Eden: Paradise Lost (Channel 4) episode three: too many mugs

eden rob.PNGGiven the horrors of episode two, some viewers may have been left wondering why the first episode of this series was almost completely dedicated to Anton, the self-sufficient boatman who at first glace seems to have little to do with the gender war that’s being played out in the main camp.

But Anton has everything to do with it, as the sly editing of this episode makes plain. It’s now been four months, and while Anton and Raph’s winter shelter (“Raphton Towers”) has all mod cons, the cabin of cameraman Oli doesn’t even have walls. It turns out that despite being a man, he’s shit at chopping down trees. If I was in charge, he would not earn any exemption from dish-washing duties. Anton, on the other hand, is amazing at chopping down trees. Cut to a scene of Oli reading out a list of petty grievances against Anton – you don’t need a degree in Gender Studies to draw the dots here. With Rachel no longer around to boost Oli’s ego, it seems he has a bit of time on his soft, weak hands.

Raph is unafraid to tell Oli what he thinks of him – indeed, he’s happy to tell him directly to the camera Oli is holding. Initially, Rob Not The Vet seems like the voice of grown-up reason, proposing a community vote on whether Anton should be evicted. The only problem with this democracy-based plan is that not everyone is consumed with envy of Anton.

If they don’t envy Anton, maybe they can be made to fear him? Maybe someone can mock up a poster featuring a swarm of axe-wielding Antons plus the words “Breaking Point” in big red letters?  Oh wait, no, that won’t be necessary – instead they’re just going to try and goad him into punching someone.

I enjoyed Raph’s touching description of his and Anton’s friendship, especially his admission that his first thought on meeting him in the real world would be: “This geezer’s a dick”. I note from my early blogs that I considered him an utter balloon, but I’m firmly Team Anton now.

Stephen the chef is bang on the money when discussing how the debate about Anton’s actions was manipulated – perhaps because he was also on the receiving end of an attack by Rob, who avoided similar sanctioning thanks to his status as a group insider. And if I recall correctly the other Rob (the weepy vet who’s since grown a magnificent bouffant) at one point threatened to kill Stephen for making Katie cry.

There are howls of what sound like genuine outrage when it’s suggested the whole Rob v Anton bust-up was contrived. Anton and Raph might just be perceptive, but I can’t help think Stephen might have tipped them the nod. The chef’s status in Eden seems secure, and he’s becoming increasingly confident about challenging the groupthink. He’s my one to watch for the rest of the show.

BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND!

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

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