Review: The Politician's Husband - Episode 3
Read our review of the final part of The Politician's Husband below. Please be aware that it contains spoilers for the episode.
The three part drama series The Politician’s Husband concluded tonight in a turmoil of twists, ingenious plotting, tragedy and betrayal worthy of a Shakespearean play, drawing fine performances from the entire cast despite enduring some unlikely circumstances and some even more unlikely dialogue.
Still smarting from the twin betrayal by his wife and his best friend, Aiden Hoynes (David Tennant) now suspects that Bruce Babbish (Ed Stoppard) is not only his political rival but his love rival. However, before he has time to put his sharp intelligence towards a new scheme to topple his opponent, another obstacle is thrown into his path. Au pair Dita (Anamaria Marinca), whose amorous advances Aiden rejected last week, has spitefully packed her bags, left the family in the lurch and gone running off to sell her story of ‘Aiden Hoynes, Sex Pest’ to the tabloids. The family are besieged and Aiden’s political rivals rub their hands in glee at the sight of him squirming under yet another assault. Surprisingly it is the greatly wronged and abused Freya (Emily Watson) who stands by him and proclaims his innocence. Indeed even when Bruce makes a very predictable move on Freya, she still remains loyal to her husband.
It’s all too much for Noah (Oscar Kennedy), the Hoynes’ son, whose Asperger syndrome makes it difficult for him to cope with the changes and the disruption and the constant arguments. He explodes into a challenging episode at school, lashing out at people and property in an effort to express his feelings and regain control. Aiden is reminded of the implications of being the parent of a child on the autistic spectrum, how his son’s life is so different to the lives of his peers, and how he feels he will never be able to understand the world as seen through Noah’s eyes. A failure in his career, he now feels he has failed as a parent too. He is trying though, in his awkward way, to conform to Noah’s rituals and requirements and to explain things that the boy struggles to work out. However, when Aiden suspects that Freya has spent an adulterous evening with Bruce, he too, feeling control slipping even further from him, explodes with rage and frustration, tearing apart the marital bed. His solution for regaining the upper hand is convoluted but ultimately damaging in ways he cannot have conceived.
Aiden seizes on the event of his speech during the Party Funding Debate to distract and frame Bruce. However, he barely has time to enjoy a cosy drink with the Chief Whip Marcus Brock (Roger Allam) before the whole scheme has blown up in his face. A moment’s carelessness has revealed his plot to Freya and confronted with the evidence he cannot hide from her that he has resented her betrayal and her success and intended to ruin her career too. He wants things back the way they were, but Freya can’t compromise now that she has had her own taste of power. “There’s only ever been room for you at the top table” she sneers at him as she knocks the wind out of his sails: their marriage, which has been falling apart ever since Freya accepted the cabinet position, finally crumbles away. It’s a cleverly written and beautifully played scene: the viewer can almost see the power as a tangible thing, slipping from the triumphant Aiden back to the outraged and determined Freya. Then tragically, Aiden’s one loyal supporter, his father Joe (Jack Shepherd) who has stood by him through the whole of his career, turns upon him moments before his own tragic and sudden death. Aiden may have regained his lost power and become accepted politically once more but in doing so he has become isolated domestically.
There are two closing twists. In the first Noah suddenly displays empathy towards his father and tries to offer him some comfort after Joe’s funeral. It isn’t much but it is a kernel of hope that Aiden’s attempts to bond with his son have not been wasted and they could in the future have some sort of a meaningful relationship.
The closing scene reveals another twist. The Hoynes, united once more, step up to the door of
Downing Street to take office. But it seems that
Freya never relented, never compromised and held firm to what she knew to be
her right. To Aiden’s chagrin she has won the top job, and he has to serve as
her deputy. As it was three episodes ago, the coveted Prime Minister role remains
tantalisingly just out of his reach. However, the cost to him personally has
been unimaginable. If there is one lesson to be learned it’s to be careful what
you wish for.
The Politician's Husband is released on DVD on Monday 13th May. Pre-order your copy here