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Nowhere near as good as the first.
on 23 December 2011
I enjoyed the first series of Land Girls, but series two was a poor effort. Billy and Bea both seem thoroughly depressed, though it's not clear why. Last time we saw them they were blissful newlyweds with a healthy baby. Suddenly the baby's grandfather turns up and wants to take Bea and the baby back to Chicago, a plot twist which makes no sense whatsoever. Why on earth would Bea want to leave her home and family to live in a city she's never seen with a man she barely knows? The excuse that she has always wanted to "see the world" doesn't explain while Billy and Bea are both willing to split their family. Billy has been called up (though he's keeping the secret from Bea - for some reason it never occurs to her that her young able-bodied husband might be required to fight with everyone else), and uses that as an excuse to send Bea and the baby away "to safety", but surely she'd be safe where she is, surrounded by family and friends?
Everyone in this series behaves peculiarly amorally; their motivations are inscrutable and it doesn't ring true. Why is Tucker allowed to get away with murder? Why does Joyce allow him to suffer for some hours in a rabbit trap while she weighs up the pros and cons of releasing him? Why does Bea flirt unashamedly with an Italian soldier, in full view of everyone, when she has a new husband and a new baby? Why does Lady Hoxley always talk to men as though she's trying to seduce them, and to women as though she loathes them? Why is Lady Hoxley attracted to the corpulent and manipulative American? How did Jack co-opt military assistance to abduct a baby? Why did Esther refuse "charity" to pay for her son's operation, while she was willing to prostitute herself to raise the money? Why does Connie treat Henry with unprovoked contempt, and why does Henry pursue her anyway? In fact, what's a vicar doing pursuing a woman with no apparent religious beliefs? Why is Joyce allowed to feel guilty for killing a soldier, when he was abducting her - and a child - at gunpoint? Obviously all of these questions have answers, but they're not satisfactory. I found it impossible to truly sympathise with any of the characters, because they behaved in ways that seemed unreasonable.
The charm of series one - the landscape, costumes, music and evocation of a truly memorable era - may have compensated for lack of great storytelling, but in series two the sheen has well and truly worn off. The previously cheerful Billy mopes and mumbles, and Bea is perpetually grumpy. Dressed in dowdy clothes, she stomps, growls, frowns and shouts throughout the whole series. She comes across as a spoiled brat who has learned nothing from the misadventures of series one. Joyce is far and away the best character; warm, cheerful and earthy. But even she seems oppressed and dull in this series, racked with guilt about shooting the German soldier. Lady Hoxley is softer, but still cold and nasty. Esther is miserable, and utters every line in a tremulous whisper. Henry is charming, but again, I don't know what he sees in Connie. Though she has some redeeming features, she's a shrew. Finch lends this series its only moments of levity.
Ultimately, season two is grim and stressful. I hope series three will improve.