Creator: Russell T. Davies
Director: Peter Hoar
Starring: Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and Lydia West
It is now March 1988 in It’s A Sin Episode 4 and Ritchie finally uncovers his results in this episode. The pink palace gang are part of protests and attending many funerals of AIDS sufferers. It isn’t an easy time to be a gay man; at the beginning of this episode, we are shown a TV advert surrounding AIDS which is horrifying to watch. It appears to make this disease look evil to have, which was quite uncomfortable to watch. Therefore, it is no surprise that Ritchie was scared to find out the results and why other men may have been scared to get tested with adverts like that on TV surrounding the issue. Alongside this Jill and Ritchie decide to buy their flat; it is interesting that Ritchie lies to the estate agent about being homosexual, otherwise he may not have been granted his side of the mortgage.
Ritchie’s denial from the previous episode has now turned into paranoia. We see Ritchie try a range of different ‘cures’ such as drinking urine, eating egg yolks and almost drinking battery acid to try and stop AIDS from spreading. Ritchie is trying all these ‘cures’ without even knowing if he even has the disease. It is quiet and sad and scary that some men felt they had to go to these lengths because they were scared and wanted to try every possible way in the hope that something will help cure them, but really these ‘cures’ were more harmful than good.
It’s A Sin Episode 4 is a tough watch
Read more: It’s A Sin Episode 1 Review
While working on an episode of Doctor Who the director notices Ritchie’s skin isn’t right and finally, Ritchie bites the bullet and finds out his results, yet under a different name. Now another member of the Pink Palace has the dreaded disease, but will he succumb to the same fate as Colin? With this news Ritchie decides to go home with the intent of telling parents the truth about everything, yet that doesn’t go as planned. It is interesting how all the parents of our Pink Palace gang respond and react to what their children are going through. At the moment Ritchie’s parents are still in the dark with their son, his dad isn’t really supportive of his son’s career choices while his mother is sweet but an overall worrier. Compared to Jill’s parents who are like Colin’s mother, they are fully accepting and supportive of their daughter in the choices she makes. It is good we see that divide because not all parents are always supportive or accepting and especially during this time period.
Throughout this episode we see Ritchie struggle to come to terms with the news that he has AIDS. We see him struggle to tell the most important people in his life this life-changing news. However, in the end, Ritchie admits he has this disease but he will live. Seeing this character take on an optimistic attitude is nice to see. The character Ritchie has come a long way since episode one, we have seen him deny the existence of AIDS and then fear the disease but now he accepts it and wants to defy the odds and survive. Olly Alexander has done a great job in this role so far, he may not have always been the most likeable character but I think he is the most relatable character. This episode is really all about Ritchie and Alexander carries the episode well, his performance is strong. The scenes on the beach I did find uncomfortable to watch as they felt really cringy and awkward yet these conversations do happen, as we can all a remember conversations in which when we look back, we think: why did I say/talk about that. Ritchie was aware this would be the last time he would speak to Martin.
There is some comic relief
Read more: It’s A Sin Episode 2 Review
Roscoe is the comedic relief in this episode that we need; he has become the right-hand man of MP Arthur Garrison (Stephen Fry). We were made to believe that Garrison is gay, as he and Roscoe have been having sex yet that isn’t the case at all. While Garrison thinks he’s superior, it is Roscoe who has the last laugh. Probably my favourite scene in this episode in which Roscoe stands up to Garrison and decides he can do better in the way he is being treated; he does this by urinating in the tea and coffee which will be given to Margaret Thatcher and running away. I didn’t expect that to happen and I found it hilarious.
Ash is finally given his moment in this episode. He is hired to work in a school but is unfortunately harassed and made to feel unwelcome because of his sexuality. We see in this scene while Ash is retelling his story that Ash is a real character and can be really engaging and possibly quite funny. It is a shame we haven’t gotten to spend more one-on-one time to learn more about this character, although we are shown he doesn’t have it easy either.
It’s A Sin Episode 4 is a brilliant episode. Bring on the finale!
Read more: It’s A Sin Episode 3 Review
We end this episode with our gang taking part in a peaceful AIDS march which goes wrong once the police show up. I found it interesting that the police took to violence and forcefully hurt and removed the protesters yet the crowds forming on the streets just want the police to listen to what they are saying. It was very shocking to watch the police brutality but its difficult to watch the police go harder on Jill, probably because she wasn’t white.
We are now left wondering what will happen in the final episode, will Ritchie get a happy ending or are we set for more tears and heartbreak. Will Ritchie beat AIDS? However, this episode works really well, performances are great as always as we spend most of our time with Ritchie but we are given moments of relief with Roscoe. Overall, this episode is a fantastic penultimate episode to what should be an intense final episode of It’s A Sin.
What do you make of this review? Have you been enjoying It’s A Sin and what did you make of Episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!