in Television

‘Dates’ Episodes 3 & 5 Review

dates erica and kate

Last time, I wrote about episodes 1 and 2 of Channels 4’s new drama series Dates, created by Bryan Elsley of Skins.

Set in London, each half-hour episode chronicles a date between a couple who has met through an online dating service. Each encounter is different and the series manages to capture the essence the 21st century online dating. The writing is good, allowing for enough intrigue and ambiguity to keep the audience engaged, and the actors deliver a very natural performance.

Episode 3: Stephen and Mia

Mia (Oona Chaplin) returns in this episode. For whatever reason, things didn’t work out with David because she’s going out on a date with Stephen (Ben Chaplin), a prissy doctor. It turns out that the two have had an encounter before. The date eventually leads to a hospital expedition and, towards the end of the episode, Stephen becomes much more likable.

I liked this episode, mainly because Mia is such a fun, enigmatic character, although she has a mean streak, for sure. I wasn’t completely sold on her and Stephen together, but I ended up liking them together a lot more than I did at the beginning. The scenes at the hospital were probably the best part. Rating: A-

Episode 4: Erica and Kate

I was disappointed in this episode. Erica (Gemma Chan) and Kate (Katie McGrath) are the first and only lesbian couple of this series, so of course, the episode centered on lesbian-related issues. By that, I mean that Kate is angry because Erica hasn’t come out to her traditional Chinese parents yet. While there isn’t anything wrong with the storyline in and of itself, it’s already been done time and time again and it’s especially odd to have it be the central plot of a first date.

During the date, they also have an exchange about Erica having slept with men in the past, which Kate isn’t happy about. However, bisexuality is never taken into account (either in name or definition), which I found problematic. On the plus side, the two had very good chemistry and the date had a lot of potential. Rating: C

Episode 5: David and Ellie

David (Will Mellor) returns in this episode, and we get more hints about what happened between him and Mia the night of their date. She’s still very much in the back of his mind. This time he goes out with Ellie (Montanna Thompson), a girl keeping a bit of a secret from David. After a girl at the diner where they’re having their date recognizes Ellie, David is able to figure it out.

David and Ellie were clearly not a good match, but they had their moments in this episode. Ellie was a really endearing character and seemed like a genuinely nice person, albeit ditzy. There was a bit of a mystery about her, which doesn’t get properly revealed. Rating: A-