The Casual Vacancy Episode 3 finally puts itself out of its misery, and a good job too as, quite frankly, over the course of these three weeks I could’ve pulled a better story out of my arse!
Howard and Miles are fussing over the vandalism on the front of the former’s pie shop, adorned with the election poster for the latter, with the added scrawl, “I like soapy tit-wanks”.
Meanwhile, Barry’s widow, Mary, is still finding his death a thorny subject, and can’t get a handle on things, but tells Colin that anyone who votes for him is really voting for Barry, ergo, everyone hates Miles. This doesn’t inspire great confidence in Colin’s own mind. And Fats may be having it away with Krystal, but he’s also dumb enough to say – while he’s with her – that he’d also like to ‘do’ Gaia. He later endears himself to the lady, herself, as well as Arf as the pair are talking a break at the pie shop…
With just Colin and Miles in the running to fill the ‘casual vacancy’ now, the former doesn’t really want to take the crown, so puts his cross in the box for the latter. He gave more support for his opponent than Miles’ wilfe, Samantha, as she tells him that she hopes he loses. With 35 spoiled ballots, Miles ends up beating Colin by a single vote… oh, how he’s pleased!
The vote then goes ahead for Sweetlove House, thanks to Miles, but he’s the loser in love as Samantha leaves him a note saying she’s left him. Later, Miles still defends his possibly-soon-to-be-ex-wife as Shirley berates her for being a bad mother, but that’s mother-in-laws for you…
Howard catches sight of the grim reaper again, while celebrating the Sweetlove House win with wife Shirley, and later is seen frolicking with his shop assistant, by Arf, who is always unlucky in love, especially after he sees Fats trying it on with Gaia. Also, social worker Kaye gets a vote of no confidence from her boss who takes her off all her usual cases, including Krystal’s family, and only gives her children to deal with who are over 13. Kaye’s storyline is another half-assed piece of writing.
Somehow, Simon gets promoted at work, even though he’s a complete moron, but son Arf looks ready to snap as he’s banished from the kitchen during a family game of Monopoly, and is forced to face the wall as if he’s been naughty at school. If anything came of this finale, I was hoping someone could get the better of Simon. Someone, or something, should also get the better of Terri as she invites round half the neighbourhood’s ne’er do wells, including Obbo, who she shopped to the cops in episode 1.
The next morning, she sneaks out with her young brother, while her Mum and fellow druggies are sleeping off their evening’s ‘fun’. The ghost is also at work, however, as a new blog post shows Harold’s extra-marital affairs online, leading to Shirley ignoring her husband’s pleas for help as he convulses in pain at the revelation of his misdeeds. Someone else who’s always full of misdeeds is Fats, and as Krystal pretends she’s pregnant with his baby, asking if she can move in at their house, she ignores her brother who toddles off to the nearby stream…
When she catches up with him, she only finds a shoe floating in the water and jumps in – something you should NEVER do without checking the water is safe. It doesn’t, therefore, take a genius to realise that the kid will be okay as he’s found by Sukhvinder Jarwanda, and that Krystal is later found face down in the river, having ended up tangled in the remains of the cables from Simon’s TV which he threw in there. Still, on th eplus side, it means Kaye gets a chance to return to the girl’s household… albeit only to deliver bad news.
As the episode comes to an end, Mary’s moving out of Pagford while new people are moving in. At least Arf got a happy ending with Gaia.
As for who the ghost was? We never found out. Utter pants!
Director: Jonny Campbell
Producer: Ruth Kenley-Letts
Screenplay: Sarah Phelps (based on the novel by J.K. Rowling)
Music: Solomon Grey
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
Julia Sweetlove: Emilia Fox
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.