Archive | July 2016

Love Child–Season 3, Episode 8–Season Finale Part 1

I’m honestly not sure if this is the first part of the finale or Channel 9 is saying it is to justify their choice to squeeze out the last four episodes of this season over two weeks rather than the usual four weeks, for some unknown reason (presumably to cater to yet another tired ‘reality show’). For the sake of the review, I will go with it and I believe that this was a good first part to what looks like another gripping season finale.

I say good, but not brilliant, to me it felt like a filler to lead up to the dramatic finale, but it was well done. The writers’ have eased up on the quantity of plots by focusing on three big ones: The birth of Annie and Chris’ baby, Bowditch buying a house and Eva’s pregnancy.

I honestly didn’t see the birth of Annie and Chris’ baby coming, which was a nice surprise. Due to reading a TV Guide blurb, I saw the complications from the protest coming, which again was a direct response of Annie being irresponsible (seriously enough already!). That being said it lead to great moments between Matron, Chris and Annie. I’ve enjoyed watching Matron and Chris bond throughout the season, even more so in this episode now that the baby boy has been born. I thought it was a nice touch for Matron to give Chris his father’s stuff to pass on to his son (I actually thought she was giving him a family engagement ring for Annie) and Chris is clearly taking fatherhood seriously. I hope that Annie becomes more responsible now that she has two children, despite McNaughton’s drunken comment being inappropriate, he definitely wasn’t wrong. I loved Matron assisting in the birth and the ending with the Polaroid photo, which tied in nicely with Martha’s wedding subplot.

Bowditch’s choice to buy a house wasn’t that surprising, it’s a natural progression in his relationship with Martha, that being said I enjoyed this subplot. I enjoyed Bowditch having to face reality of housing affordability and found his complaint on housing affordability hilarious, considering today’s property prices. I saw his dilemma of being suspended and his mortgage coming, however I’m glad that it was resolved and loved the ending with Martha excitedly running around the house like a hyperactive kid. Martha having another driving lesson to end up in front of the house was a nice touch and a nice continuation of a great running gag.

Eva’s pregnancy subplot was quite complex and frustrated me in a lot of ways. They’ve had Eva experience joy, complications and now the mixed blessing of triplets that she may never have. I’m not sure of the writers’ purpose of this added curveball in this subplot, whether it’s to increase the tension between McNaughton and Joan or to open up the subplot for next season, I’m just not sure. I thoroughly enjoyed the argument between Joan and McNaughton purely because it was ugly, filled with tension and yet they both made valid points, so it was hard to know who to side with. I felt that Joan inadvertently revealing to McNaughton that he’s the father of the babies was a little too convenient, Joan is much smarter than that, I think it’s purely because of the impending finale. I didn’t see the point of having Bowditch and Joan suspended for any other reason other than to be a springboard for Joan and McNaughton’s argument and Bowditch’s dilemma. I was definitely glad that the suspension was eventually and inevitably lifted, especially by none other than Love Child‘s resident blackmailer, Matron, although like the last time she blackmailed someone, it is forgivable. By the way, I’m also happy that the writers’ finally cleared up whether Matron stayed on the Hospital Board (of course she did!). This subplot is yet to be resolved, so it will be interesting to see if it is for the finale or if the writers’ are leaving it open.

On another note, another piece of the Shirley and Maggie jigsaw has fallen into place, with Shirley making the lovely but unsurprising decision to become Maggie’s guardian, she’s almost come full circle with her. I also thoroughly enjoyed Matron’s softer side showing with the birth of her grandson, subtly telling Bowditch to tell Martha the truth about his suspension, recommending a priest for Martha and Bowditch’s wedding therefore giving her approval of their impending marriage and her joking about Shirley becoming a grandmother at 30 (interestingly Chris being Matron’s son seems to be common knowledge now).

This week’s running gag was the Polaroid camera/wedding present and this week’s historical reference was the news of tenants moving into the World Trade Center, which places the timeline of Love Child in mid-December 1970.

