Ok so my embarassing gushing in my previous post about ‘friendship’ amongst the main, female characters in Scott and Bailey was put to the test, or rather in the episodes that followed it, Scott and Bailey’s friendship was put to the test by Rachel’s (Bailey) drunken self destructive behaviour.
In the last two episodes they have a furious and bitter fall out when Rachel gets drunk and has sex with the rather hapless DC Kevin Lumb (Ben Batt) at Janet (Scott’s) house and in ear shot of her teenage daughter, who hero worships Rachel. They bond again through employing their complementary professional skills to try and help rescue Gill when she is kidnapped by Helen Bartlett (Nicola Walker) in a story line reaches back to the first episode and is threaded through the series.
Previously, Helen volunteered information to the police dating back to an event when she was 13 years old. This led to the discovery of several bodies buried by her serial killer parents in the cellar of their house and despite the fact that she was a child and had no culpability in these murders, finds herself facing prosecution as an accessory. Deeply traumatised by her childhood, Helen had subsequently managed to make a life for herself but now not only is her own fragile balance upset by the case but leaks to the press lead to her being vilified publically and to the loss of her job and her relationship.
Her plan is to commit suicide and to take Gill (who she blames for the prosecution) ‘with her’, aiming to force Gill to drive them both over a cliff on the east coast. After a long tense car journey, Helen slits her wrists and dies and Gill escapes physically unhurt.
As all this suggests actually much of the final episode did not actually focus on Scott and Bailey, and while the whole cast gave strong performances, Amelia Bullmore as Gill and Walker as Helen were outstanding. In a highly (melo)dramatic situation both of them allowed for a series of subtle shifts of sympathy and understanding that rendered the situation moving and complex.
A plot line in which the person providing information to the press on Gill’s team turned out to be Kevin, also allowed a moment of sympathy for this character and indeed a different view of Gill. In excusing his behaviour to Rachel, Kevin speaks of Gill’s dismissive attitude towards him and her derogatory remarks, whereas the reporter to whom he gave the information made him feel valued and important.
Looking back over the three series there is some justice in his comments about Gill, in the same way that in the midst of their row there is some justice in the accusations Rachel and Janet throw at each other, as there are in those Helen throws at Gill in the car.
In the end in terms of the main characters in this female dominated police series there are no simple happy ending or clear cut ‘role models’ or villains whether in terms of the professional or the personal. Just flawed individuals.
But there are fantastic, challenging parts for some seriously good female performers