My God, this EPISODE. Just about my favourite ever. 'Christmas' episodes of tv shows can be often cheesy and fluffy, but this was just the perfect mix of the silly, funny and serious. Yeah, definitely my favourite episode thus far. I'm bloody glad that Tony was the showcase storyline in this too.
So, time for the caps. And there were so many great moments in this episode.
Charlie begins in the narrative by explaining that February is typically a slow period for hotels.
Just what is Anna doing to Ben's hand there? I thought maybe an impromptou manicure, but I'm not sure.
James is lacking restaurant patrons and seems to look rather bored.
And Gino too is experiencing a bit of a slump in business. Why is this, you ask?
Because the hard-partying Christmas/New Year season is over. James looks mildly amused by that flute of champagne there.
Tony delivers a gift-wrapped dog to someone's room. Rather WTF? if you ask me.
And in an even more 'WTF?' moment, Ben takes keys for a swingers party in one of the rooms. I'd show you the remainder of the shot, but it's not exactly worksafe.
As a result, the staff Christmas party is held in February during the slow period. I love this shot of Jackie dancing.
Ben and Anna flip through a magazine together while everything's quiet at reception.
Charlie goes to ask Tony how the hotel awards went the night before. Tony is rather grumpy because he lost the concierge of the year award to a younger guy.
Part of that grumpiness can also be attributed to Gino (in a bit of continuity from the last episode) winning barman of the year. Working the sunglasses to death right there.
At the staff meeting, Tony is still grumpy.
Aside from a famous actor staying at the hotel, the big news is that Rebecca is cancelling the Christmas party. James and the rest of the staff are like 'WHAT?'
So at morning tea they all decide to 'Work to rule', which means they don't do more than they're required to do.
Tony and Charlie meanwhile chat. Tony's still angsting about losing out on the award and the criticism that he's 'old-fashioned'. So he does what anyone would do: get the Russian mafia to help him out. Charlie's not so convinced by this argument.
Ben and Anna go into hysterics when the big name actor arrives for his press junket. Anna ends up getting ink on her face however and has to go and wash it off. We'll see that this is important to the plot.
Meanwhile, a journo and photographer arrive to interview Gino, who is ready to go for the camera.
And the Russians arrive to do business with Tony. Tony knows a bit of Russian, which doesn't really surprise me at all.
Ben's called up to a situation with the actor and his PA. It's not pleasant, and we learn that the actor's treating the PA like crap. Ben passes this news onto Anna, who decides she'll do something about it.
Since Luke's gone, the eye candy for this episode is the new potwasher, who all the female staff have taken a fancy to. Including Rebecca.
Anna catches the PA in tears and takes her to get drunk and formulate a plan to blackmail the actor into stopping treating her badly.
The Russians are looking to branch out in the hotel, and want Tony to start using their tours and theatre tickets and get rid of the remaining non-Russian drivers. Tony's not happy, but after getting a huge wad of cash, agrees to it.
Unfortunately this backfires as some regular guests complain about the theatre tickets and the restaurant they were taken to.
Charlie confronts Tony on the balcony about it and tells him to get rid of the Russians.
Anna goes undercover as a journo to blackmail hotshot actor. She looks kinda Ugly Bettyesque here, I think.
Tony tells his Russian mates he can't use their services anymore. Eugene (the head guy) says it's ok, but asks Tony to put up a friend of his in the hotel as part of the severence deal.
Ugly!Anna discovers viagra while going through Hotshot Movie Star's stuff. And proceeds to blackmail him into treating his poor PR woman better by taping his confession that he uses it. Go Anna!
Tony books the Russian guest into his room and then calls his wife to tell her he's staying on that night in case something happens. I'm bloody curious about Tony's wife. Perhaps an appearance in the next series?
And something does happen. Jackie gets curious about the stream of people going in and out of the Russian's room and goes to investigate, only to find that they are ev0l drug dealers. And for the second episode in a row, she gets roughed up. And threatened to boot, after wrecking their delicate operation.
