Carrion Youth

Three teens aspire to popularity. But when it all goes wrong their party becomes a fight for survival.

Ethan Thomas and Chris Cooper just want to be “high school famous”. When their pursuit of popularity lands Ethan in trouble with the law and and bitten by a homeless man, he’s ready to give up on his dreams. Chris isn’t letting go so easily, and plans to make it up to him with an epic party in Ethan’s own house. It’s a night of firsts; Ethan’s first house part, first kiss and first time coughing up blood. His injury is worse than anyone ever expected and what starts as an out of control party becomes a violent fight for survival.

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Awakened

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is here. I repeat, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is here. The most anticipated film of 2015 has finally arrived. It could either be the best thing since A New Hope or the largest disaster since Attack of the Clones (yes, I still think it’s worse than The Phantom Menace). This is Star Wars for a new generation and if done right it could endear a world of children to the franchise.

And they did it right. The visuals are stunning, the characters intriguing and the dialogue is a vast improvement on the stiled, hammy lines we got from George Lucas. There are lightsaber fights, blaster shootouts, electrical baton/lightsaber fights and X-Wing/TIE Fighter show downs. There are daring escapes, daring rescues and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t state without spoiling everything. All you need to know is that it’s good and if you’re excited for this film you should definitely see it as soon as you can.

The First Order's Kylo Ren is the new villain in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, played in the film by Adam Driver.

Love Meeeeeeeeee!

Most people will be excited for reappearances of Leia, Han and Chewy but it’s the new cast members in the forms of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver whose performances bring the narrative to life. Boyega’s character, a turncoat stormtrooper, is one that we haven’t  really seen in the Star Wars franchise thus far and the film has great fun in the opening half hour demonstrating that Finn is actually quite a good shot. Rey is a scavenger pilot who is trying to do the right thing without really getting involved. Somewhat like Han Solo from the original film although she’s much more idealistic and open-minded to the power and effectiveness of the force. And Adam Driver does a great turn as an intimidating, conflicted character who is actually really confused about what the right choice is.

If there is a criticism to be made, it’s that The Force Awakens draws heavily on A New Hope. The story arcs for both films are remarkably similar. There’s enough in here for the series to feel new but there are large structural points which harken back to the first of the original trilogy. Without spoiling anything, the film begins with a droid with a secret on a quiet, desert planet being found by one of the main characters whose help is enlisted to complete it. That’s just the beginning. It’s not a terrible thing for the film to recall A New Hope. When last the franchise tried to be original we got the prequel trilogy. But I do feel that J. J. Abrams played it safe. So long as he followed the original film’s key points, he couldn’t really go wrong.

Mark Hamil's Luke Skywalker is notably absent from the film, aside from a few glimpses.

30 years on, Luke is a myth. There’s your gratitude.

This is just one film though, and it does end somewhat more optimistically than A New Hope. The Force Awakens may hold true to the traditions of the Star Wars franchise but there’s still plenty of potential for the future trilogy entries to take more risks in regards to structure and story development. Regardless of what this film replicates or how the series evolves, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is an intensely enjoyable affair. Treat yourself this Christmas by seeing the best film of 2015.

Speaking of Christmas, this will be my last post for this winter season. I thought it appropriate to end with a big one. But preposterprose will resume in the new year with new reviews and opinion pieces on subjects such as Fallout 4 and the various Christmas specials. Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Jonesing

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to Jessica Jones. Daredevil was good but plagued by structural issues which left me less than enthusiastic for the next installments of Marvel’s alliance  with Netflix. On the contrary though Jessica Jones is a vast improvement on Daredevil. Melissa Rosenberg appears to have a handle on the character and crafting of the overall story arc that were largely missing from Drew Goddard’s Daredevil. In fact, I’d go as far to say this is one of the strongest serial shows to come out of both Marvel and Netflix.

Jessica Jones follows the titular Jessica Jones, a former superhero turned private investigator with a dark and traumatic past. She spends her days and nights drinking and stalking possible cheaters until one case brings her traumatic past to the present. The character, played by Krysten Ritter, was previously brainwashed by supervillain Kilgrave, with David Tennant appearing in the role. Jones managed to escape but now, at the beginning of the series, Kilgrave, who she previously thought to be dead, begins tormenting her once again.

Mike Colter and Krysten Ritter appear as Luke Cage and the titular Jessica Jones in the Marvel-Netflix superhero series, Jessica Jones.

