Motherland series three review: immature, nit-ridden – and that’s just the parents

Motherland series three review: immature, nit-ridden – and that’s just the parentsMay 25, 2021

Sharon Horgan’s angry baby is as biting as ever when skewering narcissistic middle-class mums. But it could make its white characters squirm a bit more

• Warning: this is a review of the whole of series three and contains spoilers

The third season of Motherland starts as it means to go on: with an “absolute nitshow”. As an official arrives to brief parents at the state primary school, every unravelling mother in the land will wish she didn’t recognise herself. The nit expert urges parents to comply with the guidelines: “Combing … shampooing … combing again,” which is only marginally less laughable than the government’s “stay alert” slogan it is satirising. But it is not too soon for the pandemic to get the Motherland treatment – if it came in a bottle, it would look, smell and perform precisely like nit shampoo.

Five taut, hilarious and occasionally problematic episodes later, Motherland ends with something less expected – an appearance by Paul, Julia’s perennially absent husband. It is a love scene of sorts, if by love scene you mean a husband and wife who can barely stand each other going to the pub. Partners who are missing in action are a cruel running joke in Motherland. Their absence is part of what makes the mums (plus Kevin) so unhinged, lonely and embittered. This season also includes Kevin’s never-before-seen wife, Jill, constantly disappearing up the loft ladder “like a chinchilla” before asking for a divorce. Never mind, says Kevin. “Intimacy takes many forms, like listening to Radio 4 together while I scrub the hob.” Ha. Also, sob.

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