Archive | September 2017

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 7 (Picture of Innocence)

This episode had a sweet vibe but ended in a sad way.

For once, Penny and Hugh didn’t dominate the episode, don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces but it’s always refreshing to have the main players in the background every once in a while. With this episode, Hayley, Ajax and Meryl were front and centre with the Miss Whyhope competition kicking off the episode and continuing in the background throughout.

The Miss Whyhope competition provided some great scenery and interesting albeit unusual action, due to the changes in the competition made by Charlie, who was running it. The conflict between Meryl and Charlie on the changing of the competition format to mix modern and intelligent events, with the previous and slightly outdated events, was well played and riveting. The reveal that Meryl’s mother founded the competition and disappointment in her (Meryl’s) inability to win, was solid and unexpected character development. Due to Meryl’s manipulative nature, it is very rare that the viewers are given a real insight into who she really is. As I have stated in previous reviews, Meryl generally draws her morally questionable line at possibly hurting Hayley, and she does so again when she realises how harsh she is being on Hayley and stops herself from cheating for her.

While Hayley is feeling the pressure from Meryl to win Miss Whyhope, she is mostly oblivious to Ajax’s crush on her competitor, Millie. This subplot was the highlight of the episode, even though as a viewer I didn’t enjoy the outcome. The reason why it was the highlight was due to the fact that until now, the writers have never messed with Ajax and Hayley’s relationship.

I felt that Ajax asking for advice from Matt and Hugh, and eventually admitting his crush to Hayley rather than actually sleeping with Millie, was completely true to his character. It broke my heart as a viewer to see Hayley break off the engagement, however as a writer I’m interested in seeing what will happen next for them. I suspect they’ll eventually get their happily ever after, but the journey to it will hopefully be intriguing, but not drawn out like Hugh and Penny. I felt that Hayley’s well-deserved win and the revelation that Millie is a lesbian was a nice twist and a nice dose of karma for Ajax. I appreciated the ending of this subplot and the episode with Ajax going to Hugh for comfort, as it shows character development in both of them, as they are embracing their relationship as father and son.

Meanwhile, the Hugh and Penny subplot I felt was too hyped, considering how their almost hook-up fizzled out. I found their reason for their date–the stent prototype coming together–was true to their characters. I felt that the insertion of the positive drug test to add a conflict was a little too obvious, but it embedded well with the hospital drama. I also felt that Penny airing her anger via asking Hugh about whether he has cheated on previous girlfriends, was cliche and forced. As a writer, their almost hook-up fizzling out didn’t surprise me, but I’m wondering how long the writers are planning to drag this out as it is now feeling forced rather than natural.

Overall this episode was fantastic in regards to the Hayley/Ajax (or Hayjax, a portmanteau created by someone going by the name of Zulu, in their comment on one of Chloe Bayliss’ Instagram posts) and Miss Whyhope subplot, however it fell flat in regards to Penny and Hugh.

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Hugh’s positive drug test result, and the little girl with severe asthma needing two procedures to clear her airways. The reveal of the house that she and her family lived in being a former meth lab, which affected Hugh’s drug test, was a nice touch.

Dora sighting: None. I couldn’t spot her, it’s likely that I missed her, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

-Hayley’s last name is revealed in this episode (Mills).

-Meryl states that her mother established the Miss Whyhope competition 30 years ago, yet in the tribute Charlie states the competition was established in 1961 (55+ years ago). This is the first noticeable continuity problem that I’ve come across in the series so far.

-Ken and Betty were picked as secret judges and their cute little arguments on doing the job was hilarious.

Best one liners:

  • “If I turn out to be pregnant I’ll be really pissed” (Mia after taking the drug test)
  • “I’m sure the corpse enjoyed it” (Hugh to Penny on a mishap Penny talks about that happened to her at uni)

The Wrong Girl–Season 2, Episode 5

So Jack and Lily are engaged…or they seem to be. But I’ll get to that.

Four weeks have passed since Jack left to go on the road with Gillian. Jack comes back due to a break from filming and is acting suspiciously. Of course, Lily and the viewers jump to the cliche conclusion that Jack and Gillian have hooked up and thankfully they haven’t. Instead we find out that Jack is a little sick of Gillian at the moment, which I personally didn’t buy as there were no hints to suggest this, even though the viewers are meant to be mislead, you can’t pluck things out of nowhere either.

Throughout the episode, the issues that Lily and Jack are avoiding finally come to a head, with Jack telling Lily that he doesn’t know how to be with her if she can’t see a future with him. While a break-up would be the most realistic outcome after a conversation like this, of course it doesn’t happen as the season is nowhere near over and the story arc needs to keep going, so naturally they talk, miss seeing each other, and resolve their issues. I appreciated the writers’ choice to end the episode with Lily about to propose rather than having her give a cliche and cheesy proposal.

