I can't quite believe we got here so fast, can you?
Let's begin then with the by now very, very familiar Lip Service
theme song, for the last time this series, viewers. If this show
doesn't get recommissioned it is a crying shame.
The splish-splash-splishing of sweet Scottish water greets our
ears as Sam, last week soozled on a potent mixture of Class A's and
sex with a stranger, stands apparently entirely topless at the sink
and washes her face. She looks in the mirror, the very same style
mirror that I have at my very own home, viewers. 'Tis IKEA, rather
fittingly, for somehow IKEA's become associated with lesbians, sort
Sam looks, quite frankly, tired. She evaluates her reflection
somberly. What has she become since Cat's death and the discovery
of Cat's cheating ways pre-death, I suspect she is wondering, quite
rightly. Her life has been ransacked.
Sadie and Lexy are the very picture of domesticity having
breakfast at their flat, until Tess comes in, threatening to vomit.
Her inner turmoil is on account of tonight being the opening night
of her play, and she hugs close a cushion for comfort. Last night
she had a dream about being naked on stage, she confesses.
Reassuringly, Lexy laughs into her muesli while Sadie makes half a
"What if I totally screw up?" asks very nervous Tess. She is
bricking it, as they say.
Lexy [choking back laughter] "You'll be fine."
Thankfully, sweet Ed turns up with a card or something to wish
Tess good luck.
"She's having a breakdown" exaggerates Sadie with little to no
sympathy. But thank god also for Lexy who has bought Tess a first
night survival kit, a pink box of something, not to be opened until
one is at the theatre. Tess is awfully, awfully pleased.
"You shouldn't have," she says, but what she means is "You are
the sun around which I orbit, now and forever."
Tess hands out tickets to the play. There is a spare that may
have been for Cat (sob!) and for which Jay, who has been lost as
easily and irretrievably as a tennis ball at twilight as Sylvia
Plath might say with her customary brilliance, is not considered
for obvious reasons, ie. he has vanished like a lost tennis ball
into the twilight that is London's underground architect scene.
Ed has left messages for Sam, with no luck. Lexy hasn't been
running with Sam, says Lexy. Bilious Tess leaves the room to hurl
herself into the shower.
"Is there anyone you want to bring [to the play]?" Ed asks Sadie
and Lexy, helping himself to a bowl of breakfast.
Maybe, says Lexy, staring intently at her own bowl of
But then Sadie, never slow to put herself forward, claims the
ticket for her squeeze Lauren. Lexy looks very mournful, as Sam is
still clearly irked with her.
A shot or two of Glasgow streets establishes that the world
outside the flat is uncaring.
Post-ablutions, Tess is trying to decide what to wear to the
aftershow party. Does she have the legs for the gold number?
"Are you kidding, you've got great legs," says Lexy. What kind
of game is she playing? Tess smiles and expresses her anxiety
Then, a moment. Lexy gives her an encouraging kiss, and Tess
artfully moves her head about five degrees to make a little more of
the situation. Awkwardness follows, so Tess compliments Lexy on her
lipbalm, which is, Lexy tells her, a medicated chapstick.
Lexy leaves. Tess looks happy. Outside, Lexy looks mildly
concerned. A kind of 'what just happened?' look. Makes me wonder if
when Cat died on the emergency room table she didn't loudly exhale
her inability to choose between two women, infecting Lexy with
Ed and Tess sit on the couch, Tess nervously drumming her nails
on her script and fretting aloud regarding whether or not Lexy, who
is a Chekhov expert, will approve of her acting.
Ed figures out that Tess has a terrible case of 'mentionitus', a
medical condition you may be familiar with. It's the one which
presents as constantly mentioning someone one has a thing for. He
asks Tess if she fancies Lexy. Tess denies it for about two seconds
before buckling under the pressure of Ed's interrogation. Tess is
still clueless as to whether Lexy is attracted to her sexually, and
Ed mentions that Lexy had mentioned someone, very vaguely, but that
they wouldn't need a ticket to the play. As Tess is in the play,
this boosts her hope.
