I felt that this episode was a filler for the next three remaining episodes of the season. This episode focused on character development more than anything with Viv starting her job as a Nurses’ Aide at the hospital, Shirley in the process of divorcing Colin and dealing with an awkward encounter with Eva, Joan’s reaction to Shirley sleeping with Patrick, Martha’s interactions with Bowditch, Patricia further dealing with her grief and the introduction of Eleanor.
This episode focused on again another thing going wrong with Annie on the road to motherhood. I did feel for Annie as Deanna’s brief disappearance wasn’t totally her fault (although it wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t leave Deanna with Chris, not that I’m judging just making an observation on the sequence of events) and it’s every parent’s worst nightmare, however I’m wondering how long the writers’ focus on Annie’s mistakes will go on for. Although Annie left Deanna with Chris for the right reasons, to get a better paying job to provide for her, it wasn’t sensible to leave her with someone she likes but barely knows. It’s really hard to feel for Annie sometimes as I’m constantly asking ‘what was she thinking?’ The outcome was obvious, however I did enjoy the twist with Matron ultimately helping Annie due to Chris’ involvement. Small highlights of this plot include Chris struggling with a crying Deanna and Gracie Gilbert’s performance in the scene after Annie is told Deanna is missing.
I liked the subtle reveal of Greg’s motives for having Jim bashed. I like the next step in this story arc being Jim and Greg meeting with a social worker for custody. It’s a realistic step that’s not overplayed, however it is of course not resolved. The writers’ choice to feed the viewer the story arc in small doses in each episode is brilliant.
In regards to the smaller details, I personally liked the interaction between Viv and Matron as Viv starts her new job. My favourite moment was Matron providing Viv with Shirley’s old room and Viv telling her she has a good heart. I thought these moments were sweet and shows a new level in their relationship. It will be interesting to see how their relationship changes or develops now that Viv is a colleague of Matron’s and not a Stanton girl.
A highlight of this episode for me was Martha’s involvement with all the girls at once. I always enjoy the interactions between Martha and Bowditch, they are sweet and humorous but on Martha’s part, very realistic. As funny as it is, sometimes I feel it gets old and I just want them to get together already. My heart broke when she revealed to Viv how she dealt with the heartbreak of having to move on with her life after giving up her baby, providing yet another insight into what the mothers during that era had to deal with. I also loved her giving Patricia some tough love while simultaneously standing up for her when Annie snaps.
I did enjoy the awkward interaction between Eva and Shirley, which ultimately shed light on Patrick’s character. I felt the interaction was inevitable but not the best. Joan’s reaction was clearly the best as it subtly showed some jealousy and therefore her unresolved and remaining feelings that she clearly has for Patrick, which is addressed for the first time this season. Her drunken scenes with Jim were hilarious and very sweet, Jessica Marais plays a great drunk.
I loved the Women’s Liberation protests acting as a bookends for the episode. The writers’ could have chosen to use the protests to be preachy, however they instead put it to the brilliant use of character development. They picked the best characters to be involved in the protests. Having Annie involved at the beginning was a brilliant way to foreshadow her plot. It was also equally brilliant with Patricia at the end, showing her potential, now that she needs direction since abandoning her marriage and housewife dreams.
I felt the end of the episode was too abrupt, Jim is clearly proposing to Joan to help with his custody case and was of course going to be non-chalant. I felt that fading to black on Joan’s long stare at Jim was too melodramatic and that the proposal itself should have been eased into more.
Overall a solid episode, but a really obvious filler and launching pad for the season finale.