Striking Out – Episode One Review
By Charlotte Reid
Sundays, 9.30pm, RTÉ One
Amy Huberman stars as Tara Rafferty, a solicitor that finds her fiancé in bed with a colleague the night of her hen do. Heartbroken, she ignores the pleas from her mother and fiancé to go through with the wedding and focuses on her work. But with her new client being an adulterer himself, distraction doesn’t come easily. With the right people supporting her, can Tara get over her devastation and hold her own as an independent solicitor?
It is a relatively decent start to the series and it’s hard not to be on Tara’s side as she gets emotionally battered for fifty minutes but still manages to do her job. Of course it’s only the start, but her character still feels a little flat. She spends most of the episode responding to other people’s failings – granted she does so well – but hopefully she gets a bit more complex as the series continues, who wants a flawless lead character? Yes, she walks around town with her shoes off in her despair, but she herself can do no wrong.
The opening sequence is impressive for a drama, instead of spending fifteen minutes setting up her situation we’re delved straight into it as Tara finds her fiancé Eric in bed with another woman before the opening credits. We’re not missing anything by starting from disaster, being in the thick of the drama so soon means we’re interested from the start.
Tonally it seems a little all over the place, the trailer describes it as a “gritty legal drama”, which for the most part it is – well if we use gritty loosely – but occasionally there’s these attempts at humour. When she catches Eric out at the start, she hysterically hits him with an inflatable penis she brought from her hen do, and when her mother visits her in work, a client’s sex tape awkwardly plays in the background. The whole time we’re wondering if we’re meant to be laughing at this? In general the tone is pretty serious so to throw in these bits just leaves us confused. Stick to the light relief that is in the character of Ray, a client Tara is representing that ends up being her sidekick of sorts. Brilliantly played by Emmet Byrne he steals a lot of the scenes, not because his lines are hilarious, but he just has a spark. Is it believable that this random client would go out of his way to set her up with a new office and become her unofficial PA? No of course not, but we’re still happy to have him there.
It’s a very watchable first episode, and there’s no denying it looks stunning. If you’re tuning in to the rest of the series, it will be to see how Tara develops rather than the TV presenter sex tape scandal that’s occupying her time, ‘scandalous’ though it is. No, it’s not Love/Hate but there is definite potential, I just hope it focuses on developing the right characters.