I saw this finale two years ago when it was aired and I was glad to hear at the time that there would be a season 2, because I constantly wondered throughout the season how everything would be wrapped up in eight episodes.
This episode did its job as a finale–it wrapped up the plots of the first season and opened up the door for the second. The job was done beautifully. Joan has passed her exam, Martha’s baby was adopted out by loving parents, both Annie and Eva find out the truth, Ben is operated on and we finally meet the mysterious Robert.
Gracie Gilbert’s performance was again spectacular as the unhinged mother. While throughout the season you sympathise with Annie, in this episode it was hard to sympathise with her, especially as her plot progressed. It was awfully convenient for both the McNaughton’s front door to be unlocked for her to be able to kidnap Rose (not to mention astounding that parents would leave a door unlocked when they have a baby!) and for Eva to be so willing to let Annie off the hook. I think the highlight of the plot was Annie and Eva’s interaction at the police station, this is the first time we see them together and they both tell each other the truth. This was a good choice by the writers’ as both sides of the story are told simultaneously, which allows the viewer to feel different sympathies for both characters. I also loved the writers’ choice to leave the question of whether Eva overheard Patrick and Joan’s conversation unanswered, this is clearly a question to be answered in the next season.
We finally meet the mysterious Robert (so he does exist). Clearly Robert is meant to be an unsympathetic character, however I do wonder whether he is a representation of the teenage boys who would have been in this situation. I liked Viv acting as the protective friend and questioning Robert, her questions were valid and of course, unanswered. I think the highlight for me in this plot was both Harriet Dyer’s performance as Robert is telling Patricia the truth of his whereabouts, and Martha confronting Robert at the bus stop. Like with the unanswered question in the Annie subplot, whether Robert and Patricia live happily ever after is left open for the next season.
The Ben operation subplot was my least favourite. While I’m glad Ben pulled through (obvious outcome) and Colin is clearly an unlikeable character, I felt that the conflict and love triangle dilemma between Shirley, Johnny and Colin was resolved too quickly. That being said I’m happy that Johnny and Shirley ultimately ended up together and that Matron subtlely gave them her approval. Again Ben’s fate is left open for the next season.
I felt that Joan was rightly put through the wringer in this episode. She has passed her exam and is officially a doctor, however she forever has the guilt of pretty much ruining a lot of lives, as Matron pointed out. I loved the much-needed confrontation between Matron and Joan as it was coming and needed. Much like the Eva and Annie interaction, it was set up in a way that the viewer is provided with different perspectives and what side the viewer is on, is up to them.
I felt that Eva returning Annie’s baby was an obvious outcome, however sometimes for finales those ones work best, a cliche is a cliche for a reason.
I’m looking forward to reviewing the next season.