Eden: Paradise Lost (Channel 4) episode two: locker-room talk

eden rachel.PNGNO-ONE who watched – and properly remembers – the first series of Eden should be surprised by the turn things take in this episode, but I can’t get too exercised about dumb plumber Titch’s “boy jobs and girl jobs” ranting.

I don’t doubt that the men, as a group, were more efficient when it came to chopping down trees, especially when hunger kicked in. Everyone in Eden was selected for their skills, and while no-one was designated chief dish-washer it probably made sense that someone who was engaged in hard labour all day should be exempted from that rota.

I’m more interested in the reason why food rationing was so tight. Remember, the ringleader men’s plan was to starve those they regarded as unproductive off the project. The man in charge of rationing was military man Jack, and he seemed more than happy to sit back and set the likes of Titch set the women straight.

Frustratingly, we’re given no information about why so many women left so early. Yes, the men seem awful company based on this 45-minute episode, but it was surely a chicken-and-egg situation. The departure of each woman seemed to bring the core group closer together, and the most important omission is any sort of update on the romantic relationships that were formed in those early months.

Stephen’s squeeze Jasmine is gone, and for a while I thought Caroline (fancied by Glenn, snogged by Titch) had left too. Katie and Rob The Vet are both still there, but it’s not clear if they’re still loved up.

On one hand I can understand why the programme-makers have neglected to update us – this isn’t Love Island, after all, it’s a Serious Social Experiment – but the personal is political and it’s worth bearing in mind that Glenn came across as an amiable chap until Caroline rejected him. As Katie notes: “One by one the boys lost their motivation for being kinder, more gentle, more thoughtful – they had no-one to behave themselves for”.

“How do you feel about anal, Jane?” asked Rob Not The Vet during an exchange in which five men discussed which women they would choose to have sex with. This behaviour was a “coping mechanism” of the group, explains Jack, apparently not considering that the women might not be coping particularly well.

There is another storyline about unrequited love, but it’s a bit less dramatic. Rebuffed by cameraman Oli, gardener Rachel apparently neglects her duties then contrives a reason to quit Eden. Some viewers perceived that he led her on, but I’m a bit more forgiving. If, as he says, he made it clear he wasn’t interested, I don’t think the odd cuddle here and there was such a crime. But perhaps Rachel was Oli’s motivation to be kind…

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

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