Eden: Paradise Lost (Channel 4) episode one: Glexit

Eden’s back at last! Five new episodes, all to be screened in one week. I hate this modern broadcasting trend, which presumes viewers lack the attention span to wait a week (and have nothing better to do with their weekday evenings). If these episodes are anything like the first four, there will be an awful lot to digest.

The unhappy campers didn’t have much to digest in the early months, after alpha knob Jack decided the starter food supplies should be rationed out over the entire year and their initial fishing expeditions ended in failure. Then, no sooner had they struck the mackerel jackpot than their boat was gubbed in mysterious circumstances.

The last time we saw Glenn and Tom they were conspiring for starve the women out of Eden – so it was a shock twist when the pair announced they were walking out themselves. I’d read about the show’s many quitters (and returners), but would not have bet on this pair being among them, let alone in the first four (the other two were Tara the masseuse, who we got to know well, and an older chap I didn’t recognise).

If the first four episodes taught us anything, it’s surely that a characterisation of Anton as camp villain does not capture the complexity of the group dynamics. Here we see him isolating himself from the rest of the group, doing unapproved woodwork and stealing apricots – but only one of these actions is actually prohibited. He might have been suspected of destroying the fishing boat in order to legitimise his own boat-restoring efforts, but if those suspicions were correct wouldn’t he have left it for someone else to find?

Anton stayed behind when everyone else marched to the perimeter fence, but I’m not sure that marks him out as a bad guy either. Raph’s wife spoke for us all when he phoned to tell her they’d all walked out of Eden. “Why? What? Wh…?” Indeed. The mutiny was prompted by the surprise return of Glenn, but many questions are left unanswered by the show’s edit. How long was he away for? Where did he go? Did he find out about Brexit before he opted to remain?

“Anton has an agenda” said Glenn before he took his extended huff. Aye, well at least Anton’s agenda isn’t based on extreme right-wing ideology, fuelled by unchecked misogyny. It’s a shame the producers have gone down this deja vu route – as the preview clips show, the real drama is yet to come.

Read my reviews of Eden’s first four episodes.

Watch Eden: Paradise Lost on catch-up (probably UK only, alas)

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