The other things going on in the background–Bernard and Mimi’s “relationship”, Nikkii’s struggle to be sexy, and the Alice-Simone-Vincent love triangle–were nice breaks in the episode from the Lily-Jack story.

I enjoyed the contrast between how Anthony treats Mimi and how Bernard treats her, as awkward and cringeworthy as Bernard has been throughout the series, he is going through some great character development through his relationship with Mimi, especially with the reveal of how sweet he can be.

I found Nikkii’s struggle to be sexy and her and Pete’s subsequent hookup to be unrealistic and it didn’t really add anything to this episode, however I think it will come up again in future episodes as these moments between them were never fully resolved or concluded.

The Alice-Simone-Vincent love triangle was subtly addressed in this episode, with Simone finally admitting to Lily and herself that she loves Vincent. This, and Jack and Lily’s engagement, are the turning points for this season and I’m looking forward to seeing them being played out over the remainder of the season.

Overall this episode was solid but not spectacular, there were definite crucial moments however it didn’t feel as strong as the previous episode.

 

Stray Observations:

-Apparently Jack and Lily have sex three times a week.

-Apparently The Breakfast Bar runs a “Logies campaigns” every year.

The Wrong Girl–Season 2, Episode 4

So in this episode we discover that some of the characters aren’t who they appear to be.

With the A story, we have the fiasco of leaked footage of Eric sexually harassing Erica on air years ago. While Eric has been created as unlikeable with his clearly sexist and old-fashioned opinions, in this episode he becomes a more likeable character with the revelations that he has four daughters to support and apparently has strained relationships with them, that he loves babies, and that when Erica pushed Eric, he was genuinely shocked by how hurt she was by his behaviour. One of the most interesting aspects of this story was the reveal that Eric and Erica were best friends for 15 years, which I feel is inconsistent with what has been shown throughout the series, but as I’m yet to read the series’ source material, I’ll give it a pass. Another interesting aspect was that Lily was the antagonist in this story by her choice to leak the footage, while it all conveniently and predictably worked out in the end, for the first time she is truly unlikeable and I hope it is the last we see of these qualities.

The B story of Meredith’s and Pete’s opposing views on vaccination was interesting but a little underwhelming. I felt that both of their opposing views were portrayed accurately and in good taste. Pete’s drastic actions to vaccinate Manisha were predictable, however I appreciated that the writers didn’t drag on the vaccination debate by having Meredith have a change of heart. I found that Meredith’s reaction to Pete’s revelation by moving out and Mitch offering Pete to live but not live with them, a little odd, however I would like to see how it plays out in future episodes.

Meanwhile, Simone and Mimi go out together as single ladies on the prowl, these scenes and Simone subsequently losing Mimi were hilarious. I hope we see more of them as “BFFs”.

Simone and Vincent’s sexual tension, and the Gillian-Jack-Lily love triangle were barely addressed in this episode, which I didn’t mind.

Overall this was a strong episode with great character development.

 

Stray Observations:

-“Shake that cash”.

-Ivan cleaning Mimi’s gutters in the background of Simone and Vincent’s argument was hilarious, it’s hard to go wrong with background jokes.

-Eric is a surprisingly great ukelele singer-songwriter, especially loved his consideration of Nikkii in his song by clarifying to her that she’s “not through” on The Breakfast Bar.

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 6 (Penny For Your Thoughts)

I felt that this episode was a bit of a filler or rather a springboard for the remainder of the season.

The main focus of this episode was Toke clearly wanting to propose to Penny. Ironically this was a clear sign that the relationship was clearly going to end as they have barely had much of a relationship due to its long distance nature, and he hasn’t really bonded with Floyd. What I appreciated the most about this A story was that rather than going down the cliche route of Toke leaving Penny due to her role as a mother, he leaves her because of their lack of compatibility and to follow his own dreams. I also enjoyed Penny asking him the three questions before answering his one, as it was smart and realistic writing for the situation.

One part of the A story that wasn’t realistic was the ultimatum that Hugh gave Penny, it was rather odd for his character and didn’t add to the plot. Hugh rashly asking Kimberley to move in with him was more true to his character, and thankfully that didn’t happen. However now that Toke is gone, it will be interesting to see how the Penny-Hugh non-relationship is addressed, especially with Penny’s choice to walk away from Hugh at the end of the episode.

Now that Meryl is no longer mayor and she’s out of hot water, she now needs something or someone else to play with, in this case, Mr Collins. Charlie is fired for what she calls her “progressive teaching methods”, however due to hers and Matt’s financial situation, she needs to ask for her job back and in the process, finds out that Mr Collins has a rather unusual secret. I felt that the writers’ choice to have Meryl blackmail Mr Collins over his secret rather than Charlie, was spot on as blackmail is something Meryl not Charlie would resort to. I also enjoyed the twist of Charlie being promoted to Acting Principal during the P&C meeting when Mr Collins dramatically resigns when everyone favours Charlie getting her job back, without his secret being revealed.

