So we’re nearing the halfway point of the season which means that a story arc usually reaches it peak. In this episode, I’d say that the major story arc–Nick’s secret gambling–is starting to reach its peak.
Throughout the episode there’s a build up of Nick’s desperation to pay back a gambling debt, which I felt was rushed a little since I didn’t feel this much build up in the previous episode, however it was done well. The fact that Nick keeps digging further down the hole by offering to give Rachel the money adds a necessary complication to keep the episode moving, however it is an inconsistent move for his character and his arc. A smart man (at least as smart as you could be in that kind of situation) would have just paid the debt, however the writers had to somehow remind the viewers that he is a good guy at heart. I was glad that the writers didn’t go with another cliche of Nick possibly stealing the school’s fundraising money.
I felt that the revelation of Nick’s gambling to the guys at their business’ premises was a good fit, however I didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t completely resolved. I did appreciate that Nick stood up for himself at the end of the episode to the guys, further marking his distinction from Kane who was a constant doormat.
In the background was the preparation for the school’s talent quest for parents, which ultimately saw the girls and guys split up into two teams. It was interesting to see the parents on show rather than the kids for a change and they certainly showed great potential and humour, but I found it all a little cheesy. I think the highlight of the plot for me was Toni’s desire to be a part of the band and ultimately inserting herself in it. This outcome wasn’t a surprise unfortunately as the whole format of the ‘outsider wanting to be included, being pushed away and ultimately being the most talented and well received’ was a cliche.
I am liking the idea of Toni and Rachel being part of the girls’ ‘gang’ more and more as the season progresses. I’m liking this as Toni and Rachel have progressed past being two dimensional characters. Toni was just a nurse at a country hospital last season, now she’s the feisty head nurse who secretly likes Gemma and Abi. Rachel on the other hand has become less bitchy and more human, which I wasn’t a fan of at first, but I’m starting to come around as it’s clear she is now going to be a permanent fixture.
I personally felt that both the guys and the girls did well, however the boys winning wasn’t all that plausible. On another note, I wasn’t a fan of Lewis accusing Gemma of cheating on him, especially after what he did to her and I appreciated that the writers didn’t forget this fact and that Gemma reminded him of his own indiscretion. I also appreciate these subtle notes to the ridiculous plots of last season as it shows great continuity.
Overall this episode was good, however some out the outcomes were cliche and the tension and reveal of Nick’s secret was a little rushed. On another note, Delta Goodrem’s character still hasn’t been introduced and we’re approaching the halfway point. Maybe now that Nick’s secret is out and the ramifications will clearly be explored in the next episode, she’ll magically appear.