Clique delves deep into its darker roots in a truly disturbing fourth episode, packed full of twisted answers as the true nature of Solasta is revealed.
It’s safe to say I had a fairly mundane university experience, compared to that of those in BBC Three’s Clique. The jigsaw pieces are beginning to fall into place with two episodes to go. Holly’s hunger for truth has paid dividends – owed much to her mysterious ally who has been sending her messages – as well as the friendship of the unsung hero of the piece, Elizabeth.
In short, both Steiner and Alistair are reprehensible scumbags, the former an especially bad person, while we uncovered the truth about Fay and learned a secret of Rory’s which certainly puts a new spin on things.
If you’re dealing with dark subject matter, it’s a no brainer – you go all out.
It was a jarring twist of events, with Clique leaping into darker territory, but it just about pulled it off. Reeling from the death of James, the girls handle things in different ways. For Holly in particular, it reignites her search for truth. She gets it. She knows something is up. The messages, apparently from James (although he’s dead, so who the hell is messaging her?!), only push her on as she discovers some particularly chilling answers.
If you’re dealing with dark subject matter, it’s a no brainer – you go all out. Clique is doing exactly that. It’s not afraid. It’s pushing its boundaries. It’s reaping the rewards. Its cast has enough about it to gobble it up and deliver, its score heightens the tension and its sharp script from Jess Brittain continues ticking things along at just the right pace.
Take the closing moments as we got Fay’s confession. It was gut wrenching. It sent a shiver down your spine.
Although there are international ramifications of Steiner’s operation, and it’s an especially murky world that Solasta appears wrapped up in, Clique has grounded itself in a core of likeable characters. Moreover, it’s anchored by that Holly-Georgia friendship.
After Fay’s confession, and considering Georgia’s behaviour, one can assume she’s suffered the same fate. You’d hazard a guess that from here, Holly’s quest is to get her best friend out before she falls in too deep.
Throughout the course of its four episodes, Clique has told its story near entirely from Holly’s perspective. She’s our narrator. We learn as she learns. It perhaps was at its most effective this week, allowing a sense of danger to truly loom over things. My first thought, after obviously feeling disturbed by what Fay had gone through, was for Georgia. The episode made the most of this by keeping Georgia locked away almost from Holly for much of the episode, bar that explosive argument.
This whole thing is out there but, at the same time, there’s a genuine authenticity to it. Clique delivers it convincingly owed much to its characters. You root for them. You root for Holly. You fear for Georgia. They’re compelling. They’re real.
You want these characters to win but, quite honestly, you don’t know if they will.
The blend of university life alongside this thriller has been really well balanced and undoubtedly effective. As I’ve said before, it feels comparable to a young adult novel. A thriller. I recently read Dare Me, and although the characters weren’t anywhere near as likeable, the two do remind me of one another. The university struggles give the show a heart, bolstering the threat of the thriller side of things. It’s seamlessly delivering all sorts of teenage/young adult struggles, whether it be the ups and downs of friendships, romance or university pressure, alongside a genuinely compelling mystery – growing increasingly warped by the episode.
Clique has played its hand at exactly the right time.
If we’re talking heart, a word too on Elizabeth. This girl is undoubtedly a rose among thorns. She’s a gem. She’s always there for Holly, even if she’s not handed back the same in return. Her little speech over why Holly couldn’t have just been friends with her, rather than the others, was particularly heartfelt.
As Georgia did, Elizabeth has developed into someone you genuinely care about. She’s a real unsung hero, if we’re being honest.
If we’re rounding up the other things that unfolded this week, Rory is an undercover cop. How about that?! I’m pretty pleased he’s seemingly a good’un – basically as he seemed just that. A good’un. I’m also a fan of how Jude doesn’t seem to be in on things. It would have been an easy move to have the hard arse of a professor be a bit sinister, so thankfully Clique hasn’t gone that way. Like Rory, she actually seems a good person and her actions from here will prove interesting.
Finally, the flashbacks came full circle. Holly apparently allowed the sister of one of her friends to drown herself. It may not have quite been the case but it explains her hunger to make amends for things. She’s up against demons from the past, as well as the present.
Clique has played its hand at exactly the right time. Holly’s twist of allegiance after uncovering the truth about Steiner was jarring, however I’d say it was earned. Despite Solasta’s seduction with its glitz and glamour, we know her suspicions have remained throughout and she’s feared for bestie, Georgia. And, after all, if we were faced with the information she was, wouldn’t we begin to question everything?
Regardless of that Clique is now firmly in twisted, disturbing territory, there’s an abundance of questions still to be answered, and a battle to shut Solasta down and get Georgia out, but two episodes feels enough to tick those boxes and bring an impressively assured series to a satisfying conclusion.