. He keeps pushing and pushing.
He uses this time together to attack and harass her the whole time, she's remarkably composed. He yells at her over and over to reads the settlement agreement she signed without pause, I found myself muttering "don't you do it, Marie, don't you do it" and in the end, she did not.
He's clearly angry because he thinks she left for no reason, and whatever reason she gave him wasn't enough for him, so why should she keep speaking? It's as though it's about him losing ownership over her. But we really don't know yet.
Greg is so sad and so alone.
Not after meeting Brenna at work! They're off shagging in his car by the water, caught by the police but he's a customer of Greg's so a hilarious exchange follows. He drops Brenna off then goes to stalk Marie some more.
He's drowning in memories of her.
He gets home to hear Laura in her room and asks her about seeing her mum. Well, that's not exactly what he does, first he insinuates that it's a betrayal of him, then asks probing questions about why her mum is doing this.
Jaysus wept, Greg, I gather this hands-on parenting is new for you, but don't ask your kids to spy on their mum, report back to you and undermine anything their mum says anyhow.
THEN he says he's not asking Laura to take sides. What Laura does have is the keys to her mum's house, which is how he gets in a couple of weeks from now.
This is practically in the Controlling Partner Handbook!
He gets a panicky phone call from Brenna, she's locked in the bathroom with her son and her fella is trying to break the door down. He tells her to call the police, but she wants him to come.
What's bizarre about the scene he walks into is the calmness. Brenna comes out of the bathroom, tearful and her son asks to go back to bed sullenly.
Of course Brenna and her son end up at Greg's house, he's making some bad decisions but how can he not want to help?
Liam and Laura are waiting for him when he gets home: Laura was scared at how he left and they've both been calling Greg all night. Brenna lays it all out, I didn't realise that was her husband.
More grunty sex later and we're at breakfast with everyone eyeballing each other under hooded lids. Brenna sends everyone off with a kiss, she'll make a meal for everyone tonight and bring everyone together.
I can't be the only one worried about her being alone in the house all day? I have trust issues.
She makes a lovely spaghetti dinner then proceeds to get drunk, how can I put this...? Brenna seems a little coarse to Liam and Laura, especially with the drinking and dirty talk. Liam has an eye twitch that intensifies with stress, Brenna mocks it for a bit before switching to making fun of the fact that their mum left.
I don't think Brenna is a great match for this family, although Greg seems to think the fit's all right.
She turns up the music, offers the teenagers drugs and accuses Greg of being an old fuddy-duddy. He's off to the kitchen where they talk a bit, but he's too sexually intoxicated to see anything clearly right now.
He creeps out of bed in the middle of the night to listen to one of his vinyl records and think about Marie and their life together as a young family with children.
Side note: the vinyl records are not just a medium for music, but rather a reminder than nobody sticks with anything anymore, they just move on to whatever is newer and fancier. Not Greg.
The next day, Greg can't wait any longer and he dashes off home to grab Marie's keys from Laura's room and we're back where we started.
We hear somebody pee but while she's washing her hands, we hear the telltale chimes of instant messages arriving at the worst time possible on Greg's phone.
Lots of screaming and shouting and running, Nancy (Joanne Crawford) warns Marie and Greg follows them out onto the street.
He begs her with everything he has, she's broken his heart and the children's hearts, can't she please come home?
She's sorry, but she cannot.
Greg gets home to a calm and relaxed family, Brenna's made other arrangements for housing but doesn't resist much when he tells her to stay. Earlier they mutually agreed neither one of them was looking for anything serious, well, now they're cohabitating, so. He's making a lot of implied promises while still fully devoted to Marie and her memory.
Greg has the sole negative memory of the episode, a furious Marie hitting him with a pregnancy test calling him a lying bastard. And we're out.
So. Was that a positive pregnancy test or a negative one? Did Marie not want to have any more kids and Greg lied about being fixed or what have you?
No offense, but I am very much looking forward to Marie's side of the story. I can't see leaving my own children (I feel very much like I'm drowning and can't breathe when they're NOT with me) but I absolutely abhor the obsession society has with painting women as ruled entirely by their ovaries and unable to make decisions that society shrugs at from men all day every day.
I try very much to empathise with Greg but there is no doubt that he was a controlling partner, dismissing anything Marie says with a pfft and a headnod. He needs and hates her so much.
Some of the shots were beautiful and painful at once, Molly asking if Greg was staying, Greg braiding Molly's hair with his thick fingers and head bowed.
Until next time, wonderfully done Red Brocklehursts Company.