Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Travel Through TV: Blackpool 1.06

“I just wish God had let me know when my luck was running out, you know? A hint. A tip-off. Something.”

We have come to the final day of our six week adventures in Blackpool. Next week, we will be heading to the French Alps (I’ll leave you to guess what show we will be watching from that clue), which is quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. For now, though, let’s wrap up our adventures with Ripley Holden and his wacky (and seriously messed up) family. Everything comes to a head in this episode, and by the end (spoiler alert) all the secrets are out. Ripley finds out about Natalie’s affair. Danny comes out to Ripley. The financial status of the arcade comes to a head. We even find out who really murdered Mike Hooley, and it’s not who you think. Overall, I think the episode provided some good resolution for all of the main characters, although there are a couple threads left open for viewers to wonder what happens next.

We open, as we usually do on “Blackpool,” with a musical number. Appropriately, since Shyanne’s wedding is approaching, the song this time around is “White Wedding.” The set-up is that Ripley is basically having a nightmare. His accountant, Adrian, is lording his new ownership of the arcade over everyone, and Carlisle makes an appearance, of course. When Ripley wakes up, he and Natalie have an argument over the fire at the Flats and the ownership of the Flats. Natalie is angry about the fire, and Ripley is angry that she put the Flats in trust without telling him. Natalie says she put the Flats into a trust for the kids because she thought it was the best thing for their family. Talking about the family finally gets through to Ripley, and they briefly hug.

We actually learn quite a bit about what makes Ripley tick in this episode. There’s a great scene where he talks to perpetual arcade protester Hallworth about his bad relationship with his father, and how his father never thought he was good enough. There are also a couple of great scenes at the arcade early-ish in the episode that also speak to Ripley’s character. Adrian is at the arcade, and he’s got guys trying to inventory and value everything. The vultures are circling, so to speak. Adrian’s a friend, though, so Ripley tries to make nice. He promises to transfer the deed to the arcade ASAP, and he even invites Adrian to Shyanne’s wedding. There’s another scene where Helen and Deaf Barry are cleaning up the Arcade, and Ripley recommends installing some more 2p machines. Helen and Deaf Barry are sad they aren’t going for the brass ring of the casino/hotel anymore. This scene is interrupted by Carlisle asking about what happened with the fire at the Flats, but the interruption doesn’t last long. Blythe pulls Carlisle away because he’s supposed to be distancing himself from the investigation due to his relationship with Natalie.

There was also some drama leading up to Shyanne’s wedding. Steve and Shyanne have a chat where they are comparing RSVPs from their respective guest lists. Steve mentions that he’s only going to have one family member at the wedding. He tells Shyanne it’s the only family member he really cares about being there, though. His son. Way to go Steve, springing a kid on your fiancée the day before the wedding. Not only does Steve have a son, but the son is two years older than Shyanne. Shyanne takes the news in stride as much as she can, telling Steve that she doesn’t have a problem with it. She does have an awkward conversation with Ripley about the situation, though. She figures Ripley is going to take the opportunity to make fun of her, but he is genuinely happy that she found someone who takes good care of her and loves her so much (even if he does leave out big life details until the last second). They talk about when Shyanne was a kid and she would walk along a railing, Ripley would always let go of her hand for just a few seconds so she would know what it felt like to take a risk. Shyanne tells Ripley that he made her who she is.

Ripley and Natalie, even though they know their marriage is hanging on by a thread, decide to have sex. Afterwards, Ripley says Natalie felt “far away,” and he wonders aloud if she’s seeing someone else. Shyanne and Danny, wanting to get away from the sounds of their parents’ bedroom, sit outside by the pool. Danny admits to beating up Steve, and Shyanne is both furious and worried. She can’t comprehend what would lead a person to do what Danny has done. Meanwhile, Carlisle and Blythe meet up with Hailey (one of the prostitutes who lived at the Flats), and they threaten to arrest her for Mike Hooley’s murder if she doesn’t tell them who really did it. She says Ripley is the murderer, which is, of course, what Carlisle really wanted to hear.

On the morning of the wedding, Ripley specifically confronts Natalie about sleeping with Carlisle. Natalie admits it, but she’s not really sorry. She thinks Ripley is more upset at being betrayed than because he actually loves her. There’s a lot of yelling, and Ripley says they’re done, but before the argument can really conclude, it’s time for the family to hop into the limo for the wedding. Outside of the house, Danny and Shyanne have another conversation about what happened with Steve, and they eventually make up. The limo takes the family to the Blackpool pier (if there is such a thing . . . it certainly looked like a pier, and it’s time for Shyanne’s wedding. The venue looks extremely tacky, as befits the Holden family, I suppose. It has a Vegas or Niagara Falls chapel vibe.

I generally love the campy musical numbers on “Blackpool,” but the wedding number in this episode wasn’t one of them. It’s super hokey, which fits with the venue. It’s a song, I think about being torn between two lovers, but the main singers are Ripley, Shyanne, and Steve, so it’s just kind of creepy. The party is going strong when Carlisle and Blythe show up to arrest Ripley. Ripley have a private conversation outside, though, and they come to an understanding (much to Blythe’s chagrin). Carlisle will leave Ripley and Danny alone, and in exchange, Ripley will give Carlisle and Natalie his blessing. He reminds Carlisle that Natalie will never talk to him again if he arrests him, and Carlisle buys it. Meanwhile, at the reception, Ripley’s two friends/arcade investors find out about the plan to sell the arcade to Adrian, and they are not happy about it.

Like I said, Blythe is not happy to hear about the deal Carlisle struck with Ripley. Carlisle, however, threatens to frame Blythe for drug use if he doesn’t keep quiet. This is an especially ugly side of Carlisle that we haven’t seen before. He tells Carlisle that maybe he can arrest Ripley someday, but not now. He does, however, let him arrest Adrian for what basically amounts to accounting/tax fraud. Carlisle also makes his way back to the wedding venue. He sits down with Natalie for just a few seconds before she gets up and walks outside. Carlisle follows her outside, and they talk about what’s next. Natalie, of course, wants to go back to Ripley because that’s safe and what is expected of her. Carlisle, of course, is devastated.

Ripley figures out that Danny is gay when he is giving Danny a hard time about not dancing with any of the girls at the wedding. He takes the news surprisingly well. The pair go to the arcade, where Danny gives some suggestions about how it might get more business if there were other fun things to do besides slot machines, like dance floors. Ripley marvels at how it takes a gay man to fix up a place like the arcade, but he also praises Danny at being a true Holden with his ingenuity for business. Ripley tells Danny that he’s going to sell him the arcade for a token amount, then Danny can use the Flats fire insurance money to fix the place up. Continuing his do nice things for the family tour, Ripley talks to Natalie and lets her go, telling her that he wants her to be happy, and she’ll never be happy staying with him.

After reconciling with his family, Ripley goes back into the wedding venue and gives a big speech about luck and how much he loves his family. After the wedding, he talks to Hailey, and we learn the true story of what happened to Mike Hooley. It actually was Danny who killed him, although Hailey told Carlisle it was Ripley because she figured Ripley could handle himself (and she was right). The episode ends with a big montage of what becomes of all our favorite characters. Danny takes over the casino, Shyanne and Steve enter married life (although Steve might have some competition for Shyanne from his son), Natalie and Carlisle do get back together (and eat chips together), and Ripley goes to Vegas. Because where else would Ripley Holden most like to go?

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