Anyone who has followed this phenomenal series from beginning to end will understand why This is England fans across the country were left bawling their eyes out as the series came to an end the other week.
Yes, the last episode of the series had arrived, a series that had started as a gritty independent film set in 1983 and traveled right up through the years to the beloved era of the ’90s. I can honestly say, I’m going to miss those fictional characters on my TV.
Lol, Woody, Milky, Shaun. We’ve seen these loveable characters grow up in front of the screen (literally as Thomas Surgoose was only 13 when he prised his role on the film as young Shuan). We’ve seen their ups and downs. We’ve witnessed them mature and change throughout the years and true fans will agree, many have become ‘attached’ to them.
Just like the film and previous two series, This is England 86 and 88, this series was NOT a disappointment and the last episode wrapped everything up in a gripping and nail-biting finale where most of our characters got a happy ending.
Lol and Woody finally tied the knot in a wedding, which, although traditional, was certainly as close to ‘them’ as they could get! The reception at the miner’s club was far from fancy but it was certainly true to the characters.
Kelly got kicked out of the flat by Harvey when he found out she was addicted to crack. She ran away and was pursued by poor Gadget. Sadly though, Gadget still doesn’t get the girl.
I think Meadow’s was looking to portray Kelly as the lost soul, running from herself and blaming everyone else for her problems. But you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her when she turns up at Lol’s wedding with a card and finally admits she had a problem with her sister. I’m really glad Meadows allowed Kelly self-reflection as a character. I was starting to worry she’d gone completely off the rails. Her reunion with the gang was cleanly bringing down some walls that have been built between the characters in this series. Harvey appears to be making reconciliations with Kelly. Although Gadget’s fairy tale love story was not to materialize. Harvey appeared to have that corner covered though. But as they say, mates before dates YO!
Shaun, however, did find himself an eligible beau in the form of fellow photography student Charlotte. And Smell was left no more than a fart in the wind. Although she was sure to show her green-eyed monster before the episode was finished. I’m still a bit confused as to why Smell didn’t have more presence in this series, seeing as she was a more developed character previously. But I’m more than happy that Shaun found his vocation and ended the series as one of the most likable and developed of the characters.
So pretty much all our favourite characters were together again, happy in life and in love.
But that couldn’t account for the fact that this last episode left just a few people ‘upset’ by Combo’s exit from the series.
The café scene in which Milky drove Combo to a derelict café to ‘talk things over’ was possibly one of the most powerful scenes witnessed in the series.
For the first time since the series was born way back in 2006, we see vulnerability in Combo we have never seen before. Even when we cast our minds right back to the end of the film, remembering the brutal assault inflicted on the much loved Milky and just how unprovoked and evil it was, we still can’t help but feel desperately upset when Combo meet’s he’s demise.
Throughout the series, Milky has been deemed a quiet and gentle character. I couldn’t help but feel some frustration and disappointment when he allowed he’s relatives to take Combo away, tears, and regret etched across his face. He didn’t even try to prevent the act from happening.
It’s quite easy to understand why he wanted revenge against Combo. After all, this was the man who left him so badly beaten, his family was unsure he was going to make it. Yet I think this series allowed the audience to reflect on what revenge really means and whether it truly makes us feel better in the long run.
We can understand the resentment Milky feels towards Combo, and his anger. But seeing that look of remorse on Milk’s face throughout Lol and Woody’s wedding celebration just showed how a quick decision acted upon in a moment of passionate anger, can leave you feeling nothing but guilt. As the old saying goes ‘an eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind’.
Stephen perfectly portrayed a man on the edge. I couldn’t have imagined Combo could feel fear. Throughout the series, he has been portrayed as the alpha male, the boss, and a guy who stared fear straight in the face and laughed. But I can guarantee that audiences across the country who watched Meadow’s final installment of This is England on Sunday, would have fought back tears as Combo cried and screamed for he’s own life as the hands of a vicious gang even bigger and stronger than him. I can honestly say that scene was one of Meadow’s most traumatic and emotional. The audience would have felt helpless. Nobody wanted Combo to suffer the way he did. The fans had grown attached to him. And to know he didn’t have such a happy ending will have left a lot of people still attached to their TV screens, hugging them tightly and asking Meadows ‘WHY?’
Meadows really is a creative genius. He captured the countries imagination with some of the most lovable and intriguing characters to ever appear on British television and a story with true realism.
It was British television at it’s finest and truly BAFTA award-winning if I do say so myself.