Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Switch Season 1, Episode 3

 Grace is fretting over their plan to bring Lucy – Stella’s “mad ex” over without even explaining anything to her, while Jude tries to figure out what to wear to work in her first day as store manager.

Jude, one hangover cure later, sets off to her job, praised by Stella but Hannah questions her willingness to drop her dreams of being a fashion designer.

And Lucy arrives. Stella doesn’t recognise her at all – her memory’s completely gone – but Lucy cracks upon the photo album of the times they spent together. She’s also very very loud and rather annoying and more than a little nasty with burps and drinking out of the bottle of the milk. She is a witch – Air – but has no coven and she and Stella were together 5 years ago. Lucy says their relationship was fine, albeit fiery until they had a big fight, broke up and the coven convinced Stella to forget her. Grace counters that it the memory spell was Stella’s idea and that Stella was constantly in pieces with Lucy, all the time. But she thinks Stella can’t fall in love again until she remembers Lucy and gets over her.

To life the Switch, Stella and Lucy have to share a memory that means something and after a picture we won’t speculate about, Lucy points to their matching necklaces they got at Glastonbury where they nearly got married before Stella was transported to first aid in a wheelbarrow. It’s on such foundations that true love is built.

Stella hides in her bedroom trying to get Lucy to leave, pretending her memory is gone but Lucy stands outside being annoying until she hits on an old nickname that finally causes Stella to snap and slip that she remembers. The pair of them set to arguing while Hannah leaves to job hunt, leaving Grace to be on standby.

At work, Jude finds Aaron heartbroken because Miles has got a new job away from him and has already left. Jude says she needs him at work and he gets very dramatic, but any hissy fit is averted when he sees some new stylish clothes on the computer and completely forgets to be upset (see, if your GBF is having an emotional problem and you may find yourself focused on his issues for 2 minutes, don’t worry, throw some clothes at him. After he’s finished being gleeful over the fashion, the natural order will re-assert and he will return to your issues). The fashion designer behind the clothes – the new big thing – is an old school-friend of Jude’s. And he was completely and utterly uncool and unartistic at school. And he’s designing a special range just for them – it’s been kept secret because they didn’t want it to get out and “only the creative” were kept in the loop. Jude, the aspiring fashion designer, is shaken and upset, unsurprisingly.

Aaron sets to work trying to comfort her while Jude complains about the advantages the designer had she never did (he went on work experience in Paris, she went to a jam factory). When a customer comes in with a complaint she loses her temper and leaves.

Hannah looks for a job in the job centre window when she’s mistaken for someone else –a woman he interviewed for a job earlier. Hannah asks if the woman got the job, he says no, they needed someone more dynamic – she leaps on the chance and asks for an interview right here and now (well in the café). He works for a security company, testing company’s security and her job would be to test security guards to see if they’re up to scratch. Basically, she’s to try and shop lift and if she succeeds they return the goods and report, if not she shows her credentials. Uh-huh, I can see where this is going. Hannah, alas, cannot and is naively excited.  Julian gives hires her on a trial basis.

Back to the flat, Jude joins Grace on vigil outside Stella’s room. Jude says how much she hates her job and wants to use a Switch to design her a portfolio – she doesn’t want to manage a shop, she wants to design for them. Stella leaves the room describing Lucy as impossible and Hannah comes in telling everyone she’s got her dream job. Jude is not amused – Hannah gets her dream job in an hour, she’s been designing for years – she needs some help and summons everyone to the cauldron. Spell time! Which leaves Stella to return to her argument, Jude to work, Hannah to her secret work (she can tell no-one – uh-huh or Stella may hit her with some common sense) and Grace to return to her vigil, poor Grace. But it’s broken by Gerry arriving to collect his guitar. Let the flirting commence.

Stella, again, asks Lucy why she’s still there and Lucy wants to know if she feels nothing at all. Stella admits they had some good times but that they were mostly bad. Lucy says she’ll change and wants to go back. She talks about how she was heartbroken – just like Stella – and how it hurt to have Stella just delete Lucy from her memory. She has regrets and wants to change that.

There follows a prolonged silence which Grace considers to be a very bad sign in the ongoing argument. She enters the room, cries out and leaves. She walked in on them having sex (and is very very impressed by Stella’s flexibility). And the news – Lucy’s moving in and Stella and she are going to give it another go.

Hannah goes on her first “mission” and successfully shop lifts despite her extreme lack of subtlety. She reports to her boss who is very impressed by the amount of loot she hauled and says they need to go back in again to check the security guard who has a bad reputation. She realises, rather belatedly, that she could get the security guard fired.

She returns to the shop to renew stealing in an extremely obvious manner. She tries to make it more and more obvious in a desperate attempt to be noticed and caught by him. Eventually attracting the attention of a kid and getting him to tell the security guard. To her relief, she’s caught. To her dismay – the store manager has never heard of the firm she says she works for (who didn’t see this coming?) She turns and runs.

She hides out at the flat where Grace is being annoyed by Lucy (who also takes the time to dig at Hannah) – who has talked Stella into a 4 week holiday in Ibiza (which could jeopardise her job, much to Grace’s shock). Gerry invites her to his gig and Lucy insists they all go.

Jude goes to her headoffice with her new portfolio to see the creative director. Wendy, the receptionist tells her there’s no unsolicited material and won’t introduce her to the creative director when she collects her post (I think we’re supposed to see Wendy as being really unreasonable here – but that is kind of her job). Judge chases down Phoebe Striker, the creative director, and begs for 10 seconds of her time. The spell kicks in and she agrees. Flipping through the pages in her portfolio, Phoebe invites her up to the office for a chat.

