Hi! Does everyone remember last year when I found out that Ordinary Lies had a Happy Valley alumnae innit and I was so excited? Then realised that was SECOND season and I had to do the first series before I got to Con O'Neill and his part? Course you do, silly me, well I've finished the first season and we're ready for Con, only slightly over a year later! Rolling Ordinary Lies S2:E01 Joe after the break.
We're in a peppy mood as we open, Joe (Con O'Neill) strides into work a happy man, telling jokes and swinging his adorable bum around as he goes.
His boss Jenna (Angela Griffin) is a much cooler customer, doesn't he remember that it's fancy dress today? Ally (Jennifer Nicholas) reminds him about her divorce party coming up shortly, sounds like fun! Or whatever the opposite of fun is.
Kim Driscoll (Rachel Isaac) brings in new worker Ashton (Luke Bailey) who must be older than he looks because Ally would like a piece, pees!
I literally jumped when I saw Toke (Joel Fry), he's in Requiem, a new drama I just started recapping. He's dreeeammmy. Think an actually attractive Dane Cook. He doesn't want to wear the promo outfits
and the ensuing fun leads to a safety incident.
He's sent home for the day, Holly (Kimberley Nixon) driving as Joe's wife is working.
But there's an unexpected car in the driveway and the door is locked, so he has to knock and ring her phone. Belinda (Jill Halfpenny) says she wasn't feeling well, had to lie down, etc etc but Joe is staring up the stairs to see if there is stray peni afoot.
Joe is deeply conflicted.
Joe leaves his family to go coach some kids at the club, he heads out for a drink after with a friend. It seems Joe found some flirty texts from a male coworker a few years back, he's been wondering.
Even though Joe is clearly in pain, I like him more when he's quiet and contemplative because most of the time we've seen him he's been boisterous and extremely loud. His pun game is on point, however.
His friend comments on the new barmaid, then we're at Joe's house where his wife has changed the password on her phone so he can't check it again. I will just say that I hate looking on phones, because I have found something every single time I've looked and it's the most horrible feeling there is in a relationship.
The safety review goes alright because of all the cameras, but Joe gets an idea.
10 bucks says he gets a camera for home!
You all owe me ten bucks!
Camera installation happens almost immediately while the rest of the gang is out, is it odd that I want a set now too? The cow is out of the barn and strolling around downtown, but they look super compact!
Joe holds a sales meeting then everyone heads to the pub for the Divorce Party, Joe is surrounded by false hilarity wherever he goes.
Karl (Gareth Pierce) separates Ash from the pack and goes into an impossible-to-understand monologue about the past that is just WRONG.
Ally jumps in and saves Ash to climb into his lap while Caz (Elen Rhys) gossips about Ally's now-defunct marriage. Only 9 months, but that's because her betrothed was addicted to sex and prostitutes, up to three a week. That's got to be expensive! Joe asks how she found out and was the old case of the dog not barking at midnight: Ally's husband was clearing his browsing history every time he used the computer.
You would not believe what you can find in an uncleared browsing history.
Ash and Ally are getting along crazy well, first it's arm slaps, then kissing, then shagging up against a wall in an alley while cars drive by. Is this Apple Tree Yard? I have to believe all of England is chockablock with dark alleys full of copulating couples.
Ash is extremely sensitive to being reminded of his previous footballer status, he thinks it's the most interesting thing about himself and now he's crap. I will say I think he has impressive lower body strength, if that counts for anything.
Joe watches the footage for the day, alone in the dark. He busts the maid for taking a cuppa break and laughs.
He's in group therapy now, talking about his inability to trust and the anger associated with the betrayal that is still affecting him.
He watches the screens at work, there is a woman coming to see his wife in the middle of the day, but we can't tell yet if Belinda and she are romantic. We're completely engrossed in measuring the distance between them when Holly RUINS it by interrupting with some stupid disciplinary review.
Ray (Ian Davies) is under review for a couple of behavioural matters, he's got Karl there for representation. Joe rushes out to snatch his laptop away from Holly, who couldn't help but notice how weird he was acting about it.
He's back but still not listening and then heads to the loo to watch his son smoke-up.
He gets home to find the house full of smoke and his son picking at the "smoke detector" cameras. Some shouting later and Finn (James Wilbraham) is oot and hiding upstairs while Belinda stares at Joe.
Joe brings up the weed first, but when he asks Belinda my heart hurts.
Ah the vulnerability. But Belinda lies and says she wasn't there and we all feel very bad for Joe.
It's campfire night with the club, all wilderness adventurers, Joe and the new barmaid Wendy (Rebekah Staton) from the pub. Hm. Speaking of him in the pub, turns out Joe is a recovering alcoholic and has been for four years plus, since something really terrible happened.
He was able to quit the booze and do this instead, it gives him a sense of purpose. I'm sure not liking how he's looking at this missus.