Disobeying orders, she then opens the present from Lexy.
Champagne. Immodium (a medicine to cure a nervous, upset innards,
Google informs me). Charming. They laugh like drains.
Lexy and Sam meet on the street. "What do you want?" barks the
Lexy breezes through thanks to her outstanding interpersonal
skills, using humour and honesty to break through Sam's anger.
"If you ever need someone, you've got my number," she says as a
parting comment and she walks away. Truly this is a masterclass in
how to do what she just did.
Blurry traffic moves with some grace through the streets of
Glasgow, coming gradually into focus. This mirrors, perhaps, the
gradual coming of clarity into the mind of Sam. That's insightful,
right? It should be; I majored in The Symbolism of the Segue at
university. Hmmm, that's given me an idea for a novel called The
Segue, that is just all segue, no scenes as such. It's got
bestseller scribbled all over it in the spittle of a desperate
At her locker, Lexy gets a text from Tess and smiles. Perhaps
she will love Tess, in time?
Meanwhile, at HQ, Operation Beehive is buzzing towards its
sticky conclusion - a raid is on the cards. Ryder is briefing the
team when DS Murray arrives, and bids her conduct the briefing,
which she does with some hesitancy. She is not at the top of her
game, which Ryder's top-notch detective skills means he picks up on
He takes control, telling those assembled that they need to
watch one another's backs and that there may be firearms
After the briefing Ryder ask Sam if she's ok, and, as always,
Heather Peace does some lovely acting - looking like she's close to
tears but very subtly. I notice Sam never asks Ryder how he is, incidentally. Maybe there's
stuff going on for Ryder, you know? With his wife and that. But no,
it's all about Sam for Sam right now.
Shady Sadie is at the gallery where Lauren and Jo are having
words. Lauren has forgot to diarise an important event. As she
leaves she caresses Sadie's hand and says she'll see her at three.
So she is ditching the wife to meet Sadie? Will this end in tears,
Rehearsals. Nora wants to clear the air about Ed with fair Tess.
She had to end it with him, she says, for he is a geek and likes
cartoons. This is not true (the bit about Nora ending it), and Tess
rushes backstage to share the audacity of this lie with Hugh. She
sits on the couch with a magazine telling an unresponsive Hugh all
about it. Eventually Hugh responds. His wife is getting remarried.
He is not focused on the show. Not even a bit.
Lexy and Declan Love talk about Sam. Go for Tess says Dr Love.
Maybe I will, says Lexy.
Operation Beehive. Sam's watching Ryder and has a panic attack.
He suggests she go home, but she refuses. The tension is
At the gallery a Lady with Cash likes a big vase. A big £35K
vase. Sadie gives her some info about the vase and the lady asks to
use the bathroom. This bit of the episode is like the early stages
of a game of chess, with all the pieces being moved into
advantageous and/or dangerous positions....
Hugh is breathing deeply, yoga-like. Then he checks out a celeb
mag and sees his wife and Delaware's happiness flaunted within its
pages. He rages. He has an epiphany. Tess is initially relieved,
until he says he is planning to win back his wife. That is the
wrong epiphany to have on opening night.
Sadie finds the woman's expensive watch in the bathroom and
Hugh orders flowers via phone for his ex wife.
Love wants a second opinion.
There is a hell of a lot going on, so I take a time out.
And I'm back.
Love wants a second opinion. No, of course he doesn't. He wants
Lexy to take a boy to Xray as he is afraid to speak to his crush,
Sexray, the Xray man.
"For god's sake, Declan," says Lexy. Love is tired of being
ignored, but this situation has long since stopped verging on the
ridiculous and has now flown at great speed from the path of
reasonable Adult Behaviour and is plunging helter-skelter into the
deep ravine of Get a Freaking Grip.
To cut a long one short, Lexy agrees to take the patient,
apparently Love's distant second priority here, to see Sexray.
