After what many would agree has been a dull and somewhat frustrating third season of Queer As Folk, the show finally returns to form in the last few episodes of the series.

I must admit to being so disheartened with QAF recently that I nearly swore off it for life. The relationships between the characters, especially Mikey and Ben, had become boring and predictable, and the plot twist of Emmett and Ted making the transition from friends to lovers just didn’t seem to work. But at last things are getting interesting, and we finally get to see some decent character development.

Mikey (Hal Sparks) and Ben (Robert Gant) take in 16-year-old street kid Hunter (Harris Allan), who is a prostitute and HIV-positive. At first the boys have a tough time keeping Hunter on the straight and narrow, but he soon warms to his two new dads and decides to clean up his act and go to school. The three of them become a happy little family, until Hunter’s abusive mum arrives on their doorstep and demands custody.

But Mikey and Ben aren’t willing to let him go without a fight.

Meanwhile there’s trouble in paradise for Ted (Scott Lowell) and Emmett (Peter Paige). Ted’s use of crystal turns into a life-threatening addiction, and when Emmett tries to help him Ted reacts angrily and kicks him out of their home. Things get a whole lot worse for Ted after a terrifying incident at a drug orgy. While some viewers will consider the show’s handling of the issue of crystal abuse a little heavy-handed, the portrayal of the effects of this drug are frighteningly real and very timely, considering crystal’s recent surge in popularity amongst gay communities around the world.

We also get to see a different side to Brian (Gale Harold) when this usually unlikeable character risks everything to investigate the murder of young gay hustler and to bring down the politician who tried to cover it up. In a sense the final episode sees the redemption of Brian Kinney, and isn’t to be missed.

So it seems the QAF writers have saved the best for last. Fans will be pleased to know the fourth season of the show is coming to SBS in late 2004/early 2005, and season five is already on the drawing board.

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