This episode was jam-packed with revelations, tension and bad behaviour.
I felt Lewis summed up the whole Mark-kissing-the-teacher situation, “kissing the teacher isn’t normal.” However I believe the tension displayed by Miss Nadir was played brilliantly, I couldn’t wait for her to finally and inevitably crack. I had only previously seen Kate Jenkinson in The Wedge, so it was nice to see her in a dramatic role, at least for this episode. The way in which Abi reveals to Mark that she knows by saying-but-not-saying-it was unique and a great choice by the writers, it could have been cliched but it wasn’t.
The Rodney & Nicola moving sub plot aggravated me as the dynamic between them and Justin is getting old. However Justin handles it mostly with grace (after his hangover from his binge), showing the evolution of his character. It also throws Nicola through a loop as she was so accustomed to his fighting, that his surrender made her question the whole idea. This is obviously hinting again at a possible reconciliation between the two of them. When Justin made the decision at the very end to seemingly kidnap his children, I yelled at the screen at his stupidity, especially after his progress and custody battle experiences.
I loved the similar behaviour and subsequent interaction between Justin & Phoebe. They are both losing something–Justin is losing his kids and Phoebe is losing her chance to explore life freely as a young adult. The self indulgence due to self pity, which ultimately connected an unlikely pair of characters, was nicely done and well-written.
Although it was satisfying for Rachel to be fired, the introduction of a male and sexist version of her in Dave, kind of ruined it.
Overall this is a good penultimate episode of the first season–it’s starting to close the chapters of first season and open new chapters for the second.