Archive | October 2016

Hyde & Seek–Episode 3

This episode for me revolved around the theme of things not appearing as they seem.

You could argue this is what the whole show is about as it is a crime/thriller, but with this episode it was more noticeable. Claire appears to be a pen pusher but turns out to be a former spy, Aaron appears to be a heartless rich criminal funding terrorism but turns out to be from a country that has a death sentence for being who he is, and Dale appears to be an accomplice to terrorism but is in fact a paedophile.

The episode gets off to a thrilling start with Gary and Kevin watching and then pursuing a suspect in their case. To have the episode start off with a suspect trying to set a car alight, then to chase him where he is obviously going to commit to suicide, this puts the questions in the viewers’ minds of who is he and what is he up to. We never find out from him due to his choice to commit suicide. I didn’t know how I felt about the director’s choice of camera angles from the suspect’s perspective as he is committing suicide. I haven’t seen this before and I know the reason why–as it can be a trigger for those who have tried or have lost loved ones to suicide–however because of this reason it is a unique choice, as disturbing as it is.

The writers choices in regards to the next few jigsaw pieces are interesting. I found it interesting for the writers’ to have gold being used for funding and to have Aaron and Dale being blackmailed into being co-conspirators to terrorism. This choice shows the viewer that while terrorism is reprehensible and inexcusable, it is not always black and white, or at least the people behind it aren’t.

The brief scene between Sonya and Angela where Angela is “blaming” Muslims for Nick’s death and Sonya trying to talk some sense into her was interesting. I think it’s a representation of how split Australian society is at the moment in regards to Muslims in Australia. I also liked the subtle way in which the scene led into the complications with Angela’s pregnancy.

I also liked the writers’ choice to progress the working relationships between Claire, Hyde, the Sydney Police, and the AFP. They all seem to be friendlier and more co-operative now, which enables the story to progress seamlessly. However I also like the contrast between the progression of the AFP’s working relationship with the Sydney Police and their difficulties with ASIO.

My favourite moments of the episode were Claire’s actions towards Dale and the revelations of her background. Emma Hamilton’s facial expressions and torturous threats were convincing and it adds dimensions to Claire’s character. I also like the writers choice to have these kind of revelations alternate the spotlight between her and Hyde.

The ending of the episode was anti-climatic with the t’s and i’s crossed and dotted, however the intense but successful birth of Angela and Nick’s son was sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how Hyde’s godson’s birth motivates him further to purse Nick’s killer/s.

 

 

Doctor Doctor–Season 1, Episode 6

This episode focused more on Hugh’s family–his actual family and his hospital family.

With Hugh’s family it was obvious that the aftermath of Charlie’s ectopic pregnancy was going to be explored. Both Matt and Charlie are grieving in their own ways–avoiding each other–it’s a little cliche for them to avoid each other for their inevitable chat at the end of the episode, however I’ll give it a pass as I’ve never experienced ectopic pregnancy and its aftermath myself. What I liked about this plot was Meryl and Hayley trying to help her, while they can both be overbearing and they were a little to Charlie, they did mean well and it’s nice to see them in “caring mode” rather than “people pleasing, better than everyone else mode”. Even the ordinarily distant Jim tried to cheer Matt up, in his own odd cliched way.

I also liked the moments involving Ajax’s birthday, I’m not overly sure whether Hugh is trying to be Ajax’s brother or father both in general and in regards to buying him the right present, however it is kind of sweet in his own arrogant way.

My favourite moments of the episode involved Hugh’s hospital family. Clearly Hugh and Penny are growing closer to the point where I’m questioning whether she is being set up as a potential love interest for him.

Meanwhile his interactions with his former colleague show both his city arrogance, as well as how much he has changed since moving to Whyhope. Betty’s, Ken’s and Penny’s reactions to Hugh words also show how much their relationships with him have grown–they all care about Hugh’s opinion and he in turn feels guilty. I also love his interaction with Floyd to try and avoid his former colleague, his ability to work with Betty in an emergency situation which was similar to when he worked with Aiofe in the pilot, and his way of making amends at the end of the episode.

I liked the choice by the writers to have Hugh’s circumstances finally revealed to both of his families. Apparently there will be ten episodes in this season and the series was renewed for a second season after the first two episodes aired, so having the truth come out just after the halfway point of the first season is a good time. The fact that Hugh told Aiofe and she told everyone says a lot about her character. It has been revealed that she has a slight drug and alcohol problem, she parties hard and now it has been revealed that she is not trustworthy. I can’t help but feel that the writers are going out of their way to show how incompatible Hugh and Aiofe are and how compatible he and Penny are. Maybe I just feel this way because I don’t believe he and Aiofe are a good fit, he is changing, Aiofe isn’t.

