The second episode of Too Close is a distinct improvement, easing up on the cliches and developing much more intriguing human drama.
This recap of Too Close episode 2 contains spoilers.
After the first episode threatened to descend into pantomime territory with its cliched interpretation of the age-old “unpredictable psychopath meets buttoned-up professional” plot, Too Close episode 2 is a significant and welcome improvement for ITV’s new three-part thriller. There was, blessedly, much less amateur philosophizing and edgy erraticism, and much more examination of what actually led to Connie looking like a ghoul in a psychiatric facility. It was, of course, primarily a story of betrayal, told mostly in flashback, but Denise Gough delivered such a note-perfect performance of a woman spiraling into madness that all her previous extravagances could be forgiven. Almost, anyway.
At least we have a sense now of quite how bad things were going for Connie prior to the crash. In bed with her husband Karl one night, he laments that she’s no longer the exciting, adventurous artist he fell in love with and pretends to worry that he has clipped her wings with aw-shucks mundanity. This is, of course, just a ploy to suggest that they both sleep with other people, which is perhaps the most blasé push for an open relationship I’ve ever seen depicted anywhere, so it’s bizarre that Connie seems willing to go along with it.
Of course, she has an ulterior motive – Ness, who she is becoming increasingly infatuated with. But despite their sudden closeness as friends, Ness doesn’t pick up on Connie’s obvious come-on, or if she does she ignores it completely, so Connie is instead left to try her luck with an old college professor she used to like. He rejects her as well, though, leaving her pretty down on the whole idea of an open relationship just in time to accidentally overhear Karl having very talkative sex with Ness. Yikes. This, combined with a cocktail of antidepressants and a mother rapidly succumbing to dementia, was enough to tip Connie over the edge.
We presume, anyway – there are pieces of the story still missing.
Too Close episode 2 also devoted more time to Emma, frustrated by her own husband and his obnoxious friends, and haunted by the loss of their daughter, Abigail, who was killed in a traffic accident. It’s obvious that both these women, similar in so many ways, are being positioned as each other’s only ally, and the repercussions that might have for both Connie’s case and Emma’s career are compelling enough to tune into tomorrow night’s finale. There’s also the small matter that this episode ends with Connie setting her room ablaze – a symbolic gesture as much as anything else. If what emerges from the ashes can at least mimic the form of this middle installment, then Too Close will have overcome a shaky start to become a very worthwhile drama.