Joe hikes out of the woods the next morning to find WiFi, he is addicted. Just like in Black Mirror S4:E02 Arkangel!
He has a lovely time watching his family without him, he loves them so.
He rushes home to shag his wife silly, awww.
Basking in the post-coital glow they talk about their son, who is for sure smoking weed AND has condoms in his room. That stops Joe in his tracks, he hadn't thought of his son being that age yet but yeah.
Just like on Arkangel, Joe gets an eyeful of his offspring making the beast with two backs: WHY on the family sofa? WHY??
Joe goes right to Finn to ask him about the girl, Finn swears he'll tell his Dad anything! Then lies and lies and lies.
Also: that girl looked really young.
And the FAMILY SOFA!
Family ties are affecting work, too, Kim watching carefully while Ash explains to Ally that it was a one-time up-against-a-public-alley kind of thing, she understands, right?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say prooooollllly not.
Joe asks Toke at work: what's the age kids start having sex anyway? 13-18 but don't go by him. He didn't have internet when he was a kid.
Joe asks Toke his opinion of that age-old conundrum: is it better to know or better to have never found out? Toke suggests only he can answer that.
Joe heads home for a cuppa, lo and behold there's a half a bottle of wine in the fridge and two washed wineglasses. The tape shows Belinda and the mystery woman embracing but I still can't tell if it's sexual.
Joe goes to work in a very bad mood.
It's Ray who bears the brunt of that, he thought he'd chide Joe a bit for tardiness but Joe is not having that today. It turns into a physical fight and the laptop slams onto the floor.
He has to bring the laptop to a shop, look, the tech doesn't go into the programs, does he? I bet every single computer technician in the world hears a version of that as often as emergency room doctors hear "I fell on it!"
Jenna pulls Joe aside for a meeting. Holly is her ear to the ground and she notices EVERYTHING.
See, I admire a boss who knows the value of the mood of an office, if you will. Someone like Holly who is attuned to the natural ebb and flow of the room, the good, bad and ugly, is truly invaluable. Male bosses tend to treat this as "gossip" and underplay its usefulness, but then they usually don't know what's really going on anyway.
Sales are down, Joe, that's all Jenna wants to focus on, what can she do to help?
At home, Joe ponders the nature of his new obsession with knowing everything about his family. Is this his new addiction?
Joe winds up the team then heads to the bathroom to peep on his wife, who is meeting with...a guy? And then that original woman, then another and another. This isn't an infidelity thing at all, but we don't know what it is exactly, either.
Joe races home in a super unsafe fashion to find everyone leaving the house, Belinda included. He follows them to a parking garage then onto the street when Belinda approaches a stranger.
Ohhhhh, this is a homemade vigilante group and they videotape old dudes who they catch asking teenager for sex online! Have a seat right there!
Something even odder is going on, Belinda sees Joe and he walks away saying "So this is your revenge, is it?"
But. What she was doing was a good thing! Not necessarily SAFE, but the intent was good, yes?
Their daughter Zoe was set upon by an internet predator but they weren't able to do anything about it, why does he take Belinda doing this so personally? Ah he doesn't think he protected Zoe properly and Belinda yells at him for drinking away all his pain.
Belinda is hysterical, they couldn't even send the bastard to prison, but at least she's out there doing something!
Joe brings up their son: what if someone went after Finn the way Belinda just went after that man for arranging sex with a 14 year old girl? Because Finn has been doing just the same, but he's 16.
Joe shows Belinda back at the house, what kind of man does this? One who's been betrayed. Oh watching him try to work up the nerve for a question he very much can't handle the answer.
She didn't, but she wanted to. And he wanted to kill the man who assaulted their daughter, but he didn't.
Finn gets home right then and Belinda rushes at him, she doesn't care about ratting Joe out for the surveillance cameras, she wants her son to stop messing with a thirteen year old girl right NOW. Finn didn't understand the ramification of his actions, the neighbour is underage.
Joe sits at the pub, staring at a pint. Oh Joe. Don't. It just makes everything worse.
He drinks it down in one shot then gets up and walks out.
He goes straight to see Zoe (Zoe Hall) at her games lesson, holding her and crying.
Ally takes another run at Ash, maybe if they went for a real date they might hit it off! Instead, he takes her out the back door and has her lean over from way up high and tells her to imagine an internal voice yelling "jump, JUMP." That's what it feels like to be him. Yikes.
Joe pulls himself together and rolls out another one of his loud corny jokes on the sales team, yay!
We're out as Jenna opens an envelope from the UK Prison Service with a scared look on her face.
Whew, Ordinary Lies got a whole lot darker in the second season, yes? Con O'Neill was excellent, just fantastic in every moment of it. He kept us engaged every second he was onscreen. This time I knew enough to pay attention to all the side characters, in Ordinary Lies we get EVERYONE'S backstory, although hopefully not quite as aaaaggghhhh as Joe's. I have a feeling Ash's story might be even worse, though, yikes. Until next time!