An upset Jackie confronts an oblivious Tony and they go together to throw the nasty drug dealers out.
Afterward, Tony goes for a coffee (same coffeeshop James went to...I WILL find this cafe if/when I get to London) and contemplates the unpleasant consequences of turfing out Eugene's friend. And boy, it is going to be unpleasant.
On a lighter note, Rebecca finally gives in and lets the Christmas party happen. And ends up being conned into cooking Christmas dinner as well. Charlie is all 'Hee!' at Rebecca's misfortune until she pretty much orders him to help out.
Wackiness inevitably ensues, stemming from Rebecca's complete lack of culinary skills and Charlie's cool, calm and collected attitude to it all.
The staff decorate the breakroom for the Christmas party. James gets saddled with elf duties again (he can't be Santa because he's a 'moody bastard', in Gino's words). Screencap's mainly because I'm still loving James' ties. Except for the staff meeting one, which looked like it was made from a tablecloth.
In slight foreshadowing, Tony gets the feeling he's being watched. This isn't going to be good, guys.
Charlie and Rebecca toil away in the kitchens and have silly arguments so we can see their obvious chemistry and that they are the OTP for this series.
Then Stuff Happens and Charlie cheers up a teary and stressed Rebecca with brandy.
And then there is this fabulous musical sequence with everyone preparing for the party by decorating and dressing up. Anna decorates an uncharacteristically unmoody James with baubles. Awww!
And there's tree decorating. James has swapped the baubles for reindeer antlers. Double awww!
And Rebecca's gone from shrieking at to downright perving on Charlie while he does the cooking.
And the decorating's done! And doesn't it look lovely?
Unfortunately, someone has to be working out front during the party. Ben draws the short straw.
Still, he gets to put the fairy on top of the tree. Yay!
After Rebecca and Charlie have a heart to heart and further establish their OTP status, James comes in to help bring in the food and interrupts them when they're about to kiss. Oh Lord, I died laughing when I first saw this shot. Nothing like a gaudily-dressed elf to lower the UST in the room.
And now the unpleasant bit: Tony is confronted by Eugene and gets beaten savagely while a Christmas standard plays over the montage of blows and kicks. I only show the aftermath because none of us want to see someone getting their ass kicked, right?
The Christmas party is in full swing! There we have Santa (Gino), Mrs Claus (Jackie), the Potwasher, James the Elf and Anna the Fairy (with Rebecca and Charlie standing behind). You've gotta admit that Anna makes a rather cute fairy.
Battle-scarred Tony makes it into the lockerroom and takes a moment to show the audience how much in pain he is.
Ben is all on his own at reception and is forced to listen everyone else merrymaking.
And then Anna the Christmas Fairy comes to spread some cheer....
...and share pudding. They're so cute together.
Recovered sufficiently enough, Tony comes into the party and apologizes to Jackie for what happened with the drug dealer.
Goddammit, I will NOT ship Tony/Jackie. Even though it has vast potential and the characters are well-suited to each other.
Charlie guesses that Tony's been beaten, and the two talk about it. Tony's remorseful about getting into so much trouble over an award. He's rocking that open-collared shirt look right there too. Rawr.
Charlie swipes one of Gino's prized bottles of cognac as a present to make Tony feel better. I'm pretty sure that a nice cognac could make anyone feel better. *yearns for a glass*
Gino tells his annual Christmas story about getting a toy car for his infant son(?). At least, I think it's his son? Then everyone cracks up because the story seems to get embellished more and more every Christmas.
James quizzes Anna about her scoop on the Hotshot Actor. I should so NOT ship Anna/James either, even though they'd also be brilliant together.
Nothing to add here. I just like this shot. Rather iconable, actually.
And then we come to the climax of the story. Jackie and the Potwasher have gotten cosy and are about to go and claim a closet for making out, and subsequently discover the series two OTP going at it already.
Can we say 'awkward'? Still, if Tamzin is leaving Hotel Babylon at the end of this series, then perhaps there's hope for Charlie/Jackie yet?