This was the first episode that I fully enjoyed.
I fully enjoyed this episode due to the fact that the shift that I asked for in the previous review is finally happening. Rather than focusing primarily on cultural stereotypes and cliches, this episode focused on character development and building bonds.
I quite enjoyed the interaction between Mariam and Jack, especially as they are both being drawn to each other, due to their shared love of baking and being under appreciated by their spouses. I found the ANZAC biscuits and Baklava metaphor for their friendship very cheesy and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the merging of these culturally important desserts, however I’ll give them points for being original. It was also a nice touch to have Jack’s friendly interactions with Toufic tie in with his interactions with Mariam.
I also enjoyed the power play between Olivia and Fou Fou. Rather than continue the forced, cliched and cringeworthy interactions we have seen in previous episodes, the writers have chosen to have these two alphas battle it out over bathroom tiles. This choice shows the strengths, flaws and humanity in both characters. Fou Fou standing up to Olivia both in the bathroom and at the end of their plot, as well as Olivia showing brief moments of humanity, by reluctantly helping Fou Fou with his itchy spot with a “back massager”, were definite highlights.
Elias’ and Phoebe’s decision to move in together was a highlight and is clearly a set up for a story arc to conclude the series. I found it funny, however I couldn’t get past the continuity error of Toufic, Jahesh and Layla showing up at their place to hide (how did they find out about it?).
I didn’t enjoy the Cabab-Ab story. I think it was perpetuating stereotypes even more than the show already has. Not to mention the interaction between the rivals was amusing, but mostly cheesy and not worked on enough. However I liked its conclusion with the rivals ultimately being mummy’s boys and Mariam threatening to make those fearsome phone calls to their mothers.
The Layla subplot of sneaking off to a party and getting drunk was really a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it plot and didn’t serve the rest of the episode. I didn’t see the need to include it.
Overall this episode shows promise for Here Come the Habibs with its slightly improved writing and character development. I’m looking forward to viewing the final two episodes.