The A Word: Episode 6
The final episode and this is pretty much the last chance for Allison to find some kind of acceptance. Does she?
So on the day of the big pub opening everything that’s been building up over the previous episodes all sort of explode at once. Paul’s been sleeping at the pub and ignoring Allison’s calls, Rebecca’s dad is a prick and (to her face) refers to himself as a father of four and forgets to include the very daughter he’s speaking to in that count, Eddie has made a decision to move to Manchester and pursue a new job, and Paul wants Joe out of the way for the pub opening. So off toddles Joe with Maurice to meet Louise and Ralph.
Whilst the pub opening goes ahead relatively well, Joe wanders away from Louise’s house leaving Maurice in a frantic panic. Whilst he upsets Ralph and then rushes back to the pub, things there are continuing in chaos as Nicola tells Eddie she might be pregnant whilst Allison and Paul pledge to sort out their marriage. Then comes Maurice with the bad news.
Now I know there have been people online who have complained about the discussions about Joe’s wandering. Some people have even gone so far as to say that autistic children don’t wander without reason – they must always be trying to escape an abusive family or something else. I wandered as a child and an adolescent and sometimes it was just because I was distracted, and sometimes it was because I just started walking and for whatever reason didn’t stop, then as I got confused over where I was rather than stopping and retracing my steps, I just kept walking. Wandering can be dangerous, autistic children do die from wandering and falling into bodies of water and drowning. So I do think it was important for Joe’s wandering to be covered in this episode. The family are forced to finally tell people that Joe is autistic, and explain what that means in terms of finding him.
If it wasn’t for that fact that they are all trying to find a missing child – the next few scenes would be quite humorous as people frantically blast music from their cars and phones and other devices in an attempt to lure Joe in. This episode also touches on the fact that if you are different – disability or otherwise – people will be suspicious of you without good reason. Rumours are whispered about Ralph’s involvement in an incident a few years previously which drives Allison around to see Louise and Ralph. That ends about as well as you might imagine.
Then we get the moment of acceptance from Allison that I was so hoping would come. I guess it’s a cliche but with Joe gone, and after looking at his awful colouring in, Allison realises that she doesn’t want Joe to be a different boy – she just wants Joe. Shame it took him going missing for that realisation but it’s a nice scene regardless.
Of course Joe is found, by Rebecca’s asshole ex Luke of all people and then the episode kind of gets a bit frantic in trying to cram everything in at the end. So we have Paul thanking Luke but making sure he knows that after his treatment of Rebecca he’s “just a twat who did a good thing”, then we have Nicola trying to explain that they as neurotypicals are forcing their views on Joe’s actions, Allison goes to apologise to Louise and Ralph and that goes horrendously as well, it turns out Nicola isn’t pregnant (and what was the point of that side storyline?), find out that Eddie’s first thought on being told about the pregnancy was “Am I the father?”, he upsets Nicola and then he packs a bag and runs off before the episode ends on a genuinely nice moment where Joe, Allison, Rebecca, and Paul are all cuddling on the bed. So, pretty much chaos from beginning to end in this episode then.
So – I’m fairly certain that the BBC are at least considering continuing their for a second season based on the way they have left things. Everything is still pretty much going to pieces but there’s the glimmers of acceptance that I had so much hope for at the beginning of the series. The last 10 minutes were very rushed and that is a shame because it was a strong episode – even if Joe was absent for most of it. With this season finale, I do hope they come back for a second season.
Is it worth watching?
It’s a strong finisher and overall this series has been pretty good. I really do hope they come back for a second series where we can see whether Allison’s acceptance was long lasting. The acting in this series has been brilliant overall from all the main cast and it would be good to see them come back.