Overall, this episode was a great filler for what I’m sure will be a greater finale. I’m yet to hear or see confirmation of a fourth season, fingers crossed, we need more Australian dramas rather than ‘reality shows’.

Love Child–Season 3, Episodes 6 & 7–Movie Event

This week the decision was made either by the Love Child team or Channel Nine (most likely the latter) to broadcast a ‘Love Child Movie Event’ for the first time in the show’s history.

Since the episode was a ‘movie event’ and therefore twice as long as usual, this review will be done character-by-character.

Viv and Annie–Their plot was the highlight of the episode for me. Viv trying to adopt her nephew so she could take him back to Australia was, like Annie stated, Viv becoming a mother again and boy was she a mother. The scene where Viv and Annie are forcefully evacuated and Viv is told that she can’t take her nephew with her was absolutely incredible and heart wrenching. Viv definitely had the scream and fiery look of a full-grown mama bear. My heart was racing throughout these scenes and they definitely moved me. Another highlight was seeing Annie as a reporter and a protestor, a welcome change to her usual role as the alternating responsible and irresponsible mother.

Bowditch and Martha–Their plot was the most understated. Bowditch giving Martha driving lessons was a highlight, especially as it provided much needed comic relief after the heartbreaking and intense Vietnam scenes. Their family lunch with Patty, Martha’s mother now known as Daisy, and Bowditch’s father, was as uncomfortable and filled with racial tension as expected, however I’m glad that it was about more than the racism and indication of that era. I found it interesting that the writers’ chose to have Martha agree with Bowditch’s father about how hard their married life would be and to have Bowditch’s father show his humanity. I also thought that Patty being included in Martha’s family was incredibly sweet and it was great to see Daisy again. Bowditch’s choice to give up his dream job for Martha was obvious, however you could feel his slight pain and the future that he envisioned for them both is something I can actually see. Another highlight for me in their plot was Bowditch standing up to his father, it’s nice to see a fiery side to this sweet character. I’m looking forward to their wedding next week.

Patty, Joan and Jim–Their plot was very chaotic and mostly sad. I mentioned in a previous review that I hoped that Patty wasn’t pregnant and in this episode my fears (almost) came true. I knew the writers’ would find a way to bring the tryst back up and this was the most obvious way. Throughout the episode, I was constantly wondering and worrying that Patty was pregnant and was highly relieved that she wasn’t. The tryst will be revealed to Joan soon enough, however I feel making Patty pregnant isn’t the right way to do it and as I said in a previous review, her character has changed for the better, making her pregnant again would be a step backwards. Meanwhile, I was surprised by the decision to have Jim run off with James. Joan’s stress and heartbreak was subtle and played out perfectly. Until I saw the previews for next week’s finale, I thought Jim was gone for good and that thought actually disappointed me as I felt it was anti-climatic and a slap in the face to his character. However I have the feeling he will be going forever, so next week’s finale will be interesting.

Shirley and Maggie–I felt that their plot was the ‘background plot’–you know it’s there and adds to the episode, but it’s not the most important one to pay attention to. I’ve felt that their story and relationship has been one big jigsaw puzzle with a piece being added every week. This week’s puzzle piece was Maggie’s understandable desire to know who her father is. Like with Patty’s pregnancy, I hoped Colin’s return was not to be and it wasn’t. I did wonder what the writers’ chose to do with Colin since Shirley chose Johnny over him, it was good to know that he moved on with his life and had a new family, but it’s a shame (although unsurprising) that it was at Maggie’s expense. Not to mention it proves even further how unlikeable Colin is, even off-screen. I enjoyed Shirley’s increasing presence as Maggie’s mother, this time scolding her for her behaviour at the anti-war protest. I’ve never seen Shirley scold anyone before and I actually quite enjoyed seeing that side to her. The previews for next week’s finale shows Maggie giving birth with Shirley by her side, which actually worries me since Maggie is barely showing and makes me question how the finale is written and paced. That being said, if I’m right and her birth scene does happen in the finale, I’m looking forward to seeing them going through it together and Shirley going full circle as a mother.

