This episode was again very solid.
The Melbourne Cup is only days away, I loved the writers’ choice to not only have the episode revolve around it but also to subtlely show the time lapse from the beginning of the series (five months).
Shirley’s baby is taking a one step forward only to be knocked two steps back, now that he needs a major operation. Several realities are setting in for Johnny and Shirley—the fact that they are broke, the demands of a premmie baby and the consequences of getting together. I’ve always loved Shirley, however in this episode it’s hard to feel any sympathy for her, especially in regards to the way she treats Colin. Colin is actually becoming a slightly more likeable character, especially when he shows his sympathy towards the baby. His ultimatum at the end of the episode was an obvious outcome, however considering the circumstances you can’t really blame him. Shirley’s decision to go back to him was equally as obvious and it conveniently adds drama for the finale.
I enjoyed the subplot of Martha’s impending birth, especially the birth itself. Only Martha could call a baby a pumpkin and cheer on a Melbourne Cup horse while giving birth, make it humorous and pull it off.
The main highlight of this episode for me was the Matron and Viv subplot. I liked how Matron’s mysterious outings from episode 4 were finally addressed and her background was ultimately revealed. Out of all of the episodes in the season so far, it is this one that she is the most human. I didn’t see the reveal of Chris being Matron’s son coming and I loved how of all people, Viv would be the one she would reveal her past to. I think this is because, out of all of the girls, Viv is the only who hasn’t been afraid to stand up to her. Their last interaction in the episode is a telling sign of an understanding between them and the beginning of a mutually respective relationship, which I’m looking forward to seeing in the future.
As much as I equally love Jessica Marais and Joan, it was refreshing and a welcome change to have her in the background in this episode. At least she was physically due to her impending exam, it was nice and telling to see her dad but not her mum present, especially after she moved out of home without telling them. It was an interesting choice to have her admit to the Annie and Patrick situations and that he supports her. I didn’t agree with her decision to tell Annie about her baby being alive, Annie was just starting to build a life for herself and move on, and Joan has completely knocked it down, without any regard for her feelings and life. I know it’s a moral gray area, but if it was me, I would not have told her, but if Joan didn’t, there would be no drama for the finale or a show at all.
I liked the writers’ choice to have Joan confront Patrick at the end of the episode, to set up the conclusion of the plot in the finale.