TV Review: Catastrophe, Series 3, Final Episode

I don’t really know why but I’d slightly drifted away from Catastrophe during this series. It was still one of the best things on TV but maybe it had started off too well and I was worried it couldn't possibly keep its impeccable standards up. Like a relationship that had settled down it was good but ceased to be exciting and I started to look for my kicks elsewhere.

But I still stuck with it and boy am I glad. The last episode was a real punch to the gut. Funny, sexy and moving and equal measures. Well, to be honest, most of all it was moving. Mortality and death cast a very big shadow over the proceedings as art and life collided. Firstly Sharon went to Ireland for her fictional father’s funeral. Then Rob Delaney’s fictional mother, played by Carrie Fisher, pitched up.

It was the last part Fisher filmed before she died last Christmas and while nobody knew this at the time, there was something poetic and elegiac about her presence. And, as always, she delivered some great lines in that trademark gruff voice, levelling with her alcoholic son Rob about his slip back into drinking.

But the most powerful scenes for me were the very final ones. After Sharon went out and got drunk – watch it on catch-up to find out why – she called Rob to pick her up. They had a typically sweet, flirty chat in the car when she got the munchies. She wanted a greasy pizza and she wanted it now so she got out and ran into the road.

For one awful, nerve-shredding moment I thought she was going to be hit by a truck. In fact I kept think it as vehicles passed her on either side. Could the co-writer of the show kill herself off? I dreaded it but braced myself. And then she made it into the shop and I thought the worst thing she would suffer would be indigestion and a hangover. 

And then the action cut to Rob who was driving around while he waiting for her. Again I could feel my buttocks tensing. Was he going to be distracted and run someone down? The cameras kept cutting away to green lights. Would one of them change to red while his foot was on the accelerator and his mind was elsewhere? Maybe thinking about Sharon. Maybe thinking about his next drink.

And then, of course there was drama. It was horrible to watch. I watched it again this morning and hoped it would all be OK. In the same way whenever I watch the end of The Great Escape I think that maybe this time Steve McQueen will make it over the barbed wire to freedom. But that’s not how Catastrophe works. It’s far to real for that. Watch it on catch-up and see for yourself. Couldn't keep its impeccable standard up? How wrong was I?

Oh, and everybody else was brilliant, but Douglas Hodge was particularly brilliant too.

Watch on catch-up here.

Picture C4.

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