On smaller notes, I enjoyed the introduction of sweet Downs Syndrome patient and gymnast, Max, in the Whyhope world, through Penny. I especially enjoyed his interactions with Penny and Floyd, hopefully we’ll see more of him in the future.

Overall this was another strong episode, however it wasn’t as strong as the previous episode.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Henry (Max’s dad) in a car accident, resulting in him being sent to Melbourne for treatment and Penny temporarily (for now) fostering Max.

Dora sighting: None. I couldn’t spot her, it’s likely that I missed her, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

-Mr Collins secret joy of dressing up and playing like a baby.

 

Best one liner:

  • “I’m going to need a coffee before roll call” (Floyd)

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 5 (Both Sides Now)

This episode introduced two new characters and explored the ramifications of the electoral fraud.

The introduction of Penny’s solicitor sister, Celia (Ella Scott Lynch), provided a breath of fresh air for the season. Her interactions with Penny at the beginning of the episode provided some one-liner gold and gave a nice insight into their relationship, however I felt her disposition as the “fun sister” to be cliche. I liked the juxtaposition between her interactions with Meryl and Hayley as their solicitor, and her interactions with Penny as her sister. With these interactions she plays a little dirty, both being a hindrance and a help to Meryl and Penny respectively. The most interesting part of her interactions with Penny was her revealing that Mark wasn’t always the perfect husband that Penny made him out to be. This revelation makes Penny’s reluctance to give in to her feelings for Hugh clear to the viewer and it actually makes sense now. I appreciated the writers’ choice to have Celia encourage Hugh to go after Penny, rather than going down the cliche route of being a one-night stand or a romantic obstacle.

The ramifications of the electoral fraud was interesting and finally came to a rather anti-climatic conclusion. What I enjoyed the most about the subplot was the moral dilemma thrown at Meryl by Celia, especially as it was the first one that has been thrown at her. It has already been made clear to the viewers that Meryl is corrupt and manipulative, however we have all been left to wonder exactly where she would draw the line, and in this B story we are finally shown—she draws the line at Hayley. Hayley and Meryl have always worked as a strong unit and when tempted to save her own skin by throwing her little protege under the bus, she actually does the right thing. For the first time Meryl is redeemable and likeable and I loved this moment. However I felt that her stepping down as mayor to prevent further consequences after episodes of build-up, was anti-climatic and fell flat too fast.

The introduction of Sergeant Darren (Uli Latukefu) was brief and unsatisfying, especially as the electoral fraud case was closed in the same episode. I especially loved the fact that he took Meryl’s advice on buying knitwear, hopefully we see more of him in the future.

The ending of the episode with Meryl overacting a heart attack and Hugh subsequently overacting his saving of her was hilarious.

Overall I believe this was the strongest episode of the season.

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: Ally, a Norwegian backpacker trapped in a farming vehicle and her subsequent complications.

Dora sighting: Behind Meryl while she is talking to Matt and Charlie at the farm.

A Place to Call Home alumni, Jenni Baird (Regina), as Norwegian backpacker, Hilda.

-Apparently Betty speaks Norwegian, knows about a hospital-style hangover cure, and owned a burlesque house in Shanghai.

-Celia teaching Ken how to pole dance involved nominating him as the pole.

-Ken’s sexual escapades with Celia involving the use of yoghurt and bananas and just stopping short of asphyxiation.

Best one liners:

  • “My husband died, that’s not a rut it’s a gaping hole” (Penny to Celia)
  • “It’s very early in the morning for judgement and abuse” (Penny to Celia)
  • “Dinner tonight, bring condoms, I mean wine” (Celia to Hugh)

 

The Wrong Girl–Season 2, Episode 3

Well this episode revolved around what looked like a marriage proposal, when it was obvious from the beginning there wouldn’t be one.

The episode starts with Lily finding her grandmother’s ring in Jack’s pocket and the panic kicks off from there, going back in time 24 hours. The fact that Lily was panicking and even dreading having to deal with the thought of a proposal, is clearly another hint that her relationship is not going to work out. This A story was already predictable, without the addition of another cliche conflict in Jack’s fellow-chef slash ex-girlfriend, Gillian (Natalie Bassingthwaighte). I haven’t seen Natalie Bassingthwaighte in acting action since her Neighbours days. While her character has been added for the necessary cliche romantic conflict, I’m looking forward to seeing her come into play in future episodes. I felt that as she was only just introduced that she really didn’t shine in this episode.

