I delivered my verdict on this episode on Twitter–brilliant and absolutely heart shattering.
Ajax has exiled himself from his family after being told that Hugh is his father. I felt that the ramifications of this revelation weren’t explored fully, it almost felt brushed off and everyone moved on too quickly, with the biggest ramification being public humiliation. Considering the build up to the revelation, it felt like a let down, however I question whether this choice was made to focus fully on the Joey subplot.
Speaking of the Joey subplot, it could not have been more realistic and heart shattering, not breaking, shattering. Joey requesting Hugh (his doctor as well as his friend) to end his life was slightly cliche but I’ll give it pass considering how realistically it was portrayed. Dave Eastgate’s, Lucy Durack’s and Rodger Corser’s performances were absolutely spectacular and I felt that both the writers and the actors handled the topic with realism and sensitivity.
I wasn’t sure at first whether Joey was going to die in this episode or in next week’s finale. However this episode was the right one, as having a character die in a finale can be cliche, and the time in the finale can be dedicated to the impending grief and ramifications. I found it interesting that the writers and director chose to have Joey’s final moments interweaved with Jim’s transfusion. Whether this is foreshadowing, symbolism or an attempt to avoid traumatising the viewers is left up to interpretation.
Penny’s subplot was interesting as we saw another side to her—a simultaneously reckless and ambitious side with her sleeping with an 18 year old and being interviewed for a new job, respectively. While her interactions with the love smitten teenage boy (Tyler De Nawi) were sweet and hilarious, I didn’t feel that this minor subplot really added to the episode. In regards to her new job, or at least the interview for it, it’s obvious that it’s been inserted to up the romantic stakes between her and Hugh for next week’s finale.
Other small moments I enjoyed were Hayley standing up to Meryl and Jim, Ajax in his school uniform and the discovery of the damage to Hugh’s hand being permanent. I was personally surprised by the outcome of Hugh’s hand injury and I’m hoping his surgeon is wrong considering there’s going to be another season next year.
Overall this episode, especially in regards to the Joey subplot, was heart shattering and raw. I think it will hit a nerve, if not the tear ducts of every single viewer. If this is the penultimate episode, I can’t wait for the finale.