Rain Dogs – Season 1 Episode 1 “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” Recap & Review

“It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City”

Iris and her mother, Costello, prepare hurriedly to leave their rented apartment. A Bailiff pounds at the door, asking Costello Jones to settle her tenancy debt of three grand with the landlord. Costello has no intentions of paying it and only leaves with Iris through the front door after she has finished packing all the stuff. The mother-daughter duo is currently homeless. Florian Selby is Costello’s best friend but cannot come to meet them as he is being released from jail that day after a year. He has a photo of Iris and loves her like his own daughter.

Selby is gay and belongs to a privileged household. His mother, Allegra, has lost all hope in him but still takes care of him. We meet certain people in Costello’s life throughout the episode, the first being Shady, a kind-hearted front desk man for a laundromat. Costello has hit 99 days sober that day and is proud of that fact. She rushes in a cab with Iris to drop her at school. But with no money, she flunks the cab without paying and even apologizes for her indiscretion. Costello heads over to Gloria’s house. From what we can infer, she is Costello’s dear friend but faces similar problems.

She has a home and a car, though, which Costello finds parked outside. Gloria is woken up by Lenny, an old friend of Costello’s in a telephone booth. Gloria passed out in there drunk from her previous night out. Selby sees Iris at school, despite Costello’s wishes he would not. He gives iris 100 quid but tells her not to inform her mother. Nikki, the front desk woman at the locality’s grocery store, makes snide remarks at Costello for leaving without paying rent. Brent, a decent-looking man in the line-up, offers a helping hand. He says Costello and Iris can live rent-free with him in his studio apartment.

We learn that Costello does part-time stripping jobs at the Flesh Pot as well. Konstantin, its owner, refuses to entertain her since she missed her shift last night and he lost money. Costello meets up with Selby, who pleasures a man through a large sized peephole in a public restroom for money, even though he does not need it. Through the conversation, Costello’s efforts to make a career in writing are also revealed. Selby and Costello are best friends and he lends her money. She checks out Brett’s apartment but thinks it is too small.

The Homeless website set up by the government does not seem to offer a viable alternative for her. She picks up Iris and goes to Gloria’s house but she isn’t there at that time either. Selby plays Mah-jong in Chinatown and meets up with an old acquaintance, although we cannot catch his name. He wins a handsome amount of money at a game he is an expert at playing. Costello is warned by Shady not to spend the night at the laundromat as the desk is unmanned and it is dangerous. She breaks into Gloria’s car with Iris.

Iris reveals the money Selby gave her and Gloria instantly rushes to the store and buys scratch cards from Nikki. She also gives the duo old sandwiches from the morning. In the hopes of winning a big amount, Costello blows all the money and they end up at Brett’s house. After Iris is put to sleep, Brett mischievously asks Costello to put on a nighty. She reluctantly does so, with no other option. Brett strips himself and gets under the cover, at which point Costello goes into the cupboard where Iris is sleeping and calls Selby.

Selby waltzes in and threatens Brett with a steel pipe. He almost has an altercation with Costello but she manages it well. Selby picks up Iris and they head towards her previous apartment. They break the door and Selby gives Costello the amount owed as rent debt. By the time they reach there, it is midnight and Costello has been sober a hundred days. Iris says she is proud of her mother when the police start knocking again at the door and Costello gets in defensive mode.

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of Rain Dogs introduced us to the struggles of Costello Jones, a single mother on the brink of homeless barely meeting ends. The show promises to be a hard-hitting indictment of Britain’s social welfare system with moments of light-hearted comedy. The characters introduced to us are unmistakably British and we can expect to see the familiar. In Florian Selby and Costello, the makers have a unique opportunity to exploit the contrast and make a telling statement along the themes of class divide.

Right now, the central conceit remains how Costello can get back up on her feet. Even though we did not meet Gloria in this episode too much, expect her to play a vital part. Costello and iris are going to need a lot of support and the barometer of kindness will be heavily tested. There will be bumps like Brett who would want to take advantage but Rain Dogs promises to be a pleasant ride of realizations and epiphanies.

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