“It’s numbers mate. Only numbers.”
After last week’s very depressing end we’re introduced to a brand new character; Alex Henley.
Warning: Spoilers follow.
We wake up with Alex in his nautical themed room. He gets ready and makes breakfast for his memory challenged gran. She’s not afraid of saying anything offensive either but Alex takes it in his stride. The first hint of trouble arises when Alex’s dad calls in to prepare gran for a home. Something neither of which Alex or gran are keen for.
At the bus stop Alex fiddles with a die and reads a note with corresponding actions for each number. We can’t read the whole thing but there’s choices to streak, punch, kiss, wank, and run. But before he can roll the die the bus arrives.
It’s Alex’s first day at Roundview and after meeting Doug, now headmaster, and at his dad’s meddling he’s thrust into ICT along with the rest of the skins we’ve grown so attached to.
In the cafeteria Alex is sitting alone, tapping the die against the table. We see Grace’s portrait among some flowers. Alex then looks over at Liv and sees her pouring some hard alcohol into her coffee cup. Liv spots Alex staring at her and the two share smiles. Alex pulls out his card and we see for the first time all six actions:
1. Streak in a public place
2. Punch the next person to walk in
3. Kiss the person next to you
4. Do everything backwards
5. Have a wank. NOW!
6. Run away
I used to use an eraser myself as a mock magic eight ball, each side corresponding to a yes, no, or maybe. So not quite the same as Alex’s number system. Because here he means business. He rolls a 2. We see Nick and Alo walk in the door. But Alo is lucky first. Alex walks right up to him and punches him in the face. He quickly apologises and helps him to his feet. Alo is bewildered and Alex quickly walks out with everyone’s eyes on him, including Liv who smiles in astonishment.
Liv is having a falling out with Mini. The two are taking Grace’s death quite hard. Liv walks up to Alex and asks what his problem is. He looks at his die. “If you live by this, everything’s random”
He rolls a three and gives Liv a good smooch, until she slaps him in the face. Any normal girl would walk away at this point but she’s intrigued by Alex and the two walk together to Alex’s place. He introduces her to his gran. We learn more about gran’s husband who as it turns out was a sailor. Alex reads his grandfather’s travel diary as gran lies in bed.
Alex meets the gang in a bar, all sitting quietly and keeping to themselves.
Mini sums up my thoughts exactly. “We don’t need any new friends.”
But by this point I know I’ve started to like the character. I don’t see him as a replacement for Grace. He tries to learn more about her but everyone finds it offensive for him to be talking about her.
Liv goes off with Alex to a dingy warehouse with poker tables hidden out back. Alex wins the round against his final opponent, with a full house in fact. Alex is accused of cheating and the two settle it with another of Alex’s chance devices; the coin toss. Except as we soon find out, the coin is heads on both sides of the coin. The two manage to escape with the handfuls of cash. Liv looks like she madly wants to kiss Alex, but he’s blissfully unaware. He sends her off in a taxi and kisses her on the cheek, which again confuses Liv.
Alex pulls out his smart phone and loads an app called CruisR. The screen is littered with display pictures of guys. He selects the profile of a dude only 15 metres away. Next we see Alex in the throws of passion with… another guy. Suddenly it makes sense, that’s the reason he’s been coy about Liv’s advances. And I made that prediction about Liv potentially hooking up with Rich (too soon?), so that’s still up in the air now. Alex leaves the guy (a lot older than his pic showed to be) with a few criticisms, and tears up the cash on offer.
Liv and Alex break into a home, another one of the dice dares. They find a mess of a house and they tidy the place to freak out the owner. Liv advances on Alex but before Alex has time to explain the owner walks in the door, and the duo make their escape.
The two head to Alex’s home where they find his dad packing up gran’s things. Alex and his dad argue and Alex is left to pack up the rest. He doesn’t.
Everyone is hanging at the bar. Alex is growing closer to the group as Nick makes fun of his lists. A pretentious twat comes in and starts talking up a memorial service for Grace. There couldn’t be a worse faker out there and the gang is beyond peeved.
Mini has a fight with Liv and Liv takes off. Alex chases Liv to the bathroom and finally reveals to Liv that he’s gay. Liv takes this quite harshly, even Mini takes her side, and Alex runs away in shame.
Alex comes home to find his gran has overdosed on pills. Rather than be taken to a home, she decided to go her own way.
The service starts, and the gang heads along. While the twat and his accomplice begin a cringe worthy musical item, Liv gets so upset she trashes the keyboard and exposes herself to the crowd. The second part I don’t get myself. But it seemed to make sense to her at the time.
Alex tries to reconcile with Liv over the phone while waiting nearby.
Alex invites the group out for a cruise, where we discover he wants to send his gran out to sea for her burial. There the gang help him push the coffin into the sea. Alex says she can be their stand-in for Grace, as they weren’t allowed to attend the funeral (déjà vu anyone?). Alex recites his granddad’s diary one last time, and there are tears all around. I found myself rather swept up in the moment too. Mini and Liv are back on good terms. We hear in on a phone call from Franky to Matty. She tells him to never come back. Huh, and I thought she was nice again?
Alex rolls the die one more time: Run away. They jump into the sea. The last shot is of them diving for the die.
A little surprisingly Rich is nowhere to be seen in this episode. There is a moment where he is mentioned when Nick and Alo walk into the cafeteria. Blink and you’ll miss it. I guess it makes sense. His pain must be unbearable, and we witnessed most of it in the last episode. However I do hope we get to see him soon and how he’s coping.
I thought it would be a little strange to introduce a brand new character to a cast we’re already well acquainted with, but it turned out just fine. Great in fact. Alex is a fascinating new character, and as long as they don’t over-do the dice stuff, he should fit right in with the gang and hopefully ease their suffering as they grieve for Grace.