Ah, the madwoman-in-the-attic trope – our Christmas gift from the self-proclaimed “Valley Boys” of Eden.
“She’s absolutely fucking gaga mate,” says dickhead number one, after a clip of Katie talking to a goat. “Aw mate, she’s fucking batshit crazy,” replies dickhead number two. “I had a dream last night that she threw a knife at me,” says someone. I DO HOPE THE PRODUCERS CALLED THE DREAM POLICE, MATE.
The narrator seems hesitant to specify whether Oli was part of this group, but the cameraman seems to confirm it when he says: “The longer that Katie’s here, [she] makes us feel bad about being us, where there is no reason for us to feel bad about being us”.
Aye mates, Katie’s the problem. Without her getting drunk and calling you all arseholes on Christmas Day the viewers would have no idea you were anything other than boys being boys. If this edit shows anyone in a bad light it’s because she provoked you, the witch. Where did she get all that detailed bushcraft knowledge from anyway? Why does she think she care cure lame animals? Suspect. She even underlines words on a blackboard of instructions, which everyone knows is basically equivalent to tattooing 666 on one’s forehead. She needs getting rid of. For her own good, mates.
Of course, Katie’s not actually in an attic – she’s in the Rabbit Hole, the charming little home she built with Rob, the boyfriend we were led to think abandoned her in the night in the previous episode. This made for a dramatic moment, but then there was mention of him having only disappeared for a few hours, so I suspect they did in fact say their goodbyes. Perhaps this wasn’t shown because it involved Rob promising to deliver presents and love letters to her for the remaining months.
Contraband is the main theme of this finale, and yet another reason why sticking to the original broadcast schedule would have compromised the project. It’s not made clear how the chocolate, whisky, tobacco and other luxuries got in (Over the fence? By sea? Via drone?) but once there was a phone in the camp it was easy to send messages out. I imagine many of the participants’ relatives were in contact with each other, thanks to the power of social media, so the potential reach of one call was huge. In all my brain-wracking about the reason for Eden going off-air, this scenario did not occur to me. D’oh!
It’s fascinating to hear the Valley Boys talk about the phone – or rather, talk about the possible existence of a hypothetical phone. I couldn’t fathom why they didn’t just present it, destroyed, to the group until Titch explained. He didn’t want the phone to be seen on camera, mate, because then when his mates watched the show they’d know he wasn’t a tough guys who eat meat all day, mate, and stabs himself in the hand for fun. But remember it’s Katie who’s the dangerously mad one, mate, not Titch, or Glenn, or Jack.
I don’t really care about the luxuries. This wasn’t really a show about survival, and while having contraband from the beginning would have distorted the way the community operated, by the time it was flowing in freely the two tribes were already established and the Valley Boys had confirmed their hard-right credentials. It’s interesting to ponder how differently things might have turned out for Anton if someone had dropped a big bag of apricots into Raphton Towers a few months earlier.
Unsurprisingly, this finale left me wanting more. I wanted to know who was the last person seen at the Rabbit hole before it mysteriously burned down just before the end of the project. And I would happily watch a full hour devoted to the “where are they now?” snippets that flashed up at the end (I was utterly aghast to learn that Stephen was living with Titch) and offering the participants the chance to respond to the public’s reactions to the show. I do feel some sympathy for Glenn, who has emerged as arch villain of the piece despite the fact that at all times he was doing Jack’s bidding. The scene in which he express delight at spending Christmas with his dear leader, and Jack makes clear the feeling isn’t mutual, is very sad.
Apparently Jack is now a teetotal vegetarian – but I’m calling bullshit. I reckon that “update” is yet another attempt by this obnoxious individual to manipulate how he is perceived, implying as it does that he has learned from the Eden experience and evolved as a person as a result. A quick look at Twitter, on which there was overwhelming and heartening support for Anton and Raph in the middle of the week, suggests the viewers have singled out Glenn as the worst offender among the last men standing. But was he really the worst, or just the most naive?
UPDATE: Not content with painting Katie as a mad witch while in Eden, Glenn decided to sell a story to the Daily Mail insisting she was a snake. A real snake.
Watch Eden on catch-up (probably UK only, alas)