Episode two Tour Of Duty focuses on Caroline (Christine Bottomley) a young mother who is struggling to cope while her husband Tom (Michael Keogh)is serving his first tour in Afghanistan with the army. Sleep deprived due to a young baby, and constant worry that Tom will be killed, she is low, generally lonely and unhappy at being left alone by her husband at the army barracks for a life she didn’t sign up for, her contact with Tom being by phone and webcam. When she discovers she has a rat problem her friend Maggie (Annabelle Apsion) recommends Sam (Dean Lennox Kelly), who works in pest control to come and sort the problem.
Sam is happy, makes her laugh and offers to help her around the house after seeing how much she is struggling, He also good with the baby and effectively becomes the man of the house, and they spends days together and have what would appear to an outsider, a family day in the park. But during this time her friend Maggie and other army wives become suspicious that she is having a relationship with Sam, which is met with general sneers of disapproval as people talk about her behind her back. Although she hasn’t actually slept with Sam at this point, she eventually does after returning home to find Sam with a bloodied nose after she has been snubbed at the church and accused of being disloyal to her husband.
They declare their love for one another, and decide to live in France where Sam has a son but the spell is broken when she learns that one of the men in her husband’s battalion has been killed. Riddled with guilt and worry and not helped by Maggie who has done her level best to show her disapproval and spread the rumours of her relationship; she feels she deserves to suffer and doesn’t deserve Sam’s sympathy when he comes. Her dismay turns to relief when she finds out Tom is alive. Tom upset at the death of his friend tells her how he lives for her and their daughter and all while Sam is listening in the hallway.
Maggie came across as generally meddling and judgemental of Caroline. I found it quite hypocritical how one minute she is chastising her for an alleged affair, then when she realises she hadn’t slept with him, says that it’s a shame as the act is less of a betrayal than the desire. i also thought she could have at least left Caroline and Sam alone to say their goodbyes to each other. The passing of the check for his services seemed a little harsh, but it was a nice touch the check left on the side; but Maggie had to rub it in that she knew by saying; “the silly beggar’s left his check behind!”
I think there’s probably blame/misjudgment that could be passed around to all corners, Sam although being helpful knew she was married and wanted more. Caroline perhaps may have used Sam as a replacement for Tom cos he showed her attention and she was lonely. Tom chose a life in the army but didn’t think of the repercussions for his wife. Although there’s an element of sympathy for each character too (bar Maggie), sam saw a family, and after not seeing his own perhaps desired that, Tom returns to a wife who has cheated and probably will remain none the wiser. While Caroline chose Tom, I’m unsure if that was to keep him safe out of guilt, or if she did want to be with him. By her wistful look when he returned i felt it was probably guilt, although I don’t think it was clear, perhaps one for the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
I thought it was a good episode but not a solid as the first episode. I felt this episode was highly predictable i had no doubt Tom had survived, Although I thought brave to show from the wives point of view, as is often missed when their loved ones join the army. Little is spoken of how their loved ones cope, for fear it would undermine the great work that the army do. in the end its a transition for both parties.