Clique Episode 1

Clique starts with a pack of cliches, though steadily comes to life throughout its 40 minutes and that, combined with its likeable lead, suggests that it’s got some promise.

Available on BBC iPlayer, Clique is BBC3’s new psychological drama which features Edinburgh university freshers Holly and Georgia. The pair have been friends since they were 11 and soon find themselves wrapped up in the world of Professor Jude McDermid’s Solasta Initiative, placing their friendship under strain and leading to a series of sinister events.

My overriding feeling when watching this first episode was that it views like a young adult novel.

Holly struck me as a lead I’ve seen in books I’ve read many times but she’s a good pair of hands to lead the show. Synnove Karlsen stars in her first TV role and on this evidence, it won’t be her last. She’s very good and I liked her a lot. She plays Holly with both an assurance and an innocence and it’s hard not to be endeared to her as the episode progresses. She’s no shrinking violet and the flashbacks that tease something from Holly’s past cement her place as a solid lead.

The pair deliver a friendship that’s believable. They’ve got genuine chemistry.

Her best friend comes in the shape of Aisling Franciosi as Georgia. If I was a betting man I’d suspect this will change but on this initial episode, Georgia does lack depth. It’s a logical choice considering what the episode is trying to do and Franciosi’s performance is enough to elevate it. She’s brash. She’s excitable. And she chases after McDermid’s mysterious clique.

The pair deliver a friendship that’s believable. They’ve got genuine chemistry. You believe that they’ve been friends for a number of years.

Louise Brealey (Sherlock) is a presence as June and although there’s most likely to be more than meets the eye there, we’re not given much more to go on. As for the clique, with the exception of Emma Appleton as a haunted Fay, we don’t get a lot from the others.

The direction of what’s to come is teased. The foundations are set.

Although I found some of Clique’s opening to deal in stereotypes, the episode does steadily begin to add layers. In fairness I understand why that was done. It allows it to come out of the traps flying, before settling down.

From there, there’s a particularly gentle scene as Holly looks after Georgia after a night out, while the pressures of university life is well shown and  the mysterious Solasta Initiative is well teased whereas it bursts into life towards its ending, where you’re left with a sense that the show is then truly beginning.

It does its job as a first episode. We’re introduced to the characters. The direction of what’s to come is teased. The foundations are set.

More than anything, there’s enough there to get your teeth into. From here, it’s all about how Clique delivers on that promise.

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