Holy shitballs! I could leave it there and that’d just about do it justice. Clique’s penultimate episode blew things up and rearranged the pieces in an exhausting forty minutes.
Jess Brittain expertly kept us guessing as to who Holly could trust, with Synnøve Karlsen yet again demonstrating what a gem of a lead she is. The episode repeatedly delivered haunting images of younger Holly diving under water, with them proving to be a fitting mirror for the present where it truly felt that Holly, and indeed several of our characters, were falling in too deep.
And boy, did that prove to be the case.
There’s one place to start and that’s the ending. The murky world of Solasta was fully revealed during the harrowing closing seconds of last week’s episode. To top that this week, Clique chose to leave its viewers with their jaws firmly rooted to the floor.
It wasn’t a twist for the sake of a twist. It made sense. It was a punch in the gut for Holly, and rocket fuel for the story.
Rory. Well, it appears he wasn’t quite as good as the series so far had, had us believe. It transpired that he’d been working with Alastair all along. In short, he’d succumbed to the seduction of Solasta and the lure of ambition. Mark Strepan belted out his revelation with a wonderfully raw anger, before steadily (and convincingly) growing increasingly unhinged as he realised Holly wasn’t going to follow him any longer.
His love for her was genuine, I believe that, though he’d seemingly designated her as a reprieve. An escape. A chance to be free.
Like his ex-girlfriend, Rory had really got himself in too deep and it was a wonderful twist to shatter Holly’s world and shake up the story. It wasn’t a twist for the sake of a twist. It made sense. It was a punch in the gut for Holly and rocket fuel for the story. It further illustrates to us the tangled web of Solasta and it mattered.
Any hope of some sort of reprieve for Rory was bloodily torn away during a shocking last few moments (though by this point he was a murderer too, so was there any sort of reprieve for him possible anyway?! He’d also tried to strangle Holly so, you know, that’s another black mark).
Just where the hell did Rachel Maddox come from?! All of a sudden, she’s one of the most compelling characters on the show. Just whose side is she on?!
In the first-half of the episode, it seems without doubt she’s on Holly’s side – having wanted the truth herself and helping Holly and Elizabeth, Saint Elizabeth, share Fay’s confession during the seminar for new students.
However, after that, it’s revealed to us by Alastair that it was Rachel who warned him as to what Fay and James were planning. When confronted by Jude, Rachel didn’t deny it and seemed to revel in taunting her professor about the direction of travel from here. And, there’s the whole murder thing at the end – the first blow saved Holly. The second two? That was murder.
Just what a fantastic mystery she is to add to the ranks ahead of next week’s finale. It’s yet another case of Clique answering its questions before adding more – and it works once again.
It maintained the smart, sleek feel that’s sparkled through this series so far.
The journey there gave us everything that this series was about and more. Brittain’s script impressively crammed in a wealth of different things, juggling several different relationships but it never felt as if it was too much.
It maintained the smart, sleek feel that’s sparkled through the series so far. There was a predictably strong scene between Holly and Georgia, with Karlsen and Franciosi convincingly portraying a friendship that’s lasted through the ages, while Jude was an unexpected star of the episode.
As with Rachel, Jude had been a character quietly ticking along though we’d not got an awful lot of her.
Louise Brealey has gobbled up all she’s been given with ease thus far but this episode really gave her material allowing her to shine. Her confronting Steiner summed up everything the character is about. She was there to protect her girls. To protect her brother. She didn’t cower. She matched him blow for blow. True, things changed somewhat during that ‘uncomfortable’ seminar, followed by Alastair’s snide remarks to her. The idea that she helped him build Solasta and is therefore responsible was a nice touch and a neat concept.
Away from that, there’s still a scroll of questions still to be answered. Was Fay killed? Will Georgia crack, and fully realise the horror of what she’s caught up in? What’s Steiner’s next move going to be? Whose side is Rachel is on? Is Holly safe? Will Solasta be crushed? Will Holly finally realise what a diamond Elizabeth is?!
This is a smart, sleek, edge-of-your-seat drama which has been one hell of a ride since the closing moments of its first episode. It fully deserves a finale befitting of what’s come before but in Brittain’s hands, and with this terrifically assembled cast, it’s hard to see that it won’t get one.