‘Dates’ (Channel 4) – Episode 5 Review

We first met David (played by Will Mellor) last week, in the first episode – and he was back tonight and this time on a date with Ellie (Montanna Thompson).

It was immediately clear that Ellie was quite confident, leaping onto David and proceeding to chat endlessly. As it was his birthday, David got to decide the venue – that ending up being American restaurant, Hollywoodland.

The conversation flowed and it appeared that there was a spark between the pair, but then Ellie was recognised by a (seemingly troublesome) friend, who exposed the truth about Ellie’s age – that being that she is not 25, as she told David, but is in fact 19. Understandably, David felt incredibly let  down by Ellie’s omission of this information and did not wish to continue with the date. However, with some persuasion from her, he stayed and they both agreed that their relationship would not progress beyond friendship.

Knowing that there was no romance at risk, David opened up about his failed date with Mia, which is where we first saw him last week. With this in mind, Ellie took the opportunity when David went to the toilet to send an obscene text to Mia, apparently from David. Of course, it appeared that this would have crushed any hopes that David had of trying to form a relationship with Mia. However, the outcome of the night was jaw-droppingly the opposite of this.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Mia’s date with Stephen (her current boyfriend) next Wednesday.

EXCELLENT’

Again, another excellent episode of Dates. I was overjoyed to see David back as I really warmed to him when we first saw him, so was hopeful that he would finally find love this time. Which he did – sort of.

We definitely discovered more about David and Mia – both as a couple and individually – than we did on their first date. They appear to be more comfortable with themselves now and know what they are looking for, which is fantastic and I’m anxious to see how their pairing develops during the remainder of the series.

While not strictly about David and Mia, this episode did show that they are well suited as a couple. Now that’s something that I didn’t think I would have written about them. In fact, in my first review of Dates, I wrote:

“There was a fragility to David whereas Mia seldom seemed anything other than bitter and dismissive of others’ feelings, giving her an air of unpleasantness.”

My general opinion was that they were total opposites and, despite what Paula Abdul dictates, they were never going to attract. However, tonight I had to reason that they actually are compatible. Sadly, it seems that their compatibility has only come to the fore because David has reduced himself to Mia’s level by appearing callous and cold – whereas I would have preferred them to have proved themselves to be suited by Mia taking a leaf out of David’s book and being a bit more compassionate. Alas, she didn’t and so, although it saddens me to say it, I have lost some respect for David.

Whereas we’d already met David and got to know him a little, this was the first time Ellie had appeared in Dates. At the beginning of the date, as I said, she was very excitable and desperate to impress. By the end of the night, however, she was slightly more grounded, having dropped her pretence and shown a warmer side to herself.

Despite initially deceiving David, I did feel sorry for Ellie. There was a desperation to her as she seemed to want to appear mature beyond her years and break away from her college image. She sadly just didn’t realise that her natural demeanour was far more attractive and likeable than her fake one. At first, I had reservations about Ellie as I believed that she was going to do exactly what Mia did and let David down, making him think that he may never find love, but I ultimately respected her and would love to see more of her as a character.

 

In this episode, writer Laura Hunter created a very bittersweet date but one which, like all those from the series so far, provided us with engaging and slightly complex characters who prove that the search for love can often be more complicated than it first appears.

Dates will be on over the next few weeks at 10:00pm on Channel 4

What did you think of Dates? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see my recommendations for the coming week’s TV on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

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