Chris and Matron–Their plot was the most entertaining. I felt that they actually had the most time together in this episode in the entire history of the show. I like the fact that they are bonding and seem to be growing closer (especially Matron calling him by his full name like most mothers would) and that they were helping in each other out. Matron’s fascination and love for the remote-controlled television was a hilarious running gag, not to mention it was nice to see her briefly act as immaturely as some of the Stanton girls do, for once, especially when Maggie ultimately calls her out on it. I also enjoyed seeing Matron and Maggie bond more, you can see the generation gap between them, it was almost like mother and daughter or aunt and niece. Matron has always had a favourite–in early season 1 it was Shirley, from late season 1 to season 2 it was Viv and this season it is Maggie. My theory has always been that this is the case because Shirley was nice to Matron when she was younger, Viv reminded Matron of herself before serving in the war and Maggie is Shirley’s child, but I’m digressing. I enjoyed their plan for Matron to pay for the TV she partially damaged, only for it to backfire. I hope that Chris and Matron’s relationship is developed further, once his and Annie’s baby is born.

McNaughton and Eva–Their plot was the smallest one. It’s nice to see Eva becoming a more likeable character in this episode, however I still don’t understand the purpose of her return. I enjoyed learning more about the drug that ironically put Eva at risk of a miscarriage. This plot wasn’t fully resolved, ending with the subtle reveal that McNaughton found out about Eva’s surgery, hopefully this plot is addressed and only briefly, in the finale.

Pete–I didn’t expect Pete to return and I was happy about this at first, considering his abrupt exit last season. However as the episode went on, I started to ask the same question about his return that I’ve asked about Eva’s–what’s the purpose for it? From what I’m seeing Pete has been corrupted and I’m wondering if he fits into the Jim subplot as he works in homicide and has been telling Joan to stay away from him. Whether Pete is corrupt or if there is something else going on hasn’t been fully resolved, I’m hoping this is resolved in the finale.

 

To conclude I want to say that this episode of Love Child was by far the best episode I have ever seen. I think what made this episode the best was its length, it seems that it really was two episodes aired at once, nevertheless, I chose to see it as a ‘movie’ for the sake of it being advertised as a ‘movie event’. The length has ironed out the biggest kink of the season–its overly plot filled episodes. It goes without saying that Sophie Hensser (Viv) and Gracie Gilbert (Annie) were the episode MVPs, with honourable mention going to Andrew Ryan (Bowditch).

As I said on Twitter, if this is the penultimate, I can’t wait for the finale.

 

 

 

Love Child–Season 3, Episode 5

In last week’s review of Love Child, I concluded with the hope that I would eat my words over the next two weeks.

This week I’m starting to.

While I still feel the episodes are overly plot filled, I’m glad that they’ve started to ease up on the quantity of plots. This week’s focus was the Vietnam subplot, which I personally enjoyed. I think the writers and producers did a great job with the setting and realism. I liked the pairing of Annie and Viv for this plot considering their rough start in the first season, as well as the great contrast presented between Annie’s role as the entertainer and Viv’s role as the nurse. Viv having to ultimately look after Bernie’s son didn’t surprise me as the producers seemed to let the spoiler air in their commercials, nevertheless I’m looking forward to seeing where this plot goes.

I still don’t know how I feel about Eva. I’m interested to see how her pregnancy complicates the dynamic between McNaughton and Joan, it’s also nice to see her and Joan getting along, however I will slightly re-emphasise the point I made last week, unless the writers have a plan, I don’t understand the purpose of her return.

