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Charlie on the changing of the competition format to mix modern and intelligent events, with the previous and slightly outdated events, was well played and riveting.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.
–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)