Published on November 5th, 2014 | by SgtKaiju0
VGHS – Video Game Home School – Review
Damn son, right in the feels…. SPOILERS AHEAD
Well, that was a hell of a turn up for books. VGHS has often been criticized for being lightweight, for being a nice fluffy web-series trading some some kickass effects to skirt over the weaker script and acting. Hells, I’ve accused it of that whilst reviewing this very series, but these weeks episode turned all of that on it’s head.
The episode opens up with the fallout of last week, with Jenny and Brian broken-up and not talking, Ted and Ki broken-up and not talking, Ted and Brian not talking and Ki having run away from school. Quite a mess. Ki has run back to her parents house (both her parents are wonderful eccentric and loving at the same time). Soon the rest of the gang turn up and are forced into a board game called Couples Counselling to try to help them overcome the issues that have so very clearly torn them apart. Lots of unspoken and hidden things come to light (Ted and Jenny hooked up!) and we the main gang are forced to confront some the uglier sides of their lives recently. But then the whole episode is turned on it’s head with the news of the death of Ted father, Freddie Wong.
The episode then switches to an exploration of grief, of Ted dealing with (or not dealing with it turns out) the news and how the gang around his adjust. We see Jenny & Brian rekindle their romance, something that inspires Ki to try the same with Ted, however unsuccessfully. Finally, after a lot of denial and obstruction, Ted comes to the acceptance of his father’s massive failings and his demise.
If one wanted to point to a single moment at which VGHS grew-up, this episode would be it. The groundwork they have laid this season, dealing with more adult themes (sex, betrayal, morals) all come to head here. The death of Freddie Wong is handled so well, with no attempt to reform his character postmortem or give him a redeeming feature. The Swan’s show exactly how they raised a well-adjusted daughter like Ki and even the framing of the board-game feels real.
All props must go to Jimmy Wong for his portrayal this episode, he handles the mood-swings and denial with grace and reveals the talent he seems to be hiding under the slapstick the rest of the season. In addition Brian, Jenny and the Swan’s all shine here, with subtle and measured performances that lift the episode from standard fun VGHS fare into something else. The only real bumnote is that of Ki Swan. Her usual perky and comedic personality works great in most episodes, but seems to jar with the more sombre tone of this installment.
All in all, not only a great episode of VGHS but a great episode of television full stop.