Fighting super villains makes for a great meet cute.

Jones is a very conflicted character, wanting to be good but jaded from her experiences. More than just the typical anti-hero, who is painted as doing bad things for the right reasons, Jones’ story arc is very much about her ability to deal her trauma. Very often superheros are painted as being above human problems. Having a superhero dealing with post-traumatic stress and other psychological issues humanises them but it also makes them much more relatable. Krysten Ritter really brings her best in the role. So much so that she and her character’s personal story arc are two of the main reasons audiences will keep coming back to the series.

Segregation of the character’s personal development and the main plot is another strong reason to watch. Kilgrave is very much tied to Jessica’s growth but it’s not like dealing with him solves her problems. She still has issues and she still has to learn to deal with her issues without isolating herself and half drinking herself to death. But the series never wastes an episode. With Daredevil, there was a feeling that sometimes the episodes dwelled too much on Wilson Fisk without very much actual story progression. But even when Jessica Jones dives into Kilgrave’s background, it’s from Jessica’s perspective and effects both the characters and the story. It’s a very smooth and seamless integration.

David Tennant takes on a villainous role as the menacing mind controller Kilgrave in the latest Marvel-Netflix series, Jessica Jones.

The not so purple man.

If there are any problems with the series they are minor. At 50-something minutes long, episodes still feel a tad long and i’m not sure why Netflix appears to favour the longer format over the traditional 45-ish minutes that most series’ stick by. Aside from that, there’s probably only a couple of major twists that viewers might not see coming. The plot is at times predictable but no less enjoyable thanks to the performances and issues at play. And that’s the problems I had with Jessica Jones. Two small, trivial matters that in no way harmed my appreciation of the series.

Following Jessica Jones, I’m anticipating Luke Cage more and hoping that season 2 of Daredevil has learned from Jessica Jones’ success. But Jessica Jones has set the bar high and I will be eager to see if any of the other Defenders can reach it. Mike Colter does make an appearance as Luke Cage in Jessica Jones and based on that, I’d say the next Marvel-Netflix series is off to a strong start.

Friendship

Last week Marvel released the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War. Releasing the trailer now was a good idea as opinions on the film have been somewhat mixed. Most fans will expect Marvel to deliver a quality film, as all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe entries thus far have been at least above average for the genre. But there are those who worried about the adaptation due to the source material. Reception to the comic book crossover was notably divided. The good news is that the cinematic version appears to be a much more streamlined version, focusing on Captain America’s attempts to protect Bucky Barnes from retribution.

Captain America: Civil War looks set to continue based on the tensions that have been building over the previous Captain America and Avengers films. Captain America: The First Avenger set up Steve Rogers’ friendship with Bucky Barnes, while The Winter Soldier turned that friendship on its head, revealing Bucky to be the titular Winter Soldier. With Hydra’s destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside, Captain America was left fighting to remind Bucky of their prior relationship. In the Ant-Man post-credit reveal, we saw that Captain America and Falcon had finally caught up to Bucky, now with all his memories intact.

Robert Downey Jr. and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Iron Man and Bucky Barnes for Captain America: Civil War

The subtitle ‘Iron Man V. Iron Arm’ was shot down in development.

What we can gleam from the trailer is that while Captain America has found Bucky, he’s not ready to give him over to the government to face trial or punishment. Captain America is operating on his own sense of justice and is fighting to be able decide Bucky’s fate. This prompts quite an interesting question of whether The Avengers are a law unto themselves or are an extension of the everyday police forces that simply deal with threats outside the realms of mortal men. And it’s a question that pits Iron Man and Captain America at odds.

Iron man isn’t normally one to side with the government, having spent much of Iron Man 2 trying to keep the Iron Man technology out of the hands of the government, but here he does seem to agree that Captain America isn’t acting lawfully. Iron Man and Captain America have never really gotten along, squaring up in The Avengers and actually fighting over the creation of Vision in Age of Ultron. Tony Stark says that they’re friends but they’ve never really been that close. Not as close as Rogers and Barnes.

Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter joins Anthony Mackie's Falcon, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Chris Evan's Captain America in the battle against Iron Man and the government in Captain America: Civil War.

When friendships are tested can anyone be trusted?

