Cold Feet has always been a show that can turn on a sixpence.
Just when you think tragedy is about to loom, you burst into laughter. And just as you are dwelling on the silliness and absurdity of modern adult life, you can find your heart pierced.
Last series it was Pete’s depression and suicidal thoughts. He held back from the brink of taking his own life, but it took a long time for him to climb out of the pit and be the man he is now (a slightly self-righteous as well as a cheerier one, but more of that later).
Tonight our attention focused on Matt (Ceallach Spellman)and Olivia (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and the fact that the young couple were expecting a baby.
The secret came out last week but tonight (and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) both sets of parents knew the truth and it was decision time: terminate or go through with the birth and all that entails.
Writer Mike Bullen is very skilled at defying expectations, preceding the parental showdown with some humour, not least when David came out with the very Davidish line: “Now the whole world will think my daughter’s a slut”.
Rather intriguingly, the case for keeping the child was made by Matt of all people. Adam’s son did so rather plausibly and movingly, showing what a wise head he has on those young shoulders of his.
“This is about our screw-up, not learning from mistakes you have made,” Matt told the adult Cold Feeters at a meeting convened to discuss it; he wanted to focus on the young life growing “inside Liv’s belly” and not all the problems it would throw up.
Were these two young lovers going to defy their parents, and the world, and have the child? Again, the drama swerved, Olivia eventually decided to terminate and the ITV series didn’t shy from the truth of what that entailed.
I know Cold Feet can feel a little cartoonish at times and Adam still gets on my nerves a bit. But it is a very good series for its skill at blending various emotional registers – the fun, the light heartedness, the grit, the moments of crisis and unhappiness. This was one of those moments.
But of course, there was fun to be had too, not least for David, who was not kidnapped and murdered as we might have been led to expect at the end of last week’s cliffhanger. He has now gone into business with Nikki’s ex crim husband George (Robert Glenister) as a financial advisor, something which can lead to humiliation and disaster in a way only David knows how to deliver. But you never quite know with Bullen’s writing.
In other news, Jenny is being forced to look after her mum after the naggings of Pete, who has emerged from his illness rather preachy when it comes to telling his wife what a mean person she is. Buck up “Saint Peter” as Jenny called him, and we all cheered.
Karen meanwhile finally saw her publishing business fold, while still getting grief from her troublesome young author.
But the closing moments will be the ones that linger – with the two would-be parents Matt and Olivia going their separate ways, unable to take the leaps into fatherhood and motherhood themselves.
Rather poignantly, of course, Olivia did have a Mum and Dad to cover her shoulders with their arms, while poor Matt just had Adam as they trooped off. While he may be irritating at times, Adam’s still a good father.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.