Sam and her oversized watch are spying from a window as part of
Operation Beehive. Then Vehicle A approaches, and she tells Ryder
this via walkie talkie. Cue panic attack. DS Murray gives the
signal to attack. A fistfight ensues. Chaos. She's cuffing a perp
when we cut back to Lexy.
"He's got a fractured tibia and my friend fancies you," says
Lexy, handing over the poor boy's file to Sexray. Thank god for
Lexy and a tiny grain of truth on the beach of lies and not saying
things you should say that is (often) Lip Service.
Lexy bigs up Declan as really funny (hmmm) and great company (if
you like "big fanny" jokes, sure) and is not that bad a guy
actually underneath all the bravado (probably true). "Can you
please put him out of his misery," says Lexy. "'Cos no offence, but
I'm [bleeping] sick of hearing about you." Bravo, Lexy. Your
honesty is as refreshing as a nice cold gin and tonic on a hot
Meanwhile, as the perps are loaded into vans, Sam hears Ryder
cry out over her walkie talkie. And she panics.
Dr Declan Love strides the hospital corridors like he owns them.
Then he hides in a dark empty room to avoid Sexray. And then, ha,
Sexray enters and Love has to feign interest in an enema bag.
Sexray doesn't enjoy being cruised at work, he says. He prefers a
dinner invitation to following someone into the nearest toilets. I
hear you Sexray; you and I are on the same page. Then, miracle of
miracles, he suggests Love buy him a dinner that same night. Love
will be there, he says, and he will bring his very nice comic
timing. Oh my days! Is this a successful love connection on Lip
Service? I'd fall into a faint if it wouldn't come across as
facetious. Which it would.
Back at Operation Beehive, Sam has got her breath back and finds
Ryder, bleeding and collapsed on the floor of the warehouse. This
is very exciting, not least because I saw this scene filmed many,
many months ago in a warehouse in Glasgow. Sam dials for an
ambulance. Hmm, I wonder where the nearest A&E is?
The streets of Glasgow blur in sympathy.
Meanwhile, Ed arrives at the theatre with flowers. I had
forgotten all about the theatre. Nora enters, herself a blur of
efficiency and spite.
"It's going to take more than a bunch of flowers," she says,
foolishly assuming that the lovely blooms are for her. When you
assume they are, folks, they never are. Any fool who has ever not
gotten flowers could tell you that.
They are for Tess, Nora.
Nora comments that Tess may never get another part.
Ed tells her he has changed the lead character in his book to an
"evil, self-obsessed hobbit" and implies that he and Tess play
darts using a photo of Nora as a target. All this is not helping
Tess with her nerves, nor calming the savage heart of evil
Sadie and Lauren are the stars of the episode's first sex scene,
in a hotel room. "You're beautiful," says Lauren. Sweet.
Some birds flutter on a rooftop. Someone's foot steps in a
puddle in the street. Why I find that funny, I don't know.
Hospital. Lexy sips coffee. Seeing a happy couple, she calls
someone. A little blonde actress someone who doesn't have "the
Back in the hotel, Lauren and Sadie's hands are entwined. Sadie
has something for Lauren. What is it, viewer? It is the watch she
found in the toilet at the gallery. And tickets to the play. Lauren
accepts both with a kiss.
Ryder is brought into A&E. Sam's been here before, hasn't
she? Outside the surgery room, she is once again powerless. God,
she's been through the wars this season.
Back at the theatre, Hugh gets bad news: his wife doesn't want
to reconcile. Nora tells Tess to break a leg, which is actress talk
for good luck, but is also a little sinister. Tess follows Hugh and
Nora, the epitome of vileness, pours vinegar into a prop teapot.
This does not bode well, theatre fans.
Hugh is on the phone to his wife. Now I have nothing against
Hugh, but I am struggling to maintain interest. I get that it's a
parallel plot, but it's been going on too long. Resolve it,
Sadie, Tess and Ed arrive outside. Sadie waits for "aunt"
Sam washes the blood from her hands. She dials a number.
