“Scott and Bailey” recap (3.5): The Stories of Skeletons

Joe finally confesses to the murder of the boys, although he says it was all because he was coerced by his dead wife Eustace. He does refuse to admit to the murder of Sheila, though, until Rachel finally catches him during interrogation when he slips up and admits more details than he’s supposed to know. Dear old Joe is dragged to a jail cell, while everyone else celebrates. Even Gill is all smiles!

She’s the best, this one!

She really is!

Janet and Rachel also share a smiles filled car ride, where Rachel even tickles Janet under the chin as Janet teases her for her brilliance, and how could you NOT love these two?

I can’t.

The only person who still isn’t smiling, not surprisingly, is Helen. The unit charging her in “preventing a lawful burial” of her brother has refused to drop their charges even though the investigation has tried to press them on it. Janet and Rachel have the unfortunate job of arresting Helen at the end of the day. And Helen goes down fighting. Oh, Helen. Maybe one day you’ll find peace.

Saddest lesbian EVER.

Our episode wraps up there, but clearly even with Joe Bevan put away, this story isn’t completely over. The show returns with an episodic storyline next week, but Helen (and I) will be back for Episodes 7 and 8.

I also feel the need to comment on some of the reviews of this show I’ve read recently, just because the idea of such a female heavy show is apparently so damn scary to everyone. In the Daily Mail this week, Christopher Stevens wrote a column entitled, “Hooray for Scott & Bailey…it’s just a pity about the manhating.” This is by no means the first such criticism I’ve seen. While people agree that the female characters are top-notch, some complain that the male characters fall flat, lacking dimension and empathy. A caption in this most recent article explains it as male characters often being “incidental” on the program. Oh, really? Boo hoo for all the poor men! We have no idea what that must feel like! Stevens goes on to say this, though:

There’s a disturbing strain of man hatred, which has become more pronounced through Scott & Bailey’s three series. Someone behind this show really does believe all men are violent pigs — not just the suspects, but colleagues and husbands, too.

And now, this assertion seems just silly to me. I don’t get the “men are violent pigs” vibe at ALL. In both Janet and Rachel’s rocky personal relationships, the women themselves are often just as at fault for the rocky times as the men, if not more so. While I did just complain about Sean’s refusal to accept Rachel in this very episode, it’s clear that his anger is born out of love–with a side of testosterone fueled pigheadedness, sure. But he’s not cast as an evil person, which is even more true with the colleagues. Sure, there’s the buffoon of the office, Kevin, who often says dumb and ignorant things (and it’s unfortunate there are never ever any female side characters whose purpose is to be dumb and ignorant on TV), but the other men in the office appear to be quite good people. They’re just not as fleshed out as the ladies because they’re NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS.

Another article in the Independent, meanwhile, made a different argument altogether. It poses that the world of Scott & Bailey, where women rule every rank and situation, is maybe refreshing but also completely unrealistic, a world out of the future. Tom Sutcliffe says:

After all, pretending that a problem doesn’t exist isn’t always the best way to address it. The glass ceiling appears to have been simply willed out of existence here, which is something a fiction can easily do, but doesn’t stop you thinking that it might be avoiding a battle rather than fighting it.

It appears the lack of a gender struggle in such a typically male-centric world as the police is a flaw of the show to him. But while I can at least understand this logic, part of me just wonders–so? Why can’t it just be refreshing? There are plenty of shows and books and movies that document the struggle of minorities, whether it be women or queers and racial minorities. They’re incredibly important.

But we’re also always hearing that the only way to really change discrimination isn’t through laws but changing society’s views. Isn’t showing viewers a world where women run things just as a matter of course–and doing just fine at it, thankyouverymuch–working to do just that?

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