Keeping Faith, series 2 episode 2, review: Is this the best juggling act on TV?

Plenty of pluck: Eve Myles (left) means business as Faith Howells in the BBC drama - 2
Plenty of pluck: Eve Myles (left) means business as Faith Howells in the BBC drama - 2

No one could accuse Keeping Faith (BBC One) of letting the grass grow under its feet. Having spent the first episode untangling series one and setting up the murder storyline for series two, we jumped straight into the courtroom. There, small-town solicitor Faith Howells (Eve Myles) and her colleague Cerys Jones (Hannah Daniel) were defending Madlen Vaughan (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), accused of murdering her husband. Like everything else in this series it was bish, bash, bosh. All they had to do was get the case notes couriered to them (stylishly picked up like a drug-drop in a lay-by) and, stilettos at the ready, they were marching into court.

They were at a bit of a disadvantage in never having acted as counsel in a murder trial before, but they had plenty of pluck. And Faith didn’t let the snooty QC prosecuting get away with anything; not when he had the temerity to patronise her by using her forename, or when he tried to slip some dodgy points of procedure past the judge. She even skewered her sneaky father-in-law Tom (Aneirin Hughes) when he gave evidence against Madlen. Unfortunately, Faith then went and shot a torpedo into her own bows by encouraging a witness to reveal the one thing the prosecution were lacking – a “compelling motive”. Ho-hum, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Eve Myles as Faith Howells - Credit: Rory Taylor
Eve Myles as Faith Howells Credit: Rory Taylor

Meanwhile, Faith’s weird husband Evan (Bradley Freegard) was up to no good, getting himself stealthily transferred to an open prison. And what a cushy spot it was: inmates wandering around with axes (to chop a bit of firewood, apparently) and free to go sit by the lake or take a wander in the woods whenever they fancied. Which made it easier to have furtive conversations with the likes of DI Breeze (Rhashan Stone), who now has his eye on bringing Faith down, too, for her dodgy doings with gangster Gael Reardon. And Evan seemed happy to go along with it.

Of course, Keeping Faith is as much about emotion as it is about plot, and there was plenty of that flying around. It’s mostly focused on the children still, but also on Faith’s will-they-won’t-they flirtathon with Steve Baldidni (Mark Lewis Jones) – which looks like coming to a head. How she can even think about it, when she’s already got so many other balls in the air, is anybody’s guess. But then that’s one of the big appeals of this series – waiting to see if there’s anything Faith can’t cope with, come what may.