The Casual Vacancy Episode 2 began with Barry’s funeral, and threats from beyond the grave that the dead man was going to rock the foundations of Pagford in some way.
Half-brother Simon was also making his presence felt by passing flyers round, during the service, declaring that he was running for the casual vacancy in the village. However, his chances are dimmed by a smear campaign from one of Barry’s messages on the forum, stating that Simon will nick anything he can get his hands on, so whether or not it’s true, his card is marked and he’s out. It led to him taking the hooky TV off his lounge wall in case the cops saw it.
The next post poked fun at Miles, going on about his moobs and referring to him as “Mini-me Mollison”, referring to how he’s so up his father’s back passage he can’t see the sun when it’s shining; and then he moves on to Colin Wall, posting about how he’s into all sorts of unbridled filth and that he smokes weed, wbout which we actually previously saw him berating his son.
Elsewhere, there was a brief flashback to an earlier time between Krystal and Barry, her uncle, but there was nothing to shout about in that; Howard has a big rash on his flabby stomach, due to being overweight, which Dr Jawanda lets slip when she gets drunk at a dinner party later and spills the beans in front of everyone, causing wife Shirley (Julia McKenzie) to say she’ll complain; Barry comes to Howard in a nightmare, stating that the real casual vacancy is the grave, and how it yawns open briefly, then fills with us as its meat. Howard sees the grim reaper in the nightmare, then catches sight of the creature in a picture on his wall; Samantha tried and failed to get the impotent Miles in the mood for love.
Then, finally, Simon accused son Andrew of being the ghost of Barry, before nearly tipping him into the river after a failed attempt to ditch the dodgy telly, which inadvertently led to a crap game of Pooh Sticks, as it floated off underneath the bridge, all thanks to Simon idiotically packing the polystyrene in with the screen.
I also learned that a good chat-up line is to say “Can we hook up?”, as Fats asks Krystal. Well, it managed to lead to him getting pulled off in the library by her later, before going over to her house for a bit of “how’s your father” whilst discovering she’s a kleptomaniac.
Overall, I was still less than impresssed with this drama. The end of the first episode gave the impression that a lot would happen in episode 2… but it didn’t really, and since there’s only one episode left, I may as well watch this disappointing tripe to its conclusion.
Director: Jonny Campbell
Producer: Ruth Kenley-Letts
Screenplay: Sarah Phelps (based on the novel by J.K. Rowling)
Howard Mollison: Michael Gambon
Samantha Mollison: Keeley Hawes
Miles Mollison: Rufus Jones
Barry Fairbrother: Rory Kinnear
Shirley Mollison: Julia McKenzie
Arf Price: Joe Hurst
Paul Price: Sonny Ashbourne Serkis
Simon Price: Richard Glover
Ruth Price: Marie Critchley
Vikram Jawanda: Silas Carson
Mary Fairbrother: Emily Bevan
Colin Wall: Simon McBurney
Tess Wall: Monica Dolan
Fats Wall: Brian Vernel
Terri Weedon: Keeley Forsyth
Krystal Weedon: Abigail Lawrie
Obbo: Sam Redford
Parminder Jawanda: Lolita Chakrabarti
Sukhvinder Jarwanda: Ria Choony
Betty: Menna Trussler
Bill: Vass Anderson
Aubrey Sweetlove: Julian Wadham
Kaye Bawden: Michele Austin
Gaia Bawden: Simona Brown
Mo: Hettie Baynes Russell
Robbie Weedon: Bryce Sanders
Monica: Mary Roscoe
Death: Pascal Laurent
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.