On another note, Dora the Goat makes another brief appearance, for the life of me I can’t figure out whether she belongs to the Knight family or whether she is just a stray that happens to have great comedic timing.

Overall this episode wasn’t as emotional as last week’s, on the curve I’d say it’s a plateau but I don’t think the series is going downhill, I’d say it’s on a steady rise.

 

 

 

The Wrong Girl–Season 1, Episode 4

This episode was absolutely spectacular.

This episode again started in media res, I said it last week and I’ll say it again, this is really getting old, unless every chapter in the novel started this way, I don’t understand why it’s necessary.

Lily is finally given the chance to run the show and from there the can of worms are open. I loved the dynamic between Sasha and Lily in that moment, especially with Sasha reminding Lily that when those opportunities present themselves you say yes and getting the chance to start over, as I’m sure women in these jobs everywhere can relate. Throughout the course of this subplot, Lily is doubted by her clearly jealous colleague Nikki and has to deal with Pete’s childish behaviour and ultimately an on-set meltdown during the Big Day.

With the title, The Wrong Girl, of course everything would go wrong for Lily during her big break, however what did go right was her way of saving the day. Ultimately her actions lead to Erica coming out on national television, which not only saved the day and lifted a weight off Erica’s shoulders, but has also enabled Lily’s career to advance in future episodes. I loved the strong emotions during those scenes as it ultimately showed the characters for who they really are: Erica as a strong but closeted lesbian who illustrates what she has to deal with in today’s society, Eric is an obliviously chauvinistic and old-fashioned man, and Lily and Co. are shocked but ultimately happy for Erica which proves how much of a family they can be.

Meanwhile, the Vincent and Mimi subplot was incredible. Vincent was expressing his frustration about his parents keeping him from independence in the last episode but now it comes to the surface, especially with his mother. The inevitable blow up was spectacular with Vincent shocking both his mother and the viewers. What I loved was not only the strong emotions on display, but the fact that the viewers would be able to emphasise with both Vincent and Mimi, as well as the fact that their resolution comes during Erica’s coming out and ties into that subplot.

Jack and Simone’s break up is no surprise due to the trailers giving it away, however it was clearly going to happen as they weren’t compatible and Jack has obvious feelings for Lily. I felt that the moments leading up to the split were authentic and well-paced, especially Simone’s reaction.

It was an interesting choice by the writers to have Meredith only make a brief appearance, as well as making Simone and Pete rather unlikeable. However the difference between Simone and Pete is that I feel Simone is immature and not always intentionally unlikeable. Pete is intentionally unlikeable due to his own choice to be immature, in regards to the job that Lily offers him. I loved that Ivan was the one who set Pete straight as it further expands his character.

The long-awaited kiss between Jack and Lily at the end of the episode was authentic, well done but also slightly cliche. I loved Lily getting into the bathtub with Simone, illustrating their long, odd and cute friendship, however it also shows in a cliche way, the moral bind that Lily is in, which will be focused on in the remaining episodes.

Overall this episode was without a doubt, the best so far.

The Wrong Girl–Season 1, Episode 3

The opening of this episode was hilarious with Lily being forced to endure the excessively loud sex sounds apparently made by Simone and Jack, which she uniquely calls “sex terrorism”. However it was ruined for me when it was revealed that the writers were yet again using in media res. This is really getting old, to the point that I feel that this show takes the “in media res excessive use cake” from House Husbands. However the technique redeems itself by catching up with itself a lot faster, in comparison to the previous episode, not to mention it seamlessly enables a plot twist.

Anyway, this time the writers take the viewers back 20 hours earlier where we see Pete informing his father, Ivan, that he is about to become a father himself. These scenes were incredibly sweet and honest, with Ivan unable to contain his happiness not only at the thought of becoming a grandfather but also at his assumption of Lily being the mother, as well as his admission that he found parenting boring but amazing. These scenes added another dimension to the apparently odd Ivan.

Meanwhile Lily finally has an idea at work that is approved, a happy moment for her which is quickly undermined by Eric’s behaviour. This episode did a great job at sending the message to the viewers–both male and female–that sexual harassment is unacceptable. Eric was set up to be a cringeworthy character to be mocked, however until now he wasn’t completely unlikeable. I loved the moment when Jack stood up to Eric by giving him a taste of his own medicine, which in turn lead to Lily finally admitting how she really feels. I liked the choice by the writers to have Eric both be shocked by the truth and simultaneously not learning his lesson, it shows that he is human, as well as the reality of how sexual harassment can affect many women.