The real question is whether either one is in full knowledge of who they are supporting. Though he made no appearance in the trailer, we know from interviews and press releases that Hydra will return with Brock Rumlow, played by Frank Grillo, appearing as Crossbones. Comic book fans will know that Crossbones is important in Civil War canon. But does that mean he may be on Iron Man’s side, implying that Iron Man may be an unwitting pawn of Hydra. I’m sure Hydra would love to be governing when or where the Avengers can be called into action. Or is it possible that Bucky Barnes is playing at being a double agent? It seems unlikely that Hydra are happy to just lose their best agent.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions but the trailers did reveal a few things, such as the fact that most of the team left at the end of Age of Ultron is on Captain America’s side. Iron Man has War Machine and possibly Black Panther, who is probably pissed that the Avengers waltzed into his country without jurisdiction. Missing, or at least unseen, is Ant-Man, although given Hank Pym’s hatred of the Starks, he may side with Captain America purely out of spite. Captain America: Civil War will hit screens in  2016, but hopefully we get a couple more trailers and a few more answers before then.

Bidding

The government has finally gotten its wish. The Voice UK will no longer air on BBC following the upcoming fifth series. The loss of the talent show from the BBC One channel happened without interference from the government, instead coming about because the BBC were outbid for the continued airing rights. That’s unfortunate news but not groundbreaking. The Voice UK has been a nice alternative to the commercialism of X Factor and ITV but on the whole it has failed to produce any successful music artists.

Ricky Wilson, Paloma Faith, Boy George and Will I Am are the judges for the Fifth series of The Voice UK, and the last series to air on BBC.

Bets on ITV bringing back Tom Jones?

What’s more shocking is who might have outbid BBC for the rights. ITV is looking like the hot favourite at the minute, with some reports suggesting ITV have already signed the contract, while some rumours suggest it’s not a done deal yet. That ITV would want The Voice UK isn’t that surprising. BBC previously outbid ITV for the rights to the show. But it does mean that ITV has monopolised British singing competitions. While I wouldn’t be surprised if ITV aired both The Voice UK and X Factor ( and Britain’s Got Talent) it does seem like it might be overkill. So where does that leave X Factor?

Sky is the most popular choice. X Factor detractors will be happy to see the show gone from freeview and it will largely eliminate competition with The Voice UK. Simon Cowell likely isn’t happy with this outcome however as it leaves the X Factor on a channel where it will get less viewers and subsequently less votes. In a survey of 25.1 million homes in 2012, only 9.4 million were found to own Sky. Can any artist produced by X Factor on Sky really be said to represent the views of the voting public if that voting public represents less than half of UK homes?

Nick Grimshaw, Rita Ora, Cheryl Fernandez Versini and Simon Cowell as the X Factor live shows on ITV.

Rita just heard the news.

Moreover, there’s no guarantee that without the competition from X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent that the The Voice UK will draw better viewing figures or more successful music artists. Because one of the best ways a talent competition can draw an audience is by having a successful participant in the music charts years after the competition has ended. It gives credibility to the contest and the judges and thus far The Voice UK has utterly failed to produce any lasting success for any of its contestants. At least X Factor has had successful winners as well as runner ups who have become mainstays of the British music scene. Chances are The Voice UK will take X Factor’s current Saturday night slot against Strictly Come Dancing and there’s certainly no guarantee that The Voice UK will draw more viewers than Strictly.

The landscape of singing competitions and Saturday night television is changing. Maybe this is a good thing, as some changes to the Saturday night line up might create more engaging and interesting television. On the other hand, lack of direct competition usually allows for complacency which doesn’t generate compelling TV shows. Whatever the outcome, this is one less point that the government can criticise the BBC over.

Spectre

If you were at the cinema this weekend, you were probably there to see the Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond. Spectre hit screens this week, following 007 in the wake of M’s death in Skyfall. Following some unofficial orders leads Bond to confront his past, both in recent memory and from Bond’s personal history. By the film’s end however it is clear that the events have been building since Daniel Craig’s first appearance in Casino Royale.

Continuity has never been a big issue for the James Bond franchise. The biggest example being that six actors have portrayed the character on screen with barely any reference to how or why. Conversely, George Lazenby’s Bond gets married and her death isn’t avenged until Roger Moore throws Ernst Stavro Blofeld down an industrial chimney. Blofeld himself is played by multiple actors, all sharing distinctive traits and characteristics. But modern audiences want continuity. I’ve talked enough about the continuity in Marvel films. Is this James Bond attempting to cash in on the new found popularity of continuity in film?

