‘Paula’ continued last night on BBC Two, drawing viewers into a deep, dark and frankly baffling spiral as pretty much every character made some seemingly inexplicable decisions.
Last week saw Denise Gough’s title character have an ill-considered one-night-stand with handyman James, played by a brooding Tom Hughes. Things took a rocky turn after she dismissed him, but only after he’d discovered evidence of her secret relationship with Philip. And that was only the start of Paula’s problems.
The 6 things that have us scratching our heads after Episode 2... any help most welcome.
1. Why did Philip’s wife Diane actually beat up Paula when she came round to see her? I know we’re accustomed to a bit of violence after the grisly events of the first episode, but this seemed a tussle too far. I was expecting two cups of coffee and a belated bonding over loss, but no, it was all pulled hair and close-ups of the kitchen knife. And do we really think Diane had only just discovered the identity of her dead husband’s lover? They hadn’t exactly been discreet during their tempestuous time together.
2. Why is this self-obsessed, grumpy, bored-with-life woman such irresistible catnip to criminals and cops alike? There’s no real evidence of her appeal. Unless there is just a surprising number of lonely, bored blokes in her proximity… as James put it, “She’s done it you too hasn’t she? She’s shown you the steps out of hell.” What???
3. We learned last week that handyman James is unhinged and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Paula is not the most reliable witness, but the policeman… what on earth compelled Mac to join her list of conquests, WHILE advising her she should probably in the care of a psychiatrist. Further, if he decided - belatedly - that he believed she was in danger, why then did he take her on a very normal date, in a public restaurant and let her wander to the ladies’? No surprises, then, everyone ended up somewhat bruised.
4. So, fair enough, Crystal (James woman #1) was scared Morgan (James woman #2, keep up!) had spoken to the police about his doings, but why was locking her up in the cupboard the agreed course of action? Surely either keep her sweet or… the opposite.
5. James was too busy beating up Mac and then SITTING WAITING TO BE ARRESTED. Why???
6. What was all that business about her alternative life with the other family ‘who really loved her’, as a result of being almost strangled by her brother when she was a child? Hmmm…
‘Do you not think I’ve got enough crazy s**t in my life?! Paula complained to her brother. Quite.
‘Paula’ continues next week on BBC Two. Catch up on BBCiPlayer.