This was again another packed episode but even more spectacular than the last.
Again I felt the writers’ were trying to squeeze too much into an episode, I’m aware that the seasons are only limited to eight episodes, but I never felt that they tried this hard in the last two seasons. I’m not sure if they are trying to push their boundaries, trying out new writing techniques or have less episodes this season, or possibly all of the above.
I appreciated the resolution of some of the major plot points from last season, especially McNaughton’s involvement with Matheson’s death. The revelation of this to Joan was inevitable, I was wondering how they were going to do it. I felt that Joan partially figuring it out on her own fitted the story perfectly. Clearly McNaughton has pulled strings to get Jim out of jail and Joan knows this, I’m looking forward to seeing how this love triangle, which hasn’t been directly addressed, progresses. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Viv and the twins subplot, I felt that her letting go was adequately addressed and proper closure was provided last season, why open it up again? One positive I will say is the inevitable interaction between her and Matron, I felt that it was a step backwards from the progression of their relationship however I enjoyed that the mother-child like dynamic still exists between them.
I’m loving the relationship between Annie and Chris becoming more realistic, however I felt it was small in contrast to all the other subplots, and that it could have been shown further in the season. I loved the writers’ choice to show the progression of Chris and Matron’s relationship with subtlety, they seem to be more at ease with each other with Chris clearly forgiving her. I wonder if Annie will manage to do the same one day? I did enjoy Matron and Annie’s brief interaction, similarly to the relationship with Viv and Matron, I felt this relationship also took a step backwards from its progression last season. I was also relieved to discover that Annie wasn’t having a miscarriage.
By far the most compelling plot of the episode was the Shirley and Maggie plot. Last week I wondered how long they were going to drag out the inevitable discovery for Maggie, as well as the inevitable interaction between the two of them. I’m glad that they didn’t leave it too long but as I previously mentioned, there’s generally only eight episodes in a season, so really they don’t have the room to drag it out. The final scene between Shirley (Ella Scott Lynch) and Maggie (Tiarnie Coupland) was the best scene in the entire history of Love Child, it’s been a little over an hour since I’ve seen it and I’m still feeling chills. I’m looking forward to seeing where their relationship goes, especially since Shirley clearly loves her even if she doesn’t want to, and I believe that Tiarnie Coupland has a bright future ahead of her, I hope that she’s nominated for Best New Talent at the Logies next year. I was also incredibly moved by the discovery of what the ever-present ‘ILWA’ means, especially at it’s the show’s first strong attempt at symbolism.
I also loved the subtle history references providing a time frame for the episode. I felt that the girls’ constant references to the first edition of Dolly magazine was a great running gag, which was needed for this emotionally charged episode and also places the series in November 1970. I also liked the subtle reference to the Vietnam War, which until now, wasn’t addressed this season and Shirley’s interaction with the American soldiers.
Overall this episode was much better than last week’s, however I do hope the writers’ ease up on the quantity of subplots in the next episode.