Daniel Bond makes his fourth appearance in the role of James Bond in the Sam Mendes directed Spectre.

“Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to chase me around the world.”

Yes, is probably the answer, although not working at Eon films or having even a tedious connection to Sam Mendes, I can’t say for sure. But it seems clear that this is the intention given that Spectre draws on all of the films that came before. Not so much so that Spectre is unwatchable have you not seen the previous three but there are references within harkening back to Bond’s prior adventures. Furthermore, these four films seem to act as an origin for the entire franchise, setting up Bond’s love of Martinis, Aston Martins and one liners.

In terms of quality, Spectre is certainly enjoyable. Fans of the series will instantly recognise SPECTRE from previous novels and films. The criminal organisation has been around from the first Bond film but Spectre rewrites that to reveal this as Bond’s first encounter with the organisation and that the organisation and it’s shadowy leader have largely orchestrated the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. Fans who felt that the series was deviating too far from the staples and lore of the franchise will be pleased.

Audiences who just want a good adventure with fights, explosions and seduction should enjoy Spectre as well. In particular, Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx makes a strong appearance. He’s ruthless and tactical, whist shaking off the comedic overtones he delivered as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. But only complaint is that he doesn’t appear enough. In fact, that can be said of SPECTRE and Franz Oberhauser. The villains live up to their SPECTRE namesake, working largely in the background and only making targeted appearances.

Dave Bautista as the brutal and methodical assassin known only as Mr. Hinx in twenty-sixth entry into the James Bond series, Spectre.

Finger on throat means death.

Unfortunately, the lack of a villainous presence leads Bond to do a lot of searching and killing before he gets to where he needs to be. There’s a lot of leg work and the payoff isn’t really worth it. In Skyfall, Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva presents a constant threat and creates much more emotional impact with his targeting of M. The background politics and manipulation of SPECTRE make for a more subdued film, but one without impact. Even the personal reveals lack nuance. Spectre is still an enjoyable film but one without the same power in its twists and turns.

Spectre should appeal to fans and casual viewers alike, being much more like Skyfall than Craig’s initial appearances. Skyfall is the better film, if only for the opening title sequence. The inclusion of a literal octopus in Spectre’s opening is creepy, especially as it gropes nude silhouettes. But odd tentacle touching aside, you could do worse this Halloween than spending your time (and money) on Spectre.

Last

You guys are fortunate to get a preposterousprose blog this week. That’s not arrogance on my part but rather a comment on the fact that I’ve been without internet for the better part of this week. I am well aware that if no post presented itself, the world would keep turning unphased. But I do have my fans and my readers, that’s you guys, and you pleasent, diligent few will be pleased to know that at the final hour a technician arrived to sort out the fault in the line, allowing this post to make itself to you.

It had better be worth it then, right? Well, I wish I could say I’m reviewing something extremely entertaining this week, but actually I’m looking at BBC Two’s The Last Kingdom. You can surmise my thoughts on the program from that statement alone but I’d like to dig a little deeper into what is essentially a poor man’s Vikings. Because at the root that’s what this program is. It’s the BBC’s attempt to replicate the success of violent, sword and shield dramas such as Vikings and Game of Thrones but it sorely misses the mark.

Alexander Dreymon appears as Uhtred of Bebbanburg in BBC's historical drama, The Last Kingdom.

Needs more hairy breeches.

Matthew MacFadyen, formerly of BBC’s Ripper Street, appears as Lord Uhtred of the the Kingdom of Northumbria, tasked with fending off a wave of Danes, who have come to claim part of England as their own. Uhtred underestimates the Danes and gets a sword through his throat for his trouble. His son, eager to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of the Danes, sneaks onto the battlefield. Obviously he doesn’t get far, and is captured, being raised among the Vikings. Similarities are easy to make between the young boy Uhtred, and Athelstan, George Blagden’s kidnapped monk in Vikings. Both are taken from their homeland and raised in a foreign culture, constantly battling between the life they knew and the life that have adopted.

However, one key difference is that I never sympathised with Uhtred the way I did with Athelstan. That’s partly to do with perspective. The Last Kingdom is very much shown through the perspective of Uhtred, an English boy but I never got the sense that he was very English or Christian prior to his capture. And he seems to slot quite easily into the new life. Athelstan was very lucky to have Ragnar’s protection in Vikings, but Ragnar did have an ulterior motive and Athelstan still struggled accept some of the pagan customs.

