“No Places” makes for another hilarious installment as Ally and Paul debate how to give their kids the best start in life.
This recap of Breeders Season 1, Episode 2, “No Places”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Echoing the thoughts of most parents in the UK, and presumably everywhere else too, Paul (Martin Freeman) is fuming that his son Luke (George Wakeman) only has “average” reading. He learns this at parent’s evening, where he’s told that Luke is right where he should be, in a mixed-ability class that is absolutely, definitely not holding any of the “gifted” kids back. And we don’t use the word “gifted” anymore, thanks very much.
Breeders Episode 2 is, like the premiere, hilarious. The title, “No Places”, is to do with schools — Paul wants to get Ava (Jayda Eyles) in reception at a better school than the one Luke attends so that, thanks to their sibling policy, he can get Luke transferred there too as soon as a place becomes available. But Ally (Daisy Haggard) isn’t too keen on the idea.
“No Places” could also, possibly, refer to the care facility that Paul’s parents Jackie (Joanna Bacon) and Jim (Alun Armstrong) are looking into so that they don’t become a burden in their old age. Paul is against the idea but hopefully, the Council will pay for it and it’ll stop them buying junk from shopping channels: “It’s our secret shame.”
This is the least of Paul’s problems in Breeders Episode 2. He was passed over for a promotion at work in favor of a younger colleague and he’s clearly bitter about it. This brings into stark relief that his kids probably won’t do that well in life either, destined to become an area manager at Boots or some such rather than anything fancy, which leads his parents to believe he’s depressed.
He might be eventually since Ally runs into her estranged father Michael (Michael McKean), a maverick hippie type who thinks education is for idiots and has nowhere to stay and no money, so ends up temporarily moving in with them. As thanks, he cooks them a meal with mushrooms he has foraged from near a railway bridge, where he also had a conversation with a fox.
When Michael goes upstairs to make up a bedtime story for the kids, Paul talks with Ally about schools again, telling her he was wrong. But she has changed her tune too — she thinks they should give their kids the best start possible in life so they don’t turn out like her dad, foraging for mushrooms and “chatting sh** to foxes”.
In a funny subplot, Paul and Ally decide to prevent the local smug couple from buying a property they want by posting on the husband’s work website about his wife’s affair. We also learn that Jackie and Jim aren’t entitled to council-funded care since they have savings, so they’ve decided when they become burdens they’ll just go to Dignitas — it’s up to Paul to decide when that is, so they’ve basically appointed him as their executioner.
At the school play, Mrs. Hickson, the smug mother who was cheating on her husband, sits beside Paul and Ally and informs them that, given their pending divorce, they’re no longer able to afford the house they were looking at — which turns out to have been for her mother. Another smug school mum is moving there instead, so the sabotage was all for naught. At least Luke’s efforts at handling the play’s lighting confirm what Paul was saying earlier about the kids not amounting to anything.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.