Jack is out of his depth during the murder investigation of a Gender Studies student and in his new relationship with tomboy Danielle, while Georgina’s new boyfriend is a bit too perfect…
This show appears to be hitting its stride perfectly with Toby Stephens performing his role as laddish D.I. Jack Armstrong with his tongue firmly in his cheek and Miranda Raison’s D.I. Georgina Dixon providing the leash that keeps Jack’s mind on the case in hand. The chemistry between the mismatched pair is actually very satisfying as I haven’t yet found myself hoping that they get together and that can really get in the way of a good comedy drama.
This week Jack and Georgina were called upon to investigate the death of Laura, a student of English and Gender Studies who has been found dead in the University library after what appears to be a fall. Jack’s comment of “Perhaps it was Professor Plum?” was a great comedic start to the tale.
Gender Studies and feminism was a great backdrop to highlight Jack’s somewhat archaic views and I was really pleased that the show creators didn’t use the comedy aspect to overtly poke fun at the subject of Gender Studies, merely to throw the spotlight (if ever it were needed) on Jack’s opinions about women. Clearly uncomfortable with people moving out of his ideas of normality, his resolve broke completely while interviewing the university Gender Studies lecturer where in trying to be sensitive he just managed to dig a bigger hole for himself and his squirming was both painful and hilarious. His inability to understand or even really mention the word ‘lesbian’ made him come across as more un-PC (if you will pardon the pun) than usual which just made him funnier – his character is ignorant but that somehow makes him easier to laugh at rather than if you thought that he really meant malice behind it. Even apologising to Georgina for insulting her ended in him saying that she had nice breasts, when it comes to women he seems to put on a laddish front as he doesn’t understand them.
With a complicated case underway with Laura’s Gender Studies tutor, English tutor, post-genderist friends and sexual partners in for questioning, who really did kill Laura? Also, this week the gender roles were further explored as Jack’s new girlfriend Danielle sounded very masculine to Georgina, as Danielle spent a lot of time on traditionally masculine pursuits, and she spent a great deal of time winding him up about it. The funny thing was that with all of the literature Jack was reading for the case, he started to worry that men, and therefore he, would become obsolete. Georgina had other things on her mind with her new boyfriend. After telling Jack that she wasn’t really looking for anyone and with her list of ideal points in a man causing Jack to call her ‘desperate but picky’ she finally met a man who was exactly what she wanted but it turned out, not quite what she needed.
All in all the episode was very entertaining, a particular scene where Jack was interrogating post-genderist Rainbow at a kitchen table was a highlight. The section where Jack and Georgina were undercover seemed a bit contrived as we didn’t get to see what Georgina did in her undercover role and Jack didn’t really make much headway pretending to be a mature student so perhaps that could have been a little better. Regardless of this small criticism, Toby Stephens is perfect in this role and I’m really warming to Miranda Raison’s character. With some great music throughout the show and some real laugh out loud comedy, I sincerely hope that Vexed is here to stay for a long time to come. Thoroughly enjoyable.