I enjoyed seeing the interaction between Matron and Maggie, which is reminiscent of the interactions between Matron and Viv in season 1. I’m glad that the writers finally cleared up whether Matron knew that Maggie is Shirley’s daughter (of course she does!). You can see at the end of their subplot that Matron clearly likes Maggie and I’m interested in seeing how their relationship develops and whether Maggie gives birth at the end of the season, however due to the pacing of this season, I don’t think so. I also enjoyed Shirley’s presence as Maggie’s mother this week via Shirley’s diary. It was a gentle and subtle way for Shirley to relate to Maggie and let her know what she’s in for, especially after she accidentally discovers what childbirth is actually like (which by the way was very funny).

I’m still not liking the Jim and Patty subplot. It was obvious in the commercials that Jim and Patty were going to have sex. It’s clearly going to cause problems later, even more so with the way that Jim came to Patty’s aid. I like Jim, however I feel that his plots have been forced and in all honesty, as much as I like him, I’m also kind of over him. His legal dramas have gone on for long enough and it looks like his marriage will be ending, so I’m interested to see where he will be at the finale. While I don’t condone anyone sleeping with their friend’s spouse (and yes it does take two to tango), I liked seeing a darker and selfish side to Patty. I hope Patty doesn’t fall pregnant from her tryst, especially as she is the character who has changed and developed the most.

The writers have continued with running gags, this episode it was all about wedding dress shopping.

Overall I liked the episode and despite changing direction overly quickly last week, the writers have done a good job in opening up lots of possibilities, plot-wise, for the rest of the season.

Love Child–Season 3, Episode 4

This episode to me was surprising and not in a good way.

I’ve stated in my previous reviews that the episodes in this season so far have been overly plot filled. I felt a small glimmer of hope last week only for it to be taken away from me in this episode. Not only was this episode overly plot filled, but it was clunky, chaotic and all over the place.

We’ve spent the previous three episodes exploring Maggie and Shirley, the closing and reopening of Stanton House and Jim and Joan’s relationship. This hasn’t been a bad thing, however this episode, which I’m guessing is the halfway point of the season, established completely different and out-of-left-field plots, in comparison to the rest of the season.

Let’s start with the Annie subplot. I didn’t expect her mother to reappear, let alone her father dying. I will admit, I always wondered what her family thought of her taking off without a word in episode 2 of season 1, as a viewer, it’s nice to get some closure. It was one of the rare times I actually felt for Annie: being torn between going to Vietnam and being there for her family, Chris blindsiding her and her mother giving her grief. I found the scenes between her and her father incredibly moving and I was moved to tears by the end of her subplot, even if the ending was inevitable. I personally didn’t buy Annie not trusting Chris, I’m hoping they stay together, not just because they’re a good couple but their constant dramas are getting old.

I don’t understand the logic and intentions behind the McNaughton and Eva subplot. In the first season, it was all about the sexual tension between McNaughton and Joan, the second season was about the fallout of the sexual tension and the third season….I seriously have no idea. Jim and Joan clearly see that McNaughton still loves Joan and he admitted it in the previous season, yet apparently now that he is “free” of his wife, he misses her. I’m hoping the writers’ have a plan, otherwise they’re just not consistent.

Shirley and Maggie seemed to be the characters in the background in this episode. I’m not sure how I feel about this, on one hand if the writers’ focus on them too much it will tire, on the other hand, their plot has been built up and worked on so much, if they fade into the background, it would be a total waste. I enjoyed getting some more insight into what Shirley was like when she was pregnant with Maggie, as well as Shirley’s increasing presence as Maggie’s mother. I also enjoyed the running gag of Matron and Sunshine, it was a nice touch and similar to the Dolly Doctor gag two episodes ago. I’m enjoying the writers’ choice to have subtle running gags throughout their episodes, I hope they keep them up.

The next two episodes are clearly going to be about Annie and Viv in Vietnam (by the way, I also appreciated another season 1 reference to Viv’s brother, Bernie) and the Patty-Jim-Joan love triangle. I was surprised by Leon’s offer for Annie considering his unhappiness when he discovered her pregnancy, then again it breaks away from the cliche. However I couldn’t help but wonder whether his support was merely a pawn to kick off the Vietnam plot rather than character development. Meanwhile, the Patty-Jim-Joan love triangle plot has quietly advanced with Patty kissing Jim and Jim clearly not put off by it, however I still believe that Patty and Jim aren’t a good fit, nevertheless I’m interested in seeing where both plots go.

