Switch 1.02 "Episode 2" REVIEW

TV REVIEW The Wicked Witches Of West London

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Switch Episode 2 TV REVIEW

Episode 1.02
Writer: Chloe Moss, Tim Price
Director: Dominic LeClerc

THE ONE WHERE The Witches Of Kensington curse Hannah’s career prospects, Jude magics herself a new boss and Grace’s new boyfriend is a potential bunny burner.

VERDICT Here’s a rarity: episode two of Switch features a pair of kids who aren’t annoying. Well, they are annoying, but they’re supposed to be, as opposed to kids who are supposed to be cute, but are actually annoying. The two terrors here are a genuinely amusing part of the plot, especially when the witches decide to channel the lads’ “talents” into being modern day Artful Dodgers. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a remote control to mute their children from time to time? The witches should market that particular invention. (You have to wonder what would have happened if someone had tried the CHANGE CHANNEL button, though; would Hannah have suddenly found herself looking after two girls?)

This second episode is far slicker, tighter, cleverer and wittier than the first episode. It feels less sitcommy, and more comedy drama. The slapstick has been cut right back (though there’s a worrying – but thankfully brief – moment when a hexed policeman suddenly develops the kind of goofy expression usually reserved for The Chuckle Brothers ). The multiple plot lines wove together well, and there certainly were a lot of them; it’s amazing how much this show packed into 45 minutes. Aside from the adventures in babysitting, there was Grace’s needy boyfriend, the Kensington witches, Jude’s new boss, Hannah’s job woes and Stella’s stilted love life. All the characters had various moments to shine, and snappy one-liners were shared out like some kind of character communism in action. Although you could argue the show doesn’t have its crowd-pleasing “Nathan/Rudy" character, it’s actually quite refreshing to have an ensemble show where no-one’s the nominated nutter and all four leads have their own line in humour, even if it is at their own expense at times (re: Grace’s marvellously awkward, “I caught my… tit in a book…”)

All four leads also feel better defined this week. Stella is less wet, and Grace more wet, but that seems to make more sense, considering their elemental allegiances. Lacey Turner is certainly more fun when she’s not required to have a permafrown. Jude and Hannah are also fleshed out, though Hannah’s link to Alexa of the Kensington witches feels a little shoehorned in for the sake of the plot. You can’t imagine even a young Hannah putting up with someone as horrendous as Alexa. Grace, maybe… but her mum clearly never mixed in those circles.

The “adult” content (swearing, sexual references) felt less forced and self-conscious as well, and the lightsaber vibrator gag was a peach. There’s still a little bit of the Torchwood curse: the occasional F-word that sounds like it’s been issued as part of some rationing system, only to be used at moments of extreme impact. But it feels a lot more mature than in the first episode.

The main disappointment is the Witches Of Kensington. After the promise of last week’s cliffhanger, we don’t really learn much about them. They’re not on screen much, and when they are, they’re like four evil Tillys from Miranda with all that posh “No diff”, “Sad face!” spiel. Clearly their appearance here is only the start of a major arc plot, but it's a shame they’re kept so much in the wings. The episode felt like it needed one meaty, dramatic confrontation between Alexa and either Stella or Hannah, to ram home her credentials as a credible villain.

It was also great to see the plot take a couple of unexpected turns. Joel turning out to be a needy freak was an amusing surprise and his date with Grace was wonderfully creepy. Then Jude’s slacker boss – who you could have sworn had “one-gag guest character” written all over him – seems to take a shine to Grace instead. Presumably we’ll be seeing more of him.

Switch is still a little too fluffy in places, and a couple of moments of real jeopardy or tension per episode wouldn’t go amiss. But it’s definitely developing a unique charm of its own.

GROWTH SPURT When Sam’s hit by a car, he seems to grow by about a foot, Okay, getting a stunt double for a child actor is going to be difficult, but it may been better just to cut around the actual collision.

IF YOU WANT TO GET AHEAD, GET A MANNEQUIN Nice positioning, there…

SHORT MEMORY When Grace spots Joel hanging around the witches flat, he splutters, “Do you live round here?” A pretty rubbish lie, since he had a massage in the flat last episode.

Stella: “Jude exactly how much phone sex did you have with that Cuban guy last month?”
Jude: “A fair bit. Why?”
Lacey: “Because we’ve got a phone bill here for a grand.”
Jude: “He only lives in Tooting!”
Hannah: “Why not just have proper sex, then?”
Jude: “Jude: Face like a slapped arse…”

Dave Golder

Switch airs on Mondays at 10pm on ITV2

• Read our other Switch reviews .

Switch Interview: Caroline Quentin
Switch Interview: Nina Toussaint-White
Switch Interview: Lacey Turner

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.