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TV Review: Clique (Series 1, Episode 5)


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For the last four weeks, BBC Three's dark teenage drama Clique has left us hanging on a thread, with it's never-ending bombardment of sombre secrets and murky mysteries.

In the penultimate episode of the series, the truth behind many of the show's most intriguing questions are ruefully revealed, with devastating effect.

Following her shocking discovery of the game-changing video message left by former top girl Fay, Holly is in deep water. Shunned by the clique and fired from her position at Solasta, Holly has never been more alone, and the allies that she does have are questionable at best. 

Her reluctant roomate Elizabeth makes a bigger appearance in this episode following her complicit involvement in the discovery of the video. Though Holly is clearly (and perhaps unfairly) removed from the exceedingly sensible Elizabeth, she proves to be a welcome sight for on-edge viewers. In the increasingly dark and mistrustful world that Jess Brittain presents, Elizabeth is a nice, normal foil to Holly's more nefarious companions. 

In her isolation, Holly relies heavily on her lover/apparent partner in crime, Rory, who last week revealed himself to be an undercover cop, infiltraiting Solasta as part of an ongoing investigation into the bank's shady CEO Alistair McDermid. However, as with everything in this series, there is more going on than meets the eye - and it's hardly ever good. 

Indeed, this episode sees the undoing of many of the series' leading men, as they are each revealed to be far more sinister and malignant than their glossy appearances would suggest. In a punch-the-air moment of redemption for Fay, Alistair is very publicly outed as the fiend he is, when Holly, Elizabeth and Rachel conspire to broadcast the video (including footage of him raping Fay) at a freshers' event for the initiative, in front of horrified prospective students, parents and his sister, Jude.

Though Alistair manages to escape justice and skirt his way around the media (with help from Holly's increasingly disillusioned friend Georgia), the close dynamic that he once shared with Jude is quickly shattered. Since her conversations with Hollie last week, Jude has been growing increasingly suspicious of the shady dealings happening under her nose, but as her confrontation with client/criminal Lucas Steiner suggested in the earlier part of this episode, she was still protective of her brother and unwilling to see how far he had tread.

The revelation of the upsettingly graphic video quickly resolves that though, as a visibly shaken Jude confronts her brother, remorseful of her mistake to "always try and see the best of" him. Following her steely, strong entrance in the opening episode, Jude is slowly breaking down, revealing a more human side to Louise Brealey's terrific performance. 

As it turns out, Rory is also just as treacherous as Alistair; using love as a smokescreen to hide his true loyalties and darkest secrets. In the climax of the episode, after discovering the items that she gave him to give to the police hidden in a cabinet, a distraught Holly confronts Rory. To our shock, the exceedingly disturbed Rory confesses to conspiring with Alistair, informing him of the police investigation and murdering Fay's lover and ally, James Buxton. 

The shocking final scenes of the episode see Rory attempting to strangle Holly before being struck on the head by an eerily unpeturbed Rachel, whose place in the wider game is still worryingly ambiguous. 

With just one more episode to go, we're hoping for some serious redemption. Only time will tell if the dark dealings at Solasta will finally be thwarted.

Clique is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer, with new episodes airing every Sunday.

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