Well this episode was a rollercoaster.
I found the A story of Hugh’s “Las Vegas” wife, Harriet (Genevieve Hegney), coming to Whyhope was a great distraction from the kidney transplant. However I also felt it was another forced spanner in the works for Hugh and Penny’s “non-relationship”. I felt absolutely frustrated when Hugh gave into temptation with Harriet, in fact I found him just plain unlikeable when he was around her. That being said, the most interesting part of her introduction was the development of her character throughout the episode. She wasn’t a stereotype or one dimensional, she had depth with the reveal of her recent sobriety after years of alcohol and drug addiction, which resulted in the breakdown of her marriage to Hugh.
I felt that her attempts to make amends and her amends themselves were sincere and I actually grew to like her. I also enjoyed the backstory into their marriage and her interactions with Betty at the A.A. meeting. However I felt that Hugh’s request to ask her to stay at the end of the episode was another forced obstacle to keep him and Penny apart, and due to its obvious nature, I frankly didn’t like it at all. However I’m looking forward to seeing it played out in next week’s finale, especially as her intentions and her true nature haven’t been made completely clear yet.
Meanwhile, I also enjoyed the balance of emotion and comedy with the transplant subplot being paralleled with Harriet’s return, however I felt Hugh’s heart attack was only added to fuel the Hugh-Penny-Harriet love triangle. I also found the dream sequence of Hugh’s love life flashing before his eyes to be cliche but humorous. I’m not sure how Dora fitted into the equation, nevertheless it was the most creative sighting of her ever.
The B story of Betty’s jealousy of Ken and Mia’s relationship was much more intriguing and well written than the A story. I loved the character development of Ken and Betty’s friendship with the reveals that they have their own book club and regularly play one-on-one netball games. I didn’t buy the possibility of Betty having feelings for Ken as the idea has never presented itself throughout the series, and the kiss between them felt cliche and forced, however it redeemed itself with its outcome. The outcome of both Ken and Betty feeling nothing and the latter realising that she just misses their friendship, was more realistic and true to their characters. The ending of this story with Ken and Betty expanding their friendship by inviting Mia and Darren to their netball game was very sweet and I hope we see more of this friendship group in the future.
I felt that the Ajax-Hayley C story was weak due to the fact that the outcome was predictable–they were always going to get back together. However I enjoyed the way in which Charlie taught Hayley a lesson in harmless desire.
Overall this episode was mostly solid, however its strength was undermined by its rollercoaster-like nature. While there were some fantastic one-liners, to me this didn’t feel like a penultimate episode, but I’ll see what happens and how I feel when I watch the finale next week.
I would also to congratulate the Doctor Doctor cast and crew on their renewal, I’m looking forward to seeing season 3 next year.
–Hospital Drama: Jim’s kidney transplant and Hugh’s subsequent heart attack. For the first time, the hospital drama was outside of Whyhope.
–Dora sighting: In front of Hugh’s car in his “love life flashing before his eyes” dream sequence as he was having a heart attack.
-Surprisingly Betty was once an alcoholic, but has managed to turn it around through 12 years of sobriety and leading the Whyhope A.A. meetings.
-Apparently Hugh has 99 days, 7 hours and 42 minutes left of his probation.
–Best one liners:
- “Can you castrate my husband?” (Nameless patient to Hugh after being diagnosed with Herpes).
- “Did we just witness a murder-suicide pact?” (Not sure if this was Hugh or Matt, feel free to correct me).
- “Will the transplant be as painful as this is for you?” (Jim to Hugh on Harriet bonding with the rest of the family, especially Charlie).
- “He is handsome and very organised!” (Betty on Ken’s attractive qualities).
- “Please ignore the burp and continue” (Dream Sequence Penny).