Photo Courtesy of the BBC and CBC.

BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 2 Review: “Gorilla War”

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labour of the actors and other creatives involved in the project(s) mentioned here, Pages and Pictures would not exist. Pages and Pictures stands firmly behind SAG-AFTRA members as they fight for fair labour conditions. 

BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 2, “Gorilla War,” continues the world-building established in the series premiere. The continued development of this ensemble just makes them all the more lovable. Aspects of these characters’ personalities are starting to emerge. The fact that this second episode continues to lean into the series’ lovably chaotic premise just makes it easier to invest in.

This episode puts the spotlight squarely on Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and her journey to process her new ability. It’s a testament to the story so far that this character is allowed to go through this process just makes her easier to root for. Taking this time and care to follow this character adjusting to a massive change in her life, ensures that this character is able to further develop and grow. 

This episode also kicks off a new dynamic between the living characters and the ghosts. The fact that each of them wants different things and has different approaches to their new reality is very telling. Each of their wants illustrates the ghosts’ respective characters. The fact that some ghosts just want connection is both heartwarming and oddly heartbreaking, as it’s clear how this is something they’ve all been looking for in their own way. 

BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 2, “Gorilla War,” also continues to build the world of Button House. Seeing the once-towering mansion through modern eyes makes it easier to appreciate. Including the fact that there’s a full plague pit underneath the basement with its own society just adds to the lore in a really fun and creepy way. Details like this further develop the estate itself as a character within this story.

It’s also interesting to see the division that exists between the ghosts, as they have been stuck with one another for so many years. Getting an inside look at all of their petty squabbles actually makes the ensemble that much more cohesive. It doesn’t require a massive stretch of the imagination to believe that ghosts trapped in an afterlife together day after day, year after year, would naturally go against one another at least fairly frequently. 

Finally, Julien (Simon Farnaby), while still showing that he’s objectively one of Button House’s worst ghosts, clearly has an intriguing story. He’s already established the fact that he was a terrible person in life. It is interesting to see how he is starting to develop as a character who is easy to root against, but is no less fascinating to watch, His repulsive nature makes him a necessary part of this chaos. 

BBC Ghosts continues to lean into its charmingly ridiculous premise with solid results. The character and world building continue to make this series worth investing in, right from the beginning. The fact that this is just the beginning is a promising testament to all the places this series can go. Only time will tell if it can live up to its potential. 

Stray Spooky Thoughts:

-Pat (Jim Howick) is just the gem of the ghosts. There’s such a tangible sweetness about this character. Anyone would be lucky to have him as a ghostly tour guide. 

-Everyone’s disgust with Thomas (Mathew Baynton) is hilarious. This is a unifying feeling for the ghosts, even as they disagree on their approach to Alison and Mike. 

-Mike’s (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) continued support in the face of Alison’s new situation just makes him so incredibly lovable. We should all be so lucky to have a partner with such an innate ability to go with the flow and exhibit such radical acceptance of all of our quirks.

BBC Ghosts Seasons 1-5 are available to Stream on CBC Gem. 

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