I actually enjoyed The Breakfast Bar subplot more than the Lily-Jack A story. I felt it was very gutsy of the writers’ to tackle a current real-world issue and manage to pull it off with a respectable amount of humour. I felt that Eric’s “six signs” that he informs Lily about came straight out of an article in Cosmo, however they were a nice way to bring the viewer back to the A story.  My theory on Nikkii eclipsing Eric’s popularity was proven when Lily tries to cheer him up in his office. I also enjoyed the scenes between Shaun and Lily with him questioning her on her professional choices and the quality of The Breakfast Bar, something which the viewers haven’t seen any other character do.

I enjoyed the B story with Vincent trying to figure out how to be intimate with Alice and later Simone. While Vincent’s paralysis and the limitations it presents in his day-to-day life were briefly explored last season, this season the writers’ have the made the choice to bring them to the surface and develop his character more, which I appreciate. This episode also marks the first time we are given a glimpse into his and Simone’s lives as roommates and possibly a couple in the near future, especially since they almost had sex. I was disappointed as a viewer that Simone stopped herself for an unexplained reason, most likely her fear of relationships, even more so when she was later disappointed at Vincent giving things another go with Alice, but as a writer it makes sense–if the sexual tension is gone, it’s a boring story.

Overall this episode wasn’t the best, but I appreciated the exploration of Vincent and Simone’s relationship and the introduction of Gillian and Shaun.

 

Stray Observations:

-The six signs that a man is about to propose (according to Eric):

  1. Saying “we’re a team”
  2. Increasing touch
  3. Meeting the family
  4. The presence of new jewellery boxes
  5. Buying a house
  6. Secret meetings with dad

-Best one liner:

  • “Relax, I’ve seen you both naked” (Simone to Jack and Lily)

Doctor Doctor–Season 2, Episode 4 (The Great Campaign)

I emphasised in my review of last week’s episode that the episode revolved around character development, this week’s episode revolved around plot/story arc development.

This week’s episode was split into A, B and C stories. The A story being Ajax’s work experience at the hospital, the B story being the recount of the council election ballots, and the C story being who would inherit the Knight family farm after Jim passes.

The A story provided solid hospital drama starting with the fatal plane crash, which lead to revelation of how the hospital handles dead bodies when it lacks a morgue, to Brian’s death. The most interesting part about this story was the fact that we are seeing the hospital from a different perspective, we are seeing it from Ajax’s eyes–a sweet, innocent and idealistic teenager. I also enjoyed the character development between Ajax and Hugh, as Ajax’s experiences with death at the hospital led to his unresolved issues with Hugh and his mother’s death coming to the surface. The ending of this story and the episode with Betty helping Ajax spiritually deal with his issues regarding death was perfect and incredibly sweet.

The B story of the recount of the council election ballots added much needed comic relief and balance to the episode. While there were some serious moments with Rod’s ill health, it was mostly comic with “Why Throat” revealed to be Rod’s own wife, and Rod and Meryl’s chuckling encounter on the street. This story arc is clearly far from over despite the fact that Meryl legitimately won, as Tugger shows the footage of Hayley tipping off the police to Meryl and subsequently reveals she is leaving, and that a tough city cop will be replacing her and investigating Meryl. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story arc will progress.

The C story of the conflict between Matt, Charlie, Meryl and Jim, over who will inherit the farm when Jim passes away was understated but also underwhelming. The promos made it out to be this big drama, when in reality it was a brief conflict that was glazed over. The reveal of the “tradition” being the “eldest son of the eldest son” inheriting the farm, which means that it will go to Hugh, so it goes to Ajax and Hayley, so they have a secure future, was unexpected but also made sense. While the glamping scenery was interesting and aesthetically pleasing, I didn’t really feel it added all that much to the episode, and the reveal of Jac having ulterior journalistic motives was predictable.

On smaller notes, the Hugh-Penny-Toke love triangle was subtly addressed with a hilarious fight scene and a solid hospital scene. Despite the tension, the three of them actually make a great medical team, and I loved that Penny would prefer to see them fighting than fawning over each other.

Overall this was a solid episode with concise and well-paced writing, and superb performances by the entire cast, especially Matt Castley (Ajax) and Patrick Wilson (Rod).

 

 

Stray Observations:

Hospital Drama: The plane crash, the death of Brian, and Rod’s emergency heart surgery.

Dora sighting: At the glamping site when Matt and Jim are talking about who inherits the farm.

Throwbacks to season one: Penny’s and Hugh’s mutual fear of flying.

-Penny and Hugh sedating each other to get through the flight back to Whyhope was hilariously cute.

-The Whyhope Hospital lacking a morgue and the subsequent fridge jokes and moments, provides another glimpse into the realities of rural medicine.

-Mia finally kissed Ken.

-Apparently Charlie’s maiden name was Priera.

-Charlie’s book has another fan in Jac.

Best one liners:

  • “Hey, that’s my badminton arm!” (Floyd to Hugh)