Still toying with whether or not I'll wait for Doctor Who to screen on tv here or resort to other means of watching it. Some of the reviews I've skimmed over on doctorwho weren't exactly great, and then some reviews were just outright blind fangirl squeeing. Bah, I'll give it a week to mull over and make up my mind then. The HB finale is this week so that might allow for another show that I can use bandwith up on getting.
Anyway, recap time. And can I just say that I completely missed that Ronan Vibert was in this episode the first time I watched it? Complete fail on my part.
This was an improvement on the last episode, though I'm a little surprised that Jack was in the background for most of it. His character still needs a lot of work, because the audience should be positioned to sympathise/like him as the male lead. At the moment, he's reminding me a bit of Rebecca in series one, where he's this sort of boss figure that's there but not quite as prominent as Charlie. Did that make any sense at all? Eh, probably not. The point is he doesn't seem like an obvious lead character in the way that Charlie was yet.
I don't have major quibbles with the plotlines, but omg poor James. Conned again! And he really liked this girl too! Hopefully his next love interest won't be after him for the hotel wine or menu. Loved the Anna 'n Ben show with all the sneaking around and gossiping about the magician. Feels like their time together onscreen has been scaled back in lieu of Anna's relationship with Ned, which is a shame because they're cute together. The prostitute trafficking storyline with Tony and Emily moved along well too, as the serious plotline, though I'm having difficulty buying Jack being so extreme as to fire Tony when he wouldn't explain the lobby punch-up. Suspension for a week or two? Yes. Sacking? Probably not.
And all that said, it looks like a fourth series has been greenlighted. So yay on that! I predict much Jack/Emily and at least two new characters (a new deputy manager and possibly a new head of housekeeping if the writers don't decide to put Tanya in the job).
Jack's first episode narrating. The theme for today's episode is the hotel as a private space for guests where the staff don't judge on what they get up to. And there's this wee precursor storyline where Tony brings a prostitute into the hotel for a guest, only for the guest and his hired company to be caught in the lobby by his angry wife. Tony tries valiantly to stop the wife's purse from hitting its intended target and fails miserably.
After the opening credits, Jack's holding the morning staff meeting and discussing Tony's role in the prostitute-guest-guest's wife confrontation. But the main source of news is that the hotel's menu is so successful that there's been a deal for a cookbook to be published. That little black book in James' hand has all the recipes for the menu in it.
Emily's been trying to talk Tony into being interviewed by a journalist for a publication about the best-kept secrets of London (?). Tony's been telling her he's doesn't want to do the interview when Emily notices something missing from her hand.
Tony manages to retrieve Emily's missing ring from a pipe under a bathroom sink. Thought it might be an engagement ring, but the writers are obviously quick to ensure the audience that Emily is single and the ring was her grandmother's.
And then she sort of manages to talk Tony into doing the interview. I liked this whole scene, perhaps because there was something amusing about the characters looking like they were addressing the camera when they were addressing each other.
Eddie, the sleazy host of a regional talkshow checks in and proceeds to flirt with Anna to no avail.
And when Anna doesn't appear to be interested, he arranges for Tony to book him a prostitute from an escort service he frequents.
Meanwhile, James is showing a set of new waiters the ropes in the kitchen. Except this one is late. Much eyerolling and excuse-making ensues.
Eddie's prostitute arrives and Tony escorts her up to his room.
James tests the new recruits' knowledge of wines by quizzing them on what wines suit what particular dishes.
Chloe gives a good answer, and James is a bit impressed.
While the restaurant profits have been good, the bar profits are down, and Gino's trying to revive them with gaudy Spanish decorations. And obviously he and James spar over it.
And this is Dan Black, a David Blaine rip-off who's in London for a disappearing act. He surprises Ben and Anna with a bit of trickery, though Anna says she isn't impressed by the act afterwards.
Eddie calls Tony up to his room after the prostitute bites him and leaves. Tony helps clear up the mess, but refuses to get another girl for him.
After more trickery with Ben in the elevator, Dan uses his ability to levitate as an obvious chat-up line. Ha! I kind of wish the writers had pursued this pairing, if only for the potential lulz.
Emily brings the journalist into the hotel for Tony's interview, only to find that the room in which they're conducting the interview is where Eddie's prostitute is hiding. Naturally the journalist doesn't want to interview someone worked at a place with this sort thing happening, so she leaves. And Emily throws a minor fit at the girl.
James has lost his prized recipe notebook, so Chloe helps him look for it.
As it turns out, Gino has it. He antagonizes James a bit before giving it back.
While escorting the prostitute out, she notices her pimp waiting for her.
Tony agrees to hide her after noticing scars on her arms.
Jack tells Gino to lose the Spanish decorations. It'd appear that Jack's also decided that the boyish sideparted hair with fringe is not mature enough a haircut for a hotel manager and is now slicking his hair back. Pity, he looked cuter that way.
James watches Chloe at work. Not a day she's been there and he's already smitten.
And when she trips up with a dish, he helps clear it up and makes her feel better. Aw.
Tony arranges temporary accomodation for the prostitute (Mei) in one of the storage closets. He also learns that she's fifteen and is a victim of sex trafficking.
Anna and Ben have a bet going that she can levitate the way that Dan can. And hey presto! Anna now has an extra day off for her troubles. Turns out she was a magician's assistant and knows a few tricks of the trade.