However my favourite choice by the writers by far, not only for this subplot but for the entire episode, was to have Lily end up acting in a similar way to Eric by unwittingly talking about Jack’s attractiveness simultaneously behind his back and out in the open. Lily and Jack talking about Lily’s “statistics” on Jack was hilarious and the ending of this plot worked out well in regards to building up the feelings between them.

In regards to Pete’s plot, I found the writers choice to make Meredith a little “out there” questionable. As I mentioned in my review of the pilot, I haven’t read the book so I’m only judging at face value, however I feel that her incompatibility with Pete has been shown adequately, I don’t think abruptly changing her personality is necessary. Considering how unsure Pete is of their relationship, it was good to see another side to him in this episode when his jealousy of Meredith’s ex, Mitchell, shows itself. It’s a darker, more selfish side and adds another dimension to the character. I also liked the choice by the writers to make Mitchell a good guy, avoiding the stereotype of two jealous men competing over a woman.

I didn’t think that the truth of Lily and Pete’s one-nighter would come out at the dinner as it’s too early in the series, however I liked the choice by the writers to have Simone almost reveal it. On a technical note, I didn’t like the choice by the director to have close up shots of Pete’s and Meredith’s faces, it was very off putting. However it was clearly the purpose of the shots that being said, knowing this didn’t make me dislike the choice any less.

On another note, it was nice to see Lily’s family members again, however as amusing as it was to see Mimi struggle with botox, they didn’t really add to the episode. However one thing I did like was more of an insight into Vincent and discovering that he wants to live independently and is a doctor, these facts expand his character not to mention they display the great choice by the writers to avoid the misconceptions surrounding disability.

Overall this episode was a huge improvement with the focus on the development of the characters.

 

The Secret Daughter–Season 1, Episode 3

Jamie describes the whole family situation to Billie as “a bit of a rollercoaster”, to me that quote sums up the whole episode.

This episode kicks off on an emotional note with Billie breaking down over the shock of being told that her DNA matched Jack’s and that she is a Norton. The question that Billie keeps asking herself is also presented to the viewer–how is this possible?. I liked this choice by the writers as it keeps the viewers on their toes.

I loved the interaction between Gus and Billie when she is trying to get him to admit the circumstances behind her conception, to prove that she isn’t a Norton. It contained the right amount of emotions and tension, not to mention it was absolutely cringeworthy and heartbreaking. For the first time the viewer is meant to be sympathetic towards Gus and ironically this is when Billie’s sympathy towards him disappears. I liked the choice by the writers to have Gus be so broken down by this that he finally faces the music and returns to Walperinga. While he has been amusing to watch so far, Gus’ excruciating ability to get himself into trouble over and over is getting old, so having him out of the picture for a little while is a nice change.

Meanwhile the family’s true colours are starting to show a bit more with the revelation of Jack’s recent video will. Jamie was appointed executor and considering Chris’ and Susan’s attitudes towards Billie, it’s pretty obvious Jack made the right choice. Chris is a hard one to read, all he seems to care about is the business, however he has good intentions which are made clear by his willingness (albeit reluctant) to help Billie, with his feelings towards her truly shifting after he hears her sing. Harriet likes Billie and adoringly becomes addicted to her Jack-like hugs, however her intentions come into question when it is revealed that she is the one who swapped Billie’s DNA sample with her own. Susan is clearly a gold digger and there is something going on with her and the family lawyer, which I am looking forward to eventually discovering.

Meanwhile I found the interactions between the gang, Jamie, Chris and Billie hilarious, however I also knew it was too easy and they are clearly planning to cause more grief for Billie and the Nortons’ down the road.

The ending of the episode was a bit of a shock for me as it makes the show even more confusing. We’re told to believe that Billie isn’t the secret daughter one minute, with a DNA test saying she is the next, with Harriet breaking the swab and proving that Billie isn’t a Norton, the next minute after that. I know this show is meant to be a bit of a mystery but it’s too indecisive for my liking, I hope this is a writing technique to serve the story as a whole rather than just being sloppy.

Overall the episode was a rollercoaster, however it was also a turning point as a few cans of worms have been opened for future plots, which will make the show even more interesting.