She takes Jude into a full meeting and introduces her to a full table of designers, all of which are spelled into loving her work. Phoebe offers her the role of head designer and everyone applauds her.

In the office she calls Aaron and he squeals and celebrates for her. She tells him to tell work to stuff the old job. But then starts her first task – the weekly team meeting every Friday at 11:00am (now). They ask her vision for the next season and she’s clearly out of her depth, she wings through it well, possibly spell assisted. At break she sits next to the intern who desperately wants to be a designer and asks Jude how she managed to get where she is. The others mock her for not having heard of Jude. Jude learns that the intern has 3 other jobs as well as being an intern, she couldn’t afford to do it otherwise.

Later the intern shyly asks Jude to look at her portfolio. She praises her talent since they’re, apparently, really good. She asks Jude if there’s anything else she should be doing to get noticed. When Phoebe dumps some costings work on her desk – figures Jude doesn’t remotely understand – Jude offers it to the intern as a chance to get more responsibility, exciting her that she’s so trusted.

Of course, she’s an intern and doesn’t really have the experience for such responsibility – all the costings and fabric orders are completely wrong and Phoebe goes on the warpath after Jude. Jude throws the intern to the wolves who gets kicked out.

Back to the flat – Jude is just thrilled that Lucy and Stella are back together and that Lucy has moved in. Really.

Jude, Grace and Hannah have a meeting. Jude and Hannah are obviously concerned with their work issues and Grace criticises them for being selfish since they’re not concerned with Stella. Jude slaps her down then calmly explains that no, they’re not responsible for Stella’s happiness, they removed the spell and if, without any magical interference, Stella chooses Lucy anyway then that is her choice to make even if they don’t like it. Damn just when you think everything is just too silly, in comes some excellent advice like this. Jude says she’s resolved what she will do with work and Hannah dramatically declares that she won’t bring her friends down with her.

To the pub with 2 celebrants and three very reluctant members (and Jude makes an unnecessary comment about not even thinking Lucy’s gay because she thinks she’s giving Gerry they eye. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Lucy without attacking her sexuality or presenting possible bisexuality as a reason not to trust her). They ask Stella if she is sure about Lucy and Stella says Lucy has changed – and also blames them for controlling her life with the Switch which they protest about since it was Stella’s idea in the first place. When Hannah can’t afford to pay for the drinks because her card is refuse, Stella goes to play but Lucy steamrolls over her and tells her not to (Grace picks up the tab) and then Lucy invites the whole bar back to their place for a party.

At the party, Stella is upset by Lucy dancing very up close and sexily with another woman. But then another woman brings Stella a drink – which she takes – and they dance (in a much more restrained way than Lucy) Stella gets much more. Grace hides after being a little jealous of Jude and Gerry. Later Gerry accidentally enters her room looking for the bathroom. Grace praises Jude considerably to him. Sexual tension builds, they lean together and… hear screaming.

They run through to find Lucy attacking the woman who was dancing with Stella. Gerry splits them up and says the party’s over (everyone leaves) while Stella tells Lucy to calm down. Lucy starts ranting and raving and attacks Stella with a whisk. She screams at Stella that her coven aren’t her friends, that they’re losers who are using her (you probably had more credibility in these judgement calls before attacking someone with a whisk). Stella announces that they may be losers but they’re her losers and to get the fuck out. Lucy storms out growling that nothing’s changed – and Stella agrees – no, it hasn’t.

Time for the aftermath. Everyone on the sofa, Grace removing the whisk from Stella’s hair and they discuss Stella being free. And Hannah asks for a Switch for her embarrassing situation.

Using her boss’s business card to target a spell to him – to prevent him telling any more lies. He hands all the goods to the security guard with a confession and also saying he has a very small penis.

Jude, at her work, quits her job, takes responsibility for the screw up and shows Phoebe the intern’s work, showing its value and encouraging her to take the intern back.

She and Hannah have a new plan – setting up their own market stall with Jude selling her own creations. Hannah handles the retail side (already smoothly fitting into the market community) and Jude handles the creation. Jude kisses Gerry – with Grace looking on, and Stella sees Ariel, the cute girl she talked to in the pub the other night and goes to speak to her after the other 3 threaten to drag her over.

I think Stella and Lucy were really well done. Sure it’s not a happy relationship – but does anyone have a happy relationship on the show yet? In fact, she’s the closest we’ve seen any of them have to an actual long term relationship. Stella and Lucy present differently, but there’s no attempt to create a “male” and a “female” partner. Unlike the gay men in episode 1, there’s no sanitisation of their relationship and they do kiss on screen and have sex off it – similar in treatment to Jude and Miles. Lucy is a horrible person – but she’s a horrible person. She isn’t a horrible lesbian replete with lesbian tropes etc, she’s just a horrible person. And, other than one comment by Jude, everyone accepts Lucy and Stella’s relationship and casually accept her lesbianism – but don’t like Lucy specifically.

Unfortunately while the lesbians are handled well, the gay men continue to be offensive. Aaron is stereotype laden, barely appears and Jude completely ignores his issues to talk about hers – his recent break up is less important than her underlying career angst. He’s a complete, subservient Gay Best Friend to a straight woman.

I liked the lessons around Jude and short cuts but I also hoped more would be developed on the opportunities she was denied due to class. We touched on it with the opportunities her classmate had that she didn’t but then it was derailed by Jude using magic to get to the top of her profession rather than going the long way. It was a nice lesson about shortcuts but missed the lesson about class and opportunity.

I am glad with Jude and Hannah working together. Hannah tends to breeze in with everyone else without any commitments of her own, Grace is the anchor at home and Stella the mother hen which means those 3 tend to be heavily involved in the storyline. Jude with her separate job has been more apart from the group a little so I’m glad they’re bringing her back in.