Unstuck: Glue Season Review

For the last eight weeks 10pm on Monday nights in this household has been ‘Glue’ night. Not the sniffing kind, but the watching kind. I am of course referring to E4’s whodunnit series ‘Glue’ which was billed as Skins meets Broadchurch. The series which closed with just 187K on the ratings this Monday has provided many twists and turns along the way, but was it really the ‘The Archers with better acting’ (The Independent) and the ‘unmissable’ drama the reviewers all were eager to claim in the light of the first episode?

Who killed Cal? 8 episodes of twists and turns led us to the killer.
Who killed Cal? 8 episodes of twists and turns led us to the killer.

The easy answer to this question is a bit of a half way house.┬áThe first episode started in promising style, for a start its setting was in the rural heart of Britain as opposed to the cities as so often depicted. Therefore there wasn’t a million and one clubs for underage teens to sneak into and there wasn’t a hideous threat of city violence. However it was made pretty clear that drugs still played a big part of this world, and the teens were still as mischievous as ever. Making this drama stand apart from the rest was also the premise that this was a murder mystery – initial high jinx blown apart by the discovery of Cal (Tommy Knight) found dead in the mud.

Let’s be frank here, this was a very promising start. Other interweaving threads led us to believe that circumstances around the highly rated racehorse ‘Blackout’ was a potential motive for murder, as was the mysterious events of the children’s home where Cal had spent some time and investigating police officer Ian Salter’s (Griffin Stevens) penchant for sleeping with young boys. The excitement was also further heightened by the murder of two other characters as the series progressed and another character being stalked. On paper this is a series that should have exploded at the very end with a gripping finale that provided the twist that finally unveiled the murderer – and let’s be honest this was a mystery that had me gripped.

This is a series that should have been greater as a whole than it’s individual parts – but sadly, on reflection it wasn’t. Let’s not get me wrong here, I really enjoyed the series – but the conclusion just wasn’t as tidy as it could have been and threads were left still wavering. In addition a relatively small cast and episodes that focused on just a couple of characters each episode did not really work in the conclusion as there were too many unanswered questions left over from the episodes that created the individual building blocks of a gripping mystery.

In conclusion there are many, many reasons to watch this series. There are some superb characterisations – the standouts for me being James (Billy Howle), Eli (Callum Turner) and Rob (Jordan Stephens – yes the one from Rizzle Kicks). There is also some superb stories running through this, and unless you’re a cynic like me and go for the most unrealistic killer then the unmasking of the killer should come as a bit of a surprise to you. The key here is expectation – this will grip you and you will find it enjoyable to watch. Just be prepared to think to yourself a couple of days later, whatever happened to? Or did this character ever?

Nutleyone Rating: 7.5/10

Glue was originally broadcast on E4 between 15th September and 3rd November 2014. It is available to watch on 4OD in the United Kingdom now.