Travis Femmel stars as the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok in History's drama based on the exploits of the mythical character in Vikings.

The Last Kingdom might sate your Norse longings until Vikings season 4.

I should say that I’m aware that The Last Kingdom is based on a series of books by Bernard Cornwell, first published in 2004, a little less than ten years before Vikings landed on our screens. But the series itself was only commissioned in 2014, a year after Vikings had already looted our hearts. The timing of the matter leaves it difficult to believe that this isn’t an attempt to cash in on the success of other historical fiction TV series. This isn’t going to quash the Conservative criticism that the BBC “behaves in an overly commercial way encroaching on TV genres and formats that could be served well by its commercial competitors”.

It is great that a fellow writer has seen such success but I do wish the end product was more exciting. The Last Kingdom is more historically accurate than Vikings and the building of the shield wall is a nice visual, but unfortunately the show lacks character depth. This first episode did nothing to get me invested in the show and I don’t know if I’m interested enough to continue watching next week. If you’ve seen Vikings and found yourself thinking ‘I want to see more of England’, then maybe this is for you. Otherwise, skip it.

Reality

X-Factor is really dragging the selection process out this year. Tomorrow’s episode will focus on all on Simon Cowell’s Six Chair Challenge with the Overs. Last week we at least got Cheryl Fernandez Versini and Nick Grimshaw in one slot but did Simon Cowell and Rita Ora really need their own two hour episodes? They have no problem cutting and editing the show any other time but now they want to be thorough? It’s also surprising that Rita Ora got the other two hour slot. Cheryl Fernandez Versini is the senior judge besides Simon, whose ego would obviously demand he get at least one slot. It could be argued that Rita got the slot because the girls category is so popular but if the popular categories got the the two hour episodes then it would have been Rita and Nick.

The reason for the drawn out process is partially to blame on the Rugby World Cup which is taking up the Saturday night prime time on ITV. Otherwise, there could be a X-Factor episode on both Saturday and Sunday and the whole selection would be done in half the time. That doesn’t really excuse Rita and Simon getting their own separate Sunday episodes. It would make much more logic to pack all the judges in pairs. What it does mean, however, is that X Factor will have to play catch up if they want to have the final on the 13th of December. The competition will air a third weekly episode on Thursdays before the live shows.

The boys  X-Factor 2015 Six Chair Challenge.

The one time ‘take a seat’ isn’t followed by ‘you’re fired’.

Can viewers handle a third episode of The X-Factor? The show isn’t as popular as it once was. After eleven years, audiences are understandably less enamoured by the singing competition. A third weekly episode is only likely to burn out fans even more so. And this third episode is likely to just be more of the same. In order to create time for the Rugby, the thursday episode will just be part one of a two part live show that will complete on Saturday. It still doesn’t solve the time constraint issue created by X-Factor not condensing other areas. In order to whittle down the contestants in time for the final, X-Factor will have do a double elimination a week. That’s taking into consideration that we still haven’t covered Judges houses.

Meanwhile, BBC’s reality shows are well on their way. Strictly Come Dancing’s fourth episode will air tonight following the elimination of Anthony Ogogo last week. Unlike most shows Strictly Come Dancing is fairly reliable. One can expect Kellie Bright, Helen George and Jay McGuiness to be around for a while. By the scores, Jay McGuiness is likely to be the favourite. The scores aren’t always a good indicator of the overall winner though. Many people remember when Abbey Clancy beat out Susanna Reid and Natalie Gumede in series eleven but Natalie actually had the higher end score of 119, compared to Abbey’s 116. That’s because there’s more that goes into the end decision than straight up numbers, most notably likability and progress. A celebrity who continually gets better and wins over viewers can ultimately fare better than a celebrity with a natural talent for dancing. With that in mind, someone like Peter Andre or Anita Rani could easily end up overtaking the others.

Georgia Foote gets dipped by Giovanni  Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing 2015.

And cue the romance rumours.

