Synopsis: The final part of the thriller sees Tess make it back to London and unite with Jonty to try and find Leila and stop Adrian.
Review: This was a disturbing yet satisfying episode. Tallulah Haddon puts forth a phenomenal acting masterclass in every scene she is in. Haddon shows a stupendous range here, from her frightening hysterics when Adrian tortures her, to the sweet human moments when she goes to Azul for help and reunites with Tess and Jonty. I
loved how real Leila, Tess and Jonty’s reunion seemed and it was a nice payoff to see them together again. Matthew Aubrey shows Jonty’s developing maturity excellently in this outing. His apology to Leila when she calls him out for helping Adrian felt very true to life. Matthew Beard takes Adrian’s malevolence and creepiness to a new level in this episode. It was great to see Leila turn the tables on him, however briefly, in their final conversation and break the aura of calm that Adrian has always had.
Simona Brown showed Tess’s heroism and newfound stability very well. It was interesting that Tess and Leila’s roles seemed to have been reversed at the start of the episode with Tess playing sleuth and Leila at Adrian’s mercy. This was somewhat subverted by Leila rescuing herself. Tallulah Haddon shows Leila’s courage in the face of terrifying odds fantastically. There were some truly gorgeous chiaroscuro shots of Leila’s face whilst Adrian was torturing her and I loved when Leila took control and willed herself out of the virtual hell Adrian had put her in.
This outing succeeds at making Adrian first an omnipresent threat and then humanising him somewhat, and also at putting Leila forward as a genuine hero. I really liked the Matrix-like theme when Leila hacked into Azana and the touching moment towards the episode’s end when she said “The man who lived here was a good teacher.” referring to Mark Straker’s Mr Adams. Haruka Abe continues to impress as Tippi, who posed as a traumatised “victim” of Leila.
I really hope we see more of Tippi if Kiss Me First is renewed for a second series, as the ending implied that it would. It was heartwarming to see Misha Butler’s Jocasta regain consciousness and his mother’s reaction. The CGI in this episode was the best it has been in this series. It was really cool to see Adrian’s avatar interact with Tallulah Haddon and the scene where the virtual world burned away as Leila regained control was beautiful. Matthew Beard delivers a truly fantastic villainous monologue in this instalment that even eclipses his speeches from the last episode. The shots of the real world that Tess and Jonty inhabit seem soft and peaceful in stark contrast to the sickening scenes of Leila trapped at the start of the episode. Special mention must go to Geraldine Somerville, whose whispered apology to Adrian after Leila makes Red Pill public was possibly the best moment in the episode.
Overall, a great final episode that really delivers.
- Incidental Music9.5