Episode 2 of It’s A Sin begins on the Isle Of Wight in December 1983. Jill and Ritchie are up singing together on stage. Only, Ritchie is distracted by the barman and keeps throwing glances at him.
The family however, continue to simmer in tension as Ritchie’s Father throws shade at his son’s career choices. It’s a brief scene though, one that ends with Ritchie and the barman kissing down by the shore. However, this man changes his mind and decides not to sleep with Ritchie, especially given what’s been happening in America. And just like that, they go their separate ways.
We then jump forward to 1984 as Roscoe dresses himself up in a dapper suit and prepares to attend his sister’s marriage. Despite 3 years passing, there’s still bad blood there and eventually Roscoe puts his make-up on and leaves, especially given the scowls from his Father who’s lurking around outside.
Meanwhile, Colin heads to work and learns he’s being sent to New York with his boss, Mr Hart. Colin is a little hesitant but when his friends find out where he’s going, they joke and tell him not to sleep with anyone there. Despite the initial concerns, Ritchie and the others ignore the warning signs for AIDs and poke fun at all the different theories surrounding its origin.
Jill’s friend Gloria disappears though and fails to show at their upcoming party. Even worse, he’s not working onboard the red bus he’s usually conducting either. Later that evening though, she receives a call from Gloria in secret. He wants her to go shopping and is held up at home after being taken ill. Thanks to the questionnaire he was given by his doctor, he believes he may have AIDS.
Gloria worries that this could jeopardize everything and wants Jill to keep this a secret. For now, she agrees to do just this while helping out around the apartment. She helps clean and cook for him but also scrubs herself thoroughly in the shower just in case it’s contagious.
Well, Gloria eventually rocks up and shows with the other boys at the apartment. Jill is obviously concerned, especially when she spies him drinking out of Ritchie’s infamous pink mug. Alarm bells ring for Jill and she smashes the cup with a hammer that night.
After getting nowhere with her doctor, Jill asks Colin about AIDS and pleads with him to visit the bookstores in America. Colin stashes the £20 she’s given him and heads off to the Big Apple.
Colin gets settled in and heads out to grab some newspapers, intending to learn more about AIDS and what’s going on. Mr Hart rocks up with a bottle of wine though and makes himself at home. Only, things take a turn for the worst when Mr Hart notices the newspapers tucked in the bedside cabinet. Thinking twice, he eventually leaves the room.
Meanwhile, Roscoe visits his sister who now has a little girl called Stellar. It also turns out his Dad is heading back to Africa but she believes it’s because of what happened between them as kids. Roscoe can only scoff at the idea.
Jill shows up at Gloria’s house but finds him struggling, lying on the sofa clutching his stomach. His parents are there and they’re intending to take him back home. Jill struggles to swallow this news and heads back to the flat to tell the others Gloria has gone home.
As they all nonchalantly talk about sex, Jill begins feeling apprehensive and warns them about the disease spreading. She tells them all to get smart and leaves the boys sitting round the table to stew over her words.
Jill sends a letter to Gloria in the post while Colin finds out he’s not employed anymore. The apprenticeship is over and they won’t be offering him a contract. Of course, this is all because of the newspapers and the “threat” to Mr Hart that Colin may be gay. It’s not explicitly told but it’s a classic case of show don’t tell.
Instead, Colin winds up with another office job while Jill, tellingly, winds up talking to a different group of people at the pub away from her homosexual friends. As the episode closes out, we cut to Glasgow as we see all of Gloria’s things being burned.
The Episode Review
It’s A Sin returns with another very good episode, one that deepens the character ties and starts to show the distinct homophobia that’s plaguing the streets in the early 80’s. Of course, there’s also the fear of AIDS which is starting to grow now, adding to a mini-series that’s starting to crank up the tension and show just how devastating and scary this disease actually is.
“Show don’t tell” is something I’ve said a lot in previous recaps for a litany of other shows but here it truly is an example of how – when used correctly – it can produce some of the best material this medium can come up with. We don’t need to be told Gloria/Gregory has passed away – we just know. We don’t need to be told Colin has been sacked for his sexual orientation – the disapproving glances in New York are enough.
These moments are perfect examples of when this show gets it right and it’s thankfully backed up by a tightly written script and some gorgeous stylish ticks, including neon lights and a nice fourth-wall breaking montage.
The ending looks like this show is about to take a turn for the poignant. Roll on the next episode!