After Patty’s death and the subsequent fallout being explored in the previous two episodes, it was nice for this episode to be on the lighter side.
I liked the choice by the writers to break the episode up with three smaller stories–A, B, and C. The A story focusing on Joan’s struggles in trying to return to work, the B story focusing on Elena discovering who her arranged future husband is, and the C story focusing on Viv’s desire to explore a nude beach.
Last week’s episode briefly touched on Joan’s desire to return to work, however in this episode we actually see it happen. I felt that the struggles that Joan felt as a new working mother and the sexual harassment that women would have been subjected to in that era, were portrayed realistically without banging it over the viewers’ heads which I appreciated. I’m glad that Lance got his comeuppance and that Andrew put him in his place, but what I found most interesting was Andrew’s choice to hire Simon over Joan. I honestly couldn’t call it and I would love to know the logic behind his choice, whether he chose Simon because he is an old chauvinist beneath his progressive exterior or whether Simon really is better for the job. On a smaller note, I did enjoy baby Laura’s attempt at baptism and Joan’s subsequent DIY baptism as bookends for both the A story and the episode.
I felt that the B story would have been just as strong as the A story, if Joan wasn’t the focus of the A story. While we have been witness to several scenes of the new Stanton House girls, this is the first episode of the season that spends quality time focusing on and developing them. I loved the interactions between Debbie, Rita and Elena, especially in the car, as it shows their progressing friendship. I liked the brief moment of Debbie’s vulnerability on display with her love letter and although I found the outcome of their search for Elena’s future husband obvious, there was enough heart in both Paolos that I can give it a pass. Also, Rita’s pain was a nice bit of deception for the viewers and provided the perfect opportunity for Lance to receive his comeuppance.
The C story of Viv’s desire to explore a nude beach was minor in comparison to the other two, however I have a feeling that this will be addressed in later episodes. However I did like that Viv made a new friend outside of the main girls, or what are left of them–Annie’s and Shirley’s absence or departure still hasn’t been addressed, I hope the writers won’t go down the path of House Husbands‘ writers and pretend that they never existed.
On a smaller note, Simon’s car was a subtle and strong thread between the three stories. I also like the writers’ choice to subtly insert Simon and Martha’s conflicting thoughts on having children in the background of the episode, which will obviously be explored later. I also enjoyed Chloe Bayliss’ (of Doctor Doctor fame) cameo and it was great to see her in another fantastic Aussie drama
Overall I enjoyed this episode, while I at first thought that there were too many things going on, now that I think about it, with Patty’s death having to be addressed and its dark subject matter taking up two episodes, lost time for lighter plots needed to be made up and the three stories was the perfect way to do it.