‘Gates’ Series 1 Episode 2 Review

There’s trouble at the school gates but it is the parents who are being childish!

Tempers fray as Sarah stirs up trouble between Helen and Mark leading to a rather energetic salsacise class, while Mark’s attempt to smooth things over lead to further friction.

Well, I have to say that I felt there was a little rise in the quality of this week’s episode compared to the erratic nature of the humour in the first episode but in my mind there is still a long way to go before this is comedy gold. The main purpose of the show at the moment seems to be to point out that the adults are slightly less mature than their children, and yes, I get it but I just don’t find the show that hilarious. As the salsacise class degenerated into an out-and-out fist fight between Joanna Page and Catherine Shepherd, their ultimate punishment was a rather patronising dressing down by the headmaster and at this point I had to admit that things started to heat up in the comedy stakes leading to my first real laugh of the series so far. Maybe there is hope for this show yet?

The episode focussed on Helen (Joanna Page) and the fact that it was her turn to pick up and drop Chloe off at school this week while husband Mark (Tom Ellis) went to work. Despite reassuring Mark that she was on her way to the school, she was in fact still showing people around a few properties in her role as an estate agent, even having to take the clients with her to the school. On picking up Chloe, Helen found her lying on the floor having being pushed over by Sarah’s son. Obviously concerned she rushed to her daughter’s side and calmly demanded an apology from Sarah’s son but this led to a confrontation between the two mothers, mainly sparked by Sarah’s inability to adequately cope with the situation and therefore lashing out at Helen by accusing her of being in the wrong. Catherine Shepherd does such a good job as the terrifically flighty Sarah and Joanna Page plays the feisty Helen with aplomb. Their angry exchange led to them being put into a sort of detention with their children giggling outside at their parent’s predicament. Even with the intervention of their husbands, the situation escalated as Aiden (Tony Gardner) managed to upset Helen and Mark’s attempt to confront him ended with Sarah hugging Mark and then rubbing Helen’s nose in it, shortly before punching her in the same location.

Aiden and Mark’s meeting was just as troublesome, with Aiden firstly blatantly hiding from Mark then accidentally revealing that he had brought a weapon to protect himself – a spirit level. With Sarah and Helen in the headmaster’s office, literally trying to draw a line under the situation, their husbands accidentally ended up having to socialise with their children and warring spouses, with catty exchanges between the two ladies and the ever enthusiastic Mia attempting to be a positive force between them. All the while, everyone is desperately avoiding the headmasters new Walk to School initiative.

There really was a positive effort to perk up the show this week and now we have the introductions and outline of the characters out of the way, towards the end of the episode I was warming a little to the programme but improving the grades of this schoolyard show will need a little extra work. Making progress but must try harder.