BBC’s other big return this week is The Apprentice and we’ve lost Nick Hewer. Claude Littner has replaced him, following around this year’s eighteen hopefuls. Those candidates are the same preposterous, boastful apparent business experts who claim to be able to manage and work together but constantly fail on even the simplest of tasks. I mean, why did Dan Callaghan even apply for the show? He admits that he can’t sell but selling is a main component of the competition. It’s as if these people have never watched the show.

Lord Sugar was quoted as saying that this years group of candidates would be more serious and older. Older than what though? Twelve of the eighteen are in their twenties, with eight of those twelve being twenty five or younger. Of course that means that ten of The Apprentice’s candidates would actually fall in the overs X-Factor category. Did I miss the mandate that 26 was now old? I’ll be 26 in three days and I certainly don’t feel old. Of course I also don’t think that people over the age of 45 are afraid of the unknown so perhaps reality television isn’t the best reflection of actual reality.

Aftermath

This is England is iconic. It is an emotive reflection of British culture, it’s roots and how troubles in the country led some people to adopt white nationalism. This is true of Thomas Turgoose’s Shaun, whose sadness over the death of his father leads him to join a gang of skinheads. The friendship and companionship help bolster his confidence, until Stephen Graham’s Combo arrives on the scene. The group splinters, some following Joe Gilgun’s Woody and leaving, others accept Combo’s revelation of British white power. Shaun accepts it too because it gives his life purpose and someone he can blame for his misfortunes. But Combo is revealed just be bitter and jealous, lashing out after Andrew Shim’s Milky talks about his family. The snippet of Shaun’s life is a keen insight into how England adopted radical practices in times of dissatisfaction. Few films capture England with such honesty and emotion.

So in 2009 when it was announced that Channel 4 planned to show a four part continuation of the film, fans were excited and suspicious. How many BAFTA award winning films go on to have television shows made? How many of those television shows are successful and truly capture the essence of the films they are recreating? In reality, this rarely happens because of the difficulty in creating stories as compelling as their movie counterparts and because actors generally move on to bigger and better things so managing time schedules and contracts can leave some cast members unable to return. Worse, if producers attempt to recast a character.

Joe Gilgun and Vicky McClure as their characters Woody and Lol finally tying the knot on the finale of This is England 90.

Happy Ever After…

But Shane Meadows pulled it off. This is England ‘86 premiered in 2010, dealing with Shaun’s reconciliation with the group, Woody’s fear of marriage and growing old and Lol’s family issues, aggravated by the reappearance of her abusive, rapist father. Amazingly, Meadows pulled it off not once but three times, returning with This is England ‘88 in 2011 and This is England ‘90 in 2015. And each series as built upon the previous one, showing the aftermath of trauma which is so rarely shown on television, accumulating in the most recent series, which is apparently to be the last.

Was it a fitting end to the franchise? After a deeply tense and unsettling third episode, the final episode was always going to struggle to match it with the resolution. Milky is finally able to confront Combo over the events of the film, having promised to avenge the attack despite Combo’s atonement and apology. Combo is seen being dragged away but his ultimate fate is unknown, reflecting how Milky’s fate was ambiguous at the end of the film. Unfortunately, we got use to the film delivering on its aftermath. We saw how the events of the film affected Shaun, Combo and Milky in This is England ‘86. We saw how Lol’s father and his death affected Lol and Trev in This is England ‘88. This is England ‘90 is the accumulation of the past 7 years (film wise), so for it to end like this, with a chapter of Milky’s future untold feels underwhelming. But perhaps that happened could have possibly met viewers expectations.

Stephen Graham's character Combo is dragged away, possibly to his death in the last episode of This is England 90.

…But not for everyone.

On the other hand, other parts of the finale feel rushed. Shaun meets a new girl and moves on, to Smell’s disdain. Woody and Lol finally get married. Kelly, who has spent This is England ‘90 having sex and taking drugs, immersing herself even further after hearing about her father’s true nature, but simply just has a change of heart in the finale. It’s not that I don’t want it to end, although I do love the franchise. I understand that it is better to stop here rather than drag it out, especially if Shane Meadows or the cast want to move on. But this felt like a series that still had some gas in the tank.

Still, no one can fault This is England. The writing and acting has been brilliant. There would always be some aftermath left to tell. In the end, as much as the series followed Shawn and Woody and the gang, this was Combo’s story. The film told of his coming, and this last episode depicts his leaving. The rest was just all the people he affected and helped along the way. And we got one award winning film, and an award winning series out of it. And that’s more than anyone ever expected.