Review – The A Word: Episode 4

The A Word: Episode 4

the a word

So after last week’s episode, did things get any better for the Hughes family? Any acceptance creeping through?

Well…yes and no. Straight off the bat there once again isn’t much Joe in this episode, again focusing on the drama surrounding him rather than focusing on him. We start off this episode with Joe walking like he normally does and this time a strange approaches him, concerned, and tries to take off his headphones and speak to him. Maya turns up and berates the stranger and takes Joe back home like they always do. I have mixed feelings about this whole scene – I think we’re meant to think that Joe’s early morning walks are all good. Except part of me was thinking what if we imagined a hypothetical scene were that stranger attacked Joe or if he was texting whilst driving and ran him over… Like I said, mixed feelings about how I was meant to interpret that scene.

We see a brief scene where Paul and Allison start the EHCP with the school, and I’m sure even this very short scene will bring back memories of the frustratingly slow speed at which the system can work sometimes. The Allison reveals she is on the school parent reading rota – so she can do more spying on Joe and mourn his lack of friends. Except, as she’s leaving she sees him playing with two children! So obviously it’s sleepover time! The sleepover is hilariously awkward and culminates in Joe getting ill and being sick so sleepover over. The children who played Billie and Ramesh are just as good as Max Vento, and as awkward as the sleepover scene was it was a bright point in the series. So Joe is off sick and Allison and he bond over old photographs and it looks for a moment like maybe all the fighting to “fix” Joe might go away but, the next day he is not sick anymore and back to his world of music. Nicola explains his brief connection to Allison as the result of the “Fever effect” – and there’s this uncomfortable bringing up of the whole idea of there being a “real” person beneath the autisticness from Allison and all my hope goes out the window.

Rebecca is struggling in the aftermath of her boyfriend being an ass, and with little support from her family she turns to Eddie and Nicola to fulfill her emotional support needs. She’s becoming more and more distant from her direct family, then Eddie “threatens” Luke for being an ass and in true cowardly fashion Luke latches onto that and uses it as an excuse to break up with Rebecca. Now, should Eddie have spoken to Luke? No, it wasn’t his place; but the way it’s acted, and Luke’s later behaviour as well all points to it being a convenient way out for him. Rebecca is destroyed – her parents still don’t know how to support her and she ends up going to visit her biological dad and newborn half-sister. This leads to the first real scene between Rebecca and Maurice, where we see a touch of what Maurice is dealing with in terms of grief and internal conflict – it is a really well acted scene by Christopher Eccleston.

There’s all sorts of other drama bits going on that I’m not all that bothered about, and there was very little in the way of Joe again really in this episode – although he did have a couple of really good scenes with Maya who is a much more accepting that Allison. Again, we’re reminded of the fact that yes this family have loads of problems but none of them are really to do with Joe or to do with autism.

Is it worth watching?

Better than last weeks, but lacking in Joe again. We’re two episodes from the end now and next week’s preview leaves me wondering if we’re going to see Allison finally accept Joe for who he is or if that truly is just wishful thinking.

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