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“Dates” Episodes 1×06 – 1×09 Review

We’re back with a review of the final four episodes of Channel 4’s online-dating centered drama series, aptly titled Dates. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Episode 6: Erica and Callum

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The last time we saw Erica (Gemma Chan), she was on a date with sultry, forceful, beautiful Kate (Katie McGrath) – a date that ended badly when Erica accidentally outed herself to her older brother. In this episode, Erica’s brother sets her up on a blind date with a man named Callum (Greg McHugh).

To be honest, I found it really difficult to stomach this episode. Much as I like Erica, her date was absolutely atrocious – rude, self-centered, obnoxious, and constantly making sexist, racist, and homophobic comments – and I did not at all understand why Erica would put up with his bullshit for so long. The writing tried to redeem Callum towards the end by having his opinionated self be the catalyst for Erica to stand up to her brother, but it felt way too inorganic and unbelievable.

The only redeemable part of these 20-minutes was that we got to see Erica be adorable while drunk.

Rating: D-

Episode 7: Stephen and Mia

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The title for this episode is a bit misleading, since we don’t actually see Mia (Oona Chaplin) as Stephen’s date. Rather, a planned tryst between the two ends up cancelled when Mia chooses to spend that time with David (Will Mellor) instead, and Stephen (Ben Chaplin) is left in the lurch. Stephen tries to have a good time regardless, especially when he meets a beautiful woman, but a case of mistaken identity sours the affair.

Stephen’s character is a bit of an entitled asshat, but we kinda knew that from the moment we met him (also, oddly enough that’s kind of the appeal.) Switching the format up from the usual “online dating meet up” to “impromptu date” was a nice attempt at trying something new, and I liked both characters and their interactions. However, this episode wasn’t among the best to come out of this series.

Rating: B-

Episode 8: Jenny and Christian

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Jenny (Sheridan Smith) seems to have finally found a sweet guy in Christian (Andrew Scott). They immediately hit it off… but of course not all is as it seems.

The instant the date started going really well, I knew something was up. (After all, perfect dates are great in real life and all, but they don’t exactly make for scintillating television.) However, there were enough red herrings thrown about that I still ended up surprised by the episode’s twist. Both actors were great in their roles, and the ending – though a mite cheesy – was surprisingly empowering.

Rating: B+

Episode 9: Mia and David

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The long-awaited conclusion to Mia and David’s story arc, this episode deals with Mia’s struggle to balance the lifestyle that she’s grown comfortable with, and her burgeoning relationship with David. Stephen also makes a surprise appearance.

The writing for this episode was quite good – I found myself sympathizing with nearly every single one of the characters’ perspectives (this made for a very conflict-filled yet entertaining watch). The scene where Stephen and David meet and have dude-discussion was equal parts funny and emotional.

Overall it’s a great finale episode with a bittersweet ending that leaves the viewers despondent yet oddly hopeful.

Rating: A

That’s it for this first season of Dates! What did you guys think of the series? Let us know what you’d rate the episodes in the comments below!

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