I had no idea what to expect from the final episode of Rev in series 3, it could have been nothing, it could have been a cliched triumphal nothing, instead, like resurrection it left us with questions, wonderful profound questions and images of the new beginning of hope.
I found it to be real, raw and gritty, and full of hope. It is rare that Holy Saturday is dealt with in telling the story of the Passion and Easter, but in confusion and in depression this episode did that brilliantly in my eyes. We witnessed the growth of hope as each of the characters turned to prayer and Adam wrestled with God from under his duvet, his slow reciting of the beatitudes was powerful.
The episode ended with the long awaited baptism of Katie, a sense of a new beginning and a knowledge that this is not the end, Adam 's simple acknowledgemet is not a triumphal shout but a gentle acknowledgement; " I seem to be in a cassock again Lord, it seems that you won't let me go..."
For me perhaps the most powerful image was the image of breaking into the church, turning on its head the notion that the sealed church offered us the image of the sealed tomb, and showing that somehow with the closing of the doors and the sealing off of the building in the centre of the community the source of life has been removed from all, and all had entered the tomb even without knowing it.
This was not a happy-ending story, it was a this has not ended story, what we thought was the tomb became the womb of re-birth, there are new possibilities here, nothing has changed, yet everything has changed...
We are left with the sense that there is more to come, we have no idea what that more is, and for me that speaks so well into a life of faith, for so often it is a step by step day by day process, and sometimes like Adam we need a friend to come along and haul us out of bed! The precious thing has been kept alive, it now needs nurture and care...
Perhaps the most poignant words were spoken by Adam to Katie after her baptism, " that was horrible wasn't it..."
Yes it was, it was horrible, painful, testing and exhasuting, but life has triumphed, the candle is lit, the waters of baptism have been entered, and life goes on. If we wanted a simple, happy, triumphant ending to the series we will have been dissapointed. I was not dissapointed, for as I have been reflecting resurrection dawns slowly, and new life begins in the dark...
I find I cannot agree with some of the criticism brought against the series, this from Alison Graham of the Radio Times insists that Adam remains comfortable and nice;
The Rev-lovers of my acquaintance and I feel it lost its way when Adam kissed Ellie in episode three, an episode that was written by Tom Hollander. Oh dear, I wish actors wouldn’t do this; I wish they would act and leave the writing to others. Remember when actor Alan Alda became far too involved behind the cameras in the mighty M*A*S*H and it became a drearily humourless anti-war polemic, stripped of its delicate subversion?
Actors are of course close to the parts they play, but they might want different things from a character – maybe the chance to show off their acting abilities. (Hollander doesn’t need to do this, he’s great, his hapless, tender Adam is the reason why I watch.) But this is an irrelevance to anyone watching. We know Adam and he would never have kissed Ellie. He might have been temp- ted, as he once was at a vicars and tarts party, but he would never have given in. He just wouldn’t.
Still, it happened and the train of events gathered momentum to the point where Adam is ruined, degraded and humiliated, rejected by nearly everyone who once professed to love him. NO! Rev devotees don’t want this; we watch Rev because of its kindness and its imperfect view of an imperfect world. We don’t watch to feel despair and helplessness. It might be trying to be grittily realistic but real life is too realistic for most of us and we welcomed our half-hour escape into a different, gentler world. But that’s all gone now.
I applaud Tom Hollander for not being comfortable and nice, and instead entering into a deeper and darker place, but kindness has not gone, and hope has been restored....
Roll on series 4!