The play begins, sans Lauren and Sadie. Massive pause but Hugh
gets through it.
Where are you Lauren? Sadie gives away her tickets and walks
away… watched by none other than… is that you, Janice?! The woman
with the white quiff who almost slept with Frankie a few episodes
On stage, Tess has a glass of tea. She takes a sip. A horrid
vinegary sip. Nora looks noxiously on. Tess pulls through.
Very anxious Lauren hasn't been able to get away from her wife
and a lovely dinner party at home. Bing-bong! The guests have
arrived. And it's the customer from the gallery who spots her very
own lost toilet watch on Lauren's wrist. Probably going to be
difficult to explain, that one.
Sam is waiting outside Ryder's room. She enters and apologises.
"I couldn't get there in time". This is a bit about Cat, I
Tess is kicking arse on stage. So's Hugh. Nora's smuggled a
picture of a topless woman into Tess' eyeline, but Tess gets
through. "Opening night fun," Nora calls it.
In the half-time bar, Lexy has a message from a clearly
Ed and Tess discuss ongoing Nora and Lexy stuff backstage.
Lexy tries to call Sam. Answerphone. Now is crucial. Who will
Sadie hails a cab. I know she's untrustworthy, but I bloody love
her. I loved Cat, too. Hope this doesn't bode badly for Sadie.
Sam gets home just in time for whisky o'clock.
Love the way all these plots are coming to a head!
On stage, second half. Lexy's seat is empty.
Lauren is being quizzed about her new watch by their dinner
guest. She is a terrible bluffer. She gets a text. From Sadie. "Are
you coming out? Or am I coming in?"
Oh Lauren, you have reaped an awful harvest of solid gold crap
Tess does some fine acting in her play within a play. About
unrequited love. Lexy's absence makes this rather poignant. Fiona
Button, I doff my cap to you.
Lauren ticks Sadie off outside, returns the watch and ends it
with her. Sadie wants to make it up to her, but Lauren is done.
Montage: Tess is sad. Lexy is walking slowly. Sam is having a
whisky. Sadie has a cigarette and then walks off.
A knock at hot cop's door. Lexy is there. This is it! What's
going to happen?
Hugh is sobbing on stage. Tess gives a key speech about grief
being temporary. Thank god for that... Oh, I think she means we're
all going to die. The audience applauds this sad truth. Tess
rightly gets the most applause, making Nora ill with envy.
At Sam's flat. Sam is blaming herself. She can't trust any more.
She used to believe she could spot a liar. Somehow deep down she
knew about Cat. She knew when Cat was thinking about Frankie.
"You can trust me," says Lexy.
And Sam kisses her. Twice. Maybe more. And so on.
Tess tells Nora just what she thinks of her. Very satisfying
moment. Lexy has sent Tess a message, saying the hospital
Sex scene with Lexy and Sam, rather intense. I think I'll give
them some privacy.
Watched by shady Janice, Sadie lets her lovely self into the
gallery, turning the alarm off. She opens the safe and relieves Jo
of her easily-earned art money. Janice waltzes in. It seems Janice
and Sadie know one another; sounds like Janice once nicked Sadie's
money. Janice likes the £35K vase, but opps, Sadie's smashed it.
They laugh, the outlaws. Off they go into the night, in Janice's
At her home, Tess arrives after a successful opening night but
no one is there. She calls Lexy, who is in bed with a snoozing Sam.
"Are you at the hospital," asks Tess. And Lexy, having learnt,
perhaps, nothing, lies and says yes. Thus the series begins and
ends with lies.
In the final scene, Tess smells Lexy's pillow at home for a bit.
And then it is all over.
I think it's been an amazing
series, don't you? If you liked it, tweet @bbcthree and join the
group on Facebook etc to support the call for a third
The Lip Service 2 DVD is out June