As it has been a year since the season 1 finale aired, I had to re-read my review on it to be able to review this episode, even though Mauboy provided a voiceover summary of the season at the beginning.
My review of the finale focused on Harriet’s misguided actions and mistakes to keep Billie around, Susan pretending to be nice to Billie in an effort to avoid a lawsuit by her, Billie performing in Jack’s Bar in front of a record producer (portrayed by INXS’ Kirk Pengilly), Billie finding out that she’s not a Norton and discovering it was okay for her to have feelings for Jamie, Billie running away with Gus, and Susan lying about her departure to Jamie.
The episode kicks off with Billie and Gus travelling home on the train and apparently according to Susan, a couple of weeks have passed since the finale. I’m not sure if this is a continuity error (especially as there are unfortunately a few in this episode) or whether Billie and Gus just took their sweet time getting back home.
I felt it was an interesting choice to have the episode briefly focus on Billie finding another side to her family through her mother, unfortunately I felt it was just a distraction away from the Norton side of things. It felt forced and awfully convenient, especially the moment Aunty tells Billie to go back to the city. That being said, the moments from this brief subplot paid off with subtlety throughout the episode, with the warm welcome Billie received from her mother’s side of the family contrasting beautifully with her tension with Susan. I felt that the photo of Billie as child confirming that she is in fact a Norton was a nice throwback to the pilot, not to mention a full circle way to provide the confirmation.
Meanwhile back in the city, it’s revealed that Hannah’s actions in last year’s penultimate episode and finale are now common knowledge to Chris and Jamie. I actually enjoyed the moments of sibling bonding between Chris, Jamie and Billie throughout the episode, as it was something that couldn’t be touched on last season due to the uncertainty of whether Billie was really a Norton. I also enjoyed the moments between Billie and Susan as they are finally addressing Susan’s hatred for Billie. Billie’s choice to stick around wasn’t a surprise, there would be no season if she didn’t. These moments contrast beautifully with tense moments between Susan and Harriet, as Harriet inadvertently exposed Susan’s airport lie to the family.
It didn’t surprise me that Kirk Pengilly didn’t reappear as the record producer and that another opportunity to start a singing career was presented to Billie, as it’s a reason to keep her in the city and with the Nortons. Unfortunately I felt that her dance performance in the record company’s office was cheesy and over-the-top.
On smaller notes, I appreciated that Billie and Jamie’s feelings were addressed especially at Layla’s hand, although I found it weird that Layla and Jamie would still date after that. My favourite moment of the episode was actually Layla locking Jamie and Billie out so they can deal with it, and her subsequently watching them via the CCTV cameras, alongside Chris at the reception desk. I also loved Billie and Jamie’s thumbs up to the camera, knowing that they were being watched. I also appreciated the hints of Gus suffering from a yet-to-be-identified serious health condition, which will obviously be explored this season.
The addition of James Sweeny to the cast as the wealthy Marc Laurent will hopefully provide a breath of fresh air to the series. I felt Marc and Billie’s first and second meetings to be cliche, and apparently he’s been introduced as a love interest for Billie, so it will be interesting to see how this is played out throughout the season.
Overall I felt this was a good but not great season premiere, I felt that the closure of the Billie-Jamie subplot and the confirmation of Billie as a Norton after all of the sample-swap drama from last season, was messy. That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing what this season will bring.
-The train that Billie and Gus were travelling on certainly looks nicer than those on offer through NSW TrainLink.
-The little girl that Billie’s Aunty says is her niece would actually be her second cousin (continuity error).
–Best one liners:
- “It’s easy to be good on you” (Jamie to Billie).
- “I guess that goes for you too” (Aunty to Gus in regards to his place in Billie’s mother’s family).