Let The Psychological Games Begin
Cheat returns with another slice of ITV drama as the psychological games begin. As the dynamic between Leah and Rose intensifies, a rift begins to grow in Leah’s marriage, causing all kinds of havoc as Rose capitalizes on the chaos.
We begin with Leah breaking into Rose’s room after receiving a flower and a note she interprets as a taunt. When she fails to find evidence of the cat’s collar in her room, she talks through her options with Adam who’s convinced his wife isn’t thinking clearly and using it as a distraction for their marriage issues.
When Rose returns to her room, she sees a yellow petal on the ground and instantly knows Leah has been there. After receiving pictures to back up her claims, thanks to some swift manipulation, we cut back to Leah who’s lost her engagement ring. Instead, its been replaced in her bag with the petal she left in Rose’s room.
Before we get time to ponder over what happened, we’re shown Rose wearing her engagement ring at a party. After trying to snatch it off her, it turns out it’s just a ring that looks like hers and the real one is in a box in Rose’s room. This causes the rift between Adam and Leah to grow wider as Leah goes and stays at her Mum’s.
It’s at this point Adam decides to go to the open mic night with Rose while Leah is away. After getting pretty drunk, a provocative texting exchange between the two results in some pictures being sent which Rose inevitably forwards straight on to Leah. Ignoring the most obvious question over how she even got their phone numbers in the first place, we leave the episode with Leah visibly shaken as they begin Rose’s review with the images still fresh in her mind.
For the most part, Cheat continues the psychological charade brought forward from the first episode but the incessant need to spell everything out for us and leave little room for a mystery to grow really hurts the appeal of the show. Both episodes thus far have raised interesting questions that have been answered almost straight away in the same episode. It really offsets the dramatic weight or mystery that stews in the background and this is only further exacerbated by the time jumps too.
Still, there’s another two episodes to go here and there’s still time to turn it around. It’s not the worst drama out there but it’s certainly a far cry from ITV’s last effort, Manhunt. Given we already know the outcome of the story, it’s more about slotting the pieces of the puzzle together now. Unless Cheat pulls it out the bag with an almighty plot twist, this looks like it’s going to be closer to the caliber of Liar which is a real shame.