Photo Courtesy of the BBC and CBC.

BBC Ghosts Season 2 Episode 4 Review: “The Thomas Thorne Affair”

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 2 Episode 4, “The Thomas Thorne Affair,” is another poignant example of character development for a ghostly Button House resident. Thomas (Mathew Baynton) has always been an enigma. Giving him the chance to grow feels like the right choice. This new dimension to this character also adds to the ensemble overall. The trend of focusing on each individual ghost makes the series that much more lovable.

In many ways, Thomas has served as an antihero of sorts within this story. He continues to be the definition of “too much”. His misplaced affections and overt advances could easily grow tiresome in a less well-defined character. Happily, this complexity is handled well without excusing his advances. Shining a spotlight on Thomas’ life provides a broader context to appreciate how this poet came to be.

The fact that this episode gives Thomas an episode not just to explain himself but to make a new choice just makes this character easier to cheer for. It’s quite heartbreaking to watch his story unfold. Watching his vast capacity for love taken advantage of in such a brutal way is crushing. It’s easy to believe that such a sensitive, overly emotional soul could be taken advantage of in this way. It makes it no less heartbreaking to see him have to deal with the fatal consequences. 

BBC Ghosts Season 2 Episode 4, “The Thomas Thorne Affair,” also further develops Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike’s (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) relationship in a really endearing way. Throughout the series so far, they’ve established the fact that they are in a relationship that’s worth investing in. The humour of their story here only emphasizes how heartwarming it is to see how they embody a millennial relationship so perfectly. 

Mike’s side story is as sweet as it is poignant. He’s truly given a chance to shine as he spirals out of control when confronted with the fact that he wasn’t necessarily Alison’s first love. His descent into the chaos of his own mind is charmingly relatable. His insecurities just make him even easier to love since he uses them to get closer to Alison and deepen their relationship. 

Finally, this episode also further establishes this ensemble through the lens of one character’s story. The fact that they are able to rally around Thomas, regardless of their personal feelings for him, demonstrates how strong the ensemble is. That he serves as such a kind of unifying force among the ghosts proves that he’s an indispensable part of the Button House family. His wide range of emotions has the paradoxical effect of pulling everyone together. 

BBC Ghosts proves yet again that each of these ghosts is worth investing in. Even the most seemingly unlikable characters have something to them. This episode is a perfect way to take Thomas in a new direction and give him a chance to reckon with his life and death. It’s evident that the series knows what makes it special. By sticking to its heart and soul, the stories of the ghosts, the series continues to shine. 

Stray Spooky Thoughts:

-It’s so charming and hilarious watching the ghosts play games to pass the time. This only adds to their humanity.  

-It’s always great to hear the story of Button House get more fleshed out. From the beginning of this series, it’s been clear that there are many stories within these walls. 

-Who knew Humphrey’s head could be so instrumental in uncovering the truth? This episode is a sweet way to give this character more things to do. Humphrey is clearly more than just a pretty face.

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

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