Overall, I feel that this episode has been the worst of this season so far. Not that I’m hoping for or think there will be worst episodes, I’m a fan of the show, and my feelings have nothing to do with the actors or the characters, I feel this is on the writers. This episode was swung in a completely different direction than the previous two out of the blue, it’s as if the writers’ don’t seem to know who the show and their characters are anymore.

I’m hoping over the next two weeks I’ll eat my words.

Love Child–Season 3, Episode 3

This episode wasn’t as spectacular as the previous two, however I think that’s a good thing.

The first two episodes were extremely intense and overly plot filled, now that we are most likely reaching the halfway point of the season, the writers’ seem to be plateauing. While this episode was plot filled as well, what makes it stand out is that they all revolved around two themes–truth and blackmail. Jim discovers the truth about his current situation and blackmails McNaughton, Matron and Joan discover who the father of Maggie’s baby is and blackmail him into indirectly reopening Stanton House, and Eva blackmails Patrick and subsequently Joan into helping her get what she wants. Although blackmail has been a theme that has been explored in previous episodes, more so last season, this is the first episode where it has been fully used by the majority of the characters. It gave the episode a dark quality and made the characters quite unlikeable despite the good intentions behind their actions, which is something I found enjoyable.

I personally enjoyed Matron and Joan finally working together and possibly establishing a friendship. Despite constantly locking horns throughout the series, they obviously both believe in supporting the girls, just in different ways. I also enjoyed seeing Matron put her manipulative tendencies to good use and I’m happy that Stanton House has reopened, although I personally felt that the reopening was always going to happen. I loved Matron towards the end of the episode, she’s badarse and SHE’S BACK! She’s better suited to being Matron than a board member (although whether she’s given up her board member status hasn’t been established). Meanwhile I’m loving the slow progression of Shirley as Maggie’s mother, especially her mama bear tendencies coming out in this episode. I also loved the scene between her and Annie, ultimately providing a character analysis of Matron from both sides of the spectrum–being saved by Matron and being betrayed by Matron respectively.

My favourite subplot of the episode was the relationship progression between Bowditch and Martha. Bowditch being the one to ultimately stand up for Martha and make a fool out of himself rather than the other way around is cliche, but since it was so sweet and funny, I’ll give it a pass. However I loved how it naturally lead to them taking it to the next level and Martha proposing to him. Due to the era they’re living in, they’ll be facing a lot of bumps down the road, however I’m looking forward to seeing them get married. I also loved Patricia’s subtle questions and references to Martha’s mother. It’s good to know that Martha and her mother have developed their relationship, however it would be nice to actually see it, maybe at the wedding.

Meanwhile Patricia seemed to appear more in the background, however due to the subtle references of her crush on Jim and the previews to next week’s episode showing her acting on these feelings, makes me believe that she’s in the background of this episode, because she’ll be centre stage over at least the next one or two. I’m interested to see where this goes, purely because I don’t see Jim and Patricia as a good fit. I think Patricia’s lonely (and too young for him) and as for Jim, he sees Patricia as an “easier version of Joan”–same looks, same kindness, not as much drama.

Speaking of background, interestingly Viv only appeared briefly in two scenes, I’m hoping her role’s not being diminished. Similarly Annie also appeared in just two scenes, with Chris not appearing at all, however I don’t mind that so much considering that they were centre stage for the second half of last season. I’m actually more interested in finding out what Annie’s future holds now that her boss knows that she’s pregnant.

I personally didn’t enjoy Eva’s reappearance, she’s become more unlikeable and her reappearance didn’t serve any purpose other than as a pawn for the Stanton House subplot and Jim discovering the truth behind his current situation. I hope I don’t have to see her again.

Overall, I did enjoy the episode however it did feel like a bit of a filler.