Patrick Melrose: Never Mind
May 20, 2018 5:16 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

At the Melrose family’s glorious house in the South of France, young Patrick has the run of the magical grounds. His father David rules with cruelty and his mother Eleanor has retreated into self medication and booze. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient out of necessity, 9-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with fear. They are expecting guests for the weekend, but this afternoon is profoundly unlike other summer days, and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick's world in two. Preview.
posted by myotahapea (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well that was hard to watch.
posted by onebyone at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I loved Jennifer Jason Leigh in this. I kept screaming GET OUT at the television, so when she says the “See, it’s not so easy” line to Bridget, it’s like she’s talking to all of us.

It’s also incredibly heartbreaking to watch Hugo Weaving play such a monster because he is so freaking good at it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:02 PM on May 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I kind of didn't enjoy this episode for all the regular reasons, instead of for all the awful reasons you're *supposed* to dislike the episode?

I didn't enjoy this episode, but not in the way I was supposed to not enjoy it, I think.

I didn't care about anyone besides the Melrose family because I didn't know or learn anything about them and doubt we'll see any of them again (except for Godfather Victor maybe). I didn't find Jennifer Jason Leigh compelling in the role of the mother at all--so much so that I've even forgotten her name--I found Hugo Weaving VERY compelling indeed, but with nothing to push back against him, he was just The Awful Abusive Man (brilliantly played, agreed) and not much else? He could have played all of his scenes against tennis balls on sticks and been amazingly good, and it would have had the same emotional impact.

I thought some of the directorial choices were poor. I thought the rape, in particular, was really strangely toothless. I get that I'm supposed to be horrified? But I'm just like... I'm horrified as if it were a mental exercise, rather than emotionally or viscerally horrified. The shots of silent hallways and silent closed doors and such were such a strange decision. What were they trying to communicate? Clearly the rape of a young boy by a grown man would NOT BE SILENT, but it's not as though the "during the rape" empty hallway shots were muted, so there was ambient sound, but no sound coming from the bedroom, and then... no blood in the bed or on Patrick's pants? And Patrick is just running off in the fields after having been violently sodomized?

I don't mean to sound like "Gee there should have been a lot more obvious signs of rape during and after the rape," but that should have been unbearable, and instead it was cold and vaguely confusing.

I hope this is the last episode we get without the main focus on adult Patrick. It really suffered for lack of Cumberbatch's presence--the few moments we do get with him in withdrawal were far more emotionally engaging than anything else that happened.
posted by tzikeh at 7:56 AM on May 24, 2018

And also! I haven't read the books, but I felt like the adaptation here was very very poor.

When Mom says that they were going to do wonderful things with the French villa, and she says "We were going to turn it into a home for alcoholics..." the line SHOULD HAVE STOPPED THERE. We get it. To have her go on and *explain the joke* was like... why? Why would you take something that had the power to inflict a little sting on the audience and then totally deflate it with "SEE BECAUSE WE'RE ALCOHOLICS" just...

I just really really didn't think this episode was well done. I feel bad for Hugo Weaving, but not for Dr. Zira's reasons. He's doing Shakespeare from a Bad Quarto with a community-theater cast. Blerg.
posted by tzikeh at 8:00 AM on May 24, 2018

And also! I haven't read the books, but I felt like the adaptation here was very very poor.

You may want to reserve judgment until you read the books; if you're finding their behaviour is flawed that's less due to choices made in adaptation and more due to the class and time period of the characters being rendered. Titled, moneyed people of that era did speak and behave this way. The scene of Patrick's abuse at the hands of his father wouldn't have been shown in a sordid or graphic manner because it wouldn't have been carried out that way; unpleasantness of all kinds hid in plain sight, because everyone was too mannered and polite to speak of it openly, much less interfere, even if everyone knew it was going on. Its depiction is horrifying, because it happened silently, behind closed doors. Patrick complies, and keeps silent both during and after, because he knows there is no escape. Anything can be forgiven or swept under the rug by society if you have money, or title, or privilege, or enough conversational wit to be amusing.

The purpose of Eleanor's followup comment about the house actually becoming an alcoholic's sanctuary isn't to beat the viewer over the head by explaining a joke; it's to undermine any sense of sincerity she may have revealed by mentioning her original intent. The sincerity paints her current life as a tragedy and reveals her unhappiness; the followup witticism reestablishes her as a woman enjoying a privileged life of idleness by choice.

There's a reason the books are beloved in the UK; they're an accurate portrayal of this time and place, of a class system that was falling apart and the power structures at play within them.
posted by myotahapea at 4:00 PM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

It took me two weeks (almost) to finish this episode. It's so claustrophobic and awful and I couldn't bear being trapped with Hugo Weaving's character for a mere hour. Poor Patrick. I love both Anne (LOVE Indira Varma) and Bridget.

Weaving's performance is very good and he is terrifying and sadistic and I definitely don't want to spend more time with him.
posted by Aquifer at 9:37 PM on May 29, 2018

The shots of silent hallways and silent closed doors and such were such a strange decision

The silence of it all is what drove the horror home for me in that there was no one coming to save Patrick or protect him.
posted by Julnyes at 12:30 PM on June 1, 2018

There are botanical details about figs that makes them seem particularly appropriate here: with figs the flowers are inside the fruit. But those flowers still need to be pollinated. The fig tree achieves this by inviting in a female fig wasp into a developing fruit. She lays her eggs in a number of the flowers - and also carries in fig pollen. But she can't get out and dies as a prisoner of the fig - her body enclosed in a protective gall. The young male wasps hatch first. They then impregnate their sister females who are still developing inside their respective flowers. The males then die. When the females hatch they leave the fig carrying pollen with them. Animals then eat the figs and spread the seeds as you would expect.

So each tasty fig comes with its own story of what sounds like imprisonment and child rape. The details.
posted by rongorongo at 12:52 AM on January 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

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