The Secret Daughter–Season 1, Episode 2

This episode was a little flat for me. The pilot established the characters and circumstances, as it should, however the second episode is supposed to set things into motion, it did this, however it didn’t seem to contain any enthusiasm in its execution.

The beginning of the episode emphasised how much of an outsider Billie is in the family, as she overhears the awkward and intense conversation about her by the rest of the family, as opposed to being a part of it. However this is contrasted well with the moments where Billie bonds with them. I liked the choice by the writers to contrast Billie’s character with the Nortons’ when she sanitises what Jack said about Susan and Chris and was truthful to Harriet. I also liked her scenes with Harriet as it showed their bond developing, as well as highlighted the clear problems within the family with Harriet’s shoplifting.

The moments where Billie bonds with Jamie and Harriet are contrasted well with her straining relationship with Gus. How he managed to get out of the boot on his own is beyond me, but I thoroughly enjoyed his scenes with Connie and, while I definitely don’t condone stealing, the way in which he takes advantage of his situation (especially with the facial mask) is hilarious. However while those mostly odd scenes made me laugh, they were balanced well with the brief moments of Gus’ sincerity and seriousness, such as when he admits to Billie that he doesn’t mean to cause trouble and when Billie stands up to him.

I didn’t feel that the Walperinga and gang moments were necessary as they did very little to progress the story in this episode.

The ending of the episode threw me through a loop as Billie admits to Jamie she’s not his sister and yet her DNA was revealed to be a match to Jack. I thought that Gus might have followed through with his idea to submit Harriet’s hair for the DNA test, however this is yet to be confirmed. I liked this choice by the writers as it provides the opening for the next episode.

Overall the episode was flat but entertaining.

Hyde & Seek–Episode 2

This episode wasn’t as action packed as last week’s, in fact I’d describe as being more about brains than brawn.

This episode picks up where the last episode left off, with Hyde and Claire taking Jamil into the police station for questioning. I liked the contrast between Hyde’s and Claire’s methods of interrogation, with the latter actually getting answers with her calm approach. In the meantime, Jackie and the AFP discover that one of their marksmen was killed, by who is revealed to be the unknown fourth terrorist, in the same way as Erik Hansen.

Hyde and Claire are eventually led to a New Zealand Internal Affairs officer, Jenna, who issued two passports for Erik and Linda Hansen in different names. This takes them to Hong Kong as Jenna now lives there with her children. I liked the writers choice to move the story to a different location to advance the plot, especially as the landscape of Sydney was used as a transitional device in last week’s episode. Claire’s skills were highlighted well in these scenes, with her idea to catch Jenna off guard to get answers from her and her steely looks showing that she means business. Claire is clearly a badarse in her own way and I like the writers choice to highlight this in contrast to Hyde constantly having the control.

The outcome of Jenna being murdered was obvious, another complication is needed to carry the plot forward, however another piece of the jigsaw is added when numbers leading to her list are found. I also liked the subtle way that the writers showed Claire’s guilt over Jenna’s death by having her pick up Jenna’s kids. When Claire returns to New Zealand she questions her boss’ motives in the same way that Hyde questioned her, which is showing the affects he is having on her.

Like with last week’s episode, Hyde’s personal life is subtly interweaved throughout the episode, this week it was all about Nick’s funeral. It was the best choice to have the funeral scenes be brief and concise, it showed Hyde’s sadness over losing his friend and his motivation to pursue the homicide/terrorism investigation.

After the AFP has been interrogating Jamil all night only stopping short of using a well-known torture method, which again highlights the contrasts between them and Hyde, Linda gives a description of the unknown fourth terrorist, Malik. Vanessa Moltzen’s facial expressions perfectly shows that Linda is hiding or possibly up to something, especially with some of the evidence pointing to her and nearly being killed.

At the end of the episode, the AFP extended an olive branch of sorts to Hyde, by offering him the chance to be a part of their Special Immigration Task Force to take their next step in the investigation–finding Malik. I feel that Hyde’s relationship with the AFP is improving, although it mainly feels like a bit of a tug of war, with them working well together one minute and being against each other the next. This was an interesting choice by the writers and I’m looking forward to seeing the relationship developed further.

I like the endings of the episodes so far, last week’s ended on a cliffhanger and this episode ended with another jigsaw puzzle piece being revealed with Malik’s sketch shown. I like this choice by the writers as it enables one episode to seamlessly transition to the next.

Overall this episode wasn’t as thrilling as last week’s, however it was necessary as it provides balance to the series as a whole. Episodes focusing on the background of the plot rather than the foreground action, adds layers to the story.