So, Robespierre is the GM at Babylon's rival the Burlington, and he's come to Gino for a drink. And possibly subterfuge. But not nuts, because he's allergic. Like I said, I completely missed that this was Ronan Vibert. He looks like he's put on weight, woe.
Tony is so pissed off with Eddie hiring an underage prostitute that he knocks him out in the foyer. Guess he had to take over from Charlie as the character who punches out bad guests, because Jack is clearly too much of a goody two-shoes for that.
And because Tony won't explain why he got so violent with a guest, Jack fires him. But I think we all know that Tony being fired isn't a permanent thing.
James is staying late to pick out recipes for the cookbook, when Chloe comes to invite him out for a drink. This is actually a rather lovely scene, and not just for how cute the characters are, but also the wonderful background music (which vaguely sounds like Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith).
Emily wants to know why Tony punched out Eddie, so he relents and brings her to Mei. Tony wants her to stay overnight and look after Mei as well, but Emily says she can't.
What's Gino doing ringing up Robespierre over at the Burlington now?
You know, the last scene with these two was nice and subtle. And this looks rather tacky in comparison, even if it's meant to show that James really fancies Chloe. He's taking her up on the drink offer.
Emily rethinks leaving Mei alone in the hotel and decides to stay overnight instead and bring a snack for her. Looks like she's finally grown a conscience!
Tony slips in the next morning and he and Emily begin to plan how they can get Mei out safely.
Looks like Tony and Chloe's date went rather well too. Can't decide whether they slept together though....
....but then this silly disco dancing sequence kind of points to 'yes' being the answer to that question (a male character singing and dancing is probably a good indicator that he's been laid- see also: The Forty Year-Old Virgin). Between this and the Bohemian Rhapsody sing-a-long in the previous episode, it's only a matter of time before there's a musical episode.
So, James is having a great morning, and nothing will spoil- oh. The Babylon menu's been leaked to the Burlington. And all clues point to Gino being the culprit.
Thus Gino gets the cold shoulder from everyone for his alleged betrayal.
At reception, Anna banters with Dan Black over his disappearing act and her doubts over how legitimate he is. Dan counters by using sleight of hand to procure a rose from her ear. And he gives it to Ben, hee! The slash is only hinted at, but it's totally there.
Ostracised by the rest of the staff, Gino eats lunch in the lockerrooms
And overhears James and Chloe talking. James gives Chloe his locker key so she can leave her things there. Dammit, they're so cute together, but you all know what's coming....
...yes, she's the one who's been leaking the menu to the Burlington. And Gino's there to see it!
Anna sends Ben to sneak around Dan's room to uncover how he performs his magic tricks. Anna and Ben = awesome team. Ben finds a book that appears to have handwritten instructions for the illusions and tricks and whatnot and smuggles it out of the room.
Gino goes to Jack and announces that he knows who the mole is. And after James gets offended over Gino saying it's Chloe, Jack intervenes and decides that there needs to be a Cunning Plan to prove Gino's accusation.
Mei's ex-boyfriend comes to take her back to the brothel. Tony offers to buy Mei, and is told that it'll cost 10,000 pounds. A steep price, but Tony decides to go and find the money.
To unveil Chloe as the mole, James leaks a recipe to her that will be served to Robespierre when he dines with Jack. A recipe that has nuts in it (remember kids, he's allergic).
Chloe intervenes to tell Robespierre that the salad has nuts in it, and is caught. You can see James' heart breaking right about now.
Jiang's drinking beer as a sort of timer for when Tony has to be back with the money. The alcohol's made him a bit aggressive, though Emily manages to talk him out of the chokehold he's got her in.
Tony's called in every favour to try and get the rest of the money (he's already appeared to raid his hidden stash of accumulated tips), but it looks like he's going to be short, woe.
When checking out, Dan leaves a present for Anna and Ben.
Tony has only managed to get half the money to buy Mei. But rather than let Jiang take her away, Emily decides to go and get the other half in the remaining five minutes. And like any good yuppie who walks to work in a large city, Emily carries joggers in her bag.
And in record time, she manages to bring the remaining five grand needed to buy Mei. While Jiang promises that he'll buy more girls from China with the money, Tony at least manages to get him to give Mei's passport back if he wants the full sum.
It turns out Emily sold her ring to get the money.
Chloe explains to James why she did what she did (low on money, in debt, etc.). She didn't anticipate him being a lovely charming bloke, which makes this farewell all the more angstier.
James looks like he wants to chase after her when she leaves, but he doesn't. To be honest, I was sort of hoping he'd forgive her. Oh, well. Hopefully the next love interest won't hurt him. Someone this cute should not be getting hurt all the time!
Anna and Ben watch the video Dan left them as a gift, and discover it's footage of Ben snooping around his suite.
Oh, and the book with the written instructions Ben smuggled out is now blank. Magic zomg!
After getting her passport back, Tony and Emily send Mei off to airport and back to China.
Emily explains the whole saga to Jack, and now knowing the full story, he reinstates Tony back in the job.
In a gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation, Gino creates two new cocktails for James: 'A Fresh Start' and 'Falling for a two-faced girl who may like you but you never going to know for sure'. And the spirit of goodwill and friendship between the two lasts no more than five minutes before they're arguing like the Odd Couple again.