“No Accident” tackles a highly relatable anxiety for many parents as Paul and Ally inadvertently earn the suspicions of social services.
This recap of Breeders Season 1, Episode 3, “No Accident”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Breeders Episode 3 opens with a scenario that will likely be familiar for all parents: Ally (Daisy Haggard) is out with Luke (George Wakeman) and Ava (Jayda Eyles), and Ava is about to sh** herself. Paul (Martin Freeman) isn’t having much fun either since he’s at the hospital with Jackie (Joanna Bacon) and Jim (Alun Armstrong), the latter of whom has hurt his foot.
Things don’t get better for Ally when she returns home, since Michael (Michael McKean) is still living with them and clearing out the fridge hosting dinner parties, but they get much worse for Paul. As he’s leaving the hospital with Jackie, he pulls her out of the way of a passing ambulance, hurting her. While explaining what happened to the nurse, she makes it sound very much like Paul abuses her, and the nurse recognizes him anyway from all the times he and Ally have brought accident-prone Luke in with various injuries.
Ally’s mum is supposed to be babysitting, but as soon as she enters the house she smells Michael’s presence and flees, leaving Ally and Paul to scrape together an ad-hoc dinner. Paul rushes Luke down the stairs, and he falls and badly hurts his ankle. After his experience at the hospital, Paul is reluctant to take him.
This, by the way, is a very real fear for a lot of parents, and you can take that from someone who has had a similar experience — Breeders Episode 3 tackles what happens next with humour, but there’s enough of a grain of terror in the scenario to be relatable. Paul and Ally decide medical assistance is required, and take Luke to the hospital, coaching him outside on what not to say when he’s asked questions. Unfortunately, one of the men smoking outside happens to be the doctor who attends to him, and the nurse says that, while he’s fine, she’s going to send the dreaded social services around to the house in order to discuss safety.
The blame game starts in the car ride home. Paul thinks it’s all his fault because he’s the one who shouts. He discusses this in the pub with his dad, who says he got smacked as a kid but never beaten — there’s a difference, and Paul can obviously see it. Since he would never physically hurt his kids, his new theory is that he’s subconsciously hurting them because he knows he can’t smack them. It’s ridiculous, granted, but also the kind of topsy-turvy logic you’d expect from a parent who is suddenly faced with the prospect of being told they’re unfit to raise their children.
To prepare for the social services visit, Paul and Ally throw out all of their empty alcohol bottles in “No Accident”, and sling some in Carl’s (Tim Steed) recycling next door. Carl immediately susses out that social are visiting since they’re always shouting and swearing and have a bit of a reputation for it, but he also advises them to fill their fridge, since it’ll likely be checked. Unfortunately, Michael has cleared it out, and their online grocery shopping is delayed. Paul berates the driver on the phone, but it doesn’t do any good — social, or “the Stasi” as Ally calls them, arrive.
Paul is so panicked by the situation that he simply admits they’re terrified. Ally wants to know if they’ve passed, even though she knows, and is told, that this isn’t how these things work. The social workers say that the house is obviously child-centric, and the kids are cared for, but accidents need to be prevented or they’ll be forced to intervene.
Finally, the shopping arrives, and the driver tells Paul to f*** himself for how he spoke to him on the phone. It’s better than the alternative.
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