This episode picks up where we left off and focuses more on the minor characters–especially Harriet and Layla.
Harriet’s anger at Susan for her ignoring her needs, as well as her treatment of Billie, comes to a head when she looks into “divorcing” Susan and trying to sell her share of the motel–both of which she tries without success. Interestingly when she has the chance to get away from her mother in a realistic and more successful way, she reconsiders, which I’m hoping is played out later as it was left unresolved in this episode.
The bigger focus was on Layla trying to find independence and ultimately remove the label of “gold digger” that Susan put on her in the previous episode. I felt that her dissatisfaction with her life at the hotel and her attempts to find work were portrayed realistically for the most part, with the exception of the scene at the gardening shop which I felt was predictable. I appreciated the outcome of Billie and Layla moving out into their own place as it provides potential for character development and for great scenes away from the hotel.
The most interesting aspects of the episode for me were ultimately the ones that weren’t fully explored–Chris’ career dreams and Katrina, Jack’s first wife and the boys’ mother. Obviously her video diaries will lead to some sort of twist or obstacle in the overall story, however this is yet to be revealed, I did enjoy Chris’ and Matt’s reaction to seeing their mother again, especially Chris’, as Katrina was never mentioned and Chris’ character development wasn’t really explored in the previous season. I’m looking forwarding to seeing these aspects explored further.
On smaller notes, Gus has returned to Walperinga and his seemingly failing health is yet to be addressed. Also, I feel that Marc and Billie’s burgeoning relationship, if you will, is developing too quickly and that the writers are quickly demolishing the tension between them. I did enjoy their scenes in the bar, especially with the writers’ choice to turn the “man saving woman from a brute” cliche on its head by having Billie save herself and then make it clear to Marc that she doesn’t need saving. That being said while no viewer likes sexual or romantic tension to drag out, at the same time it’s not satisfying if it’s demolished too quickly. I also enjoyed Billie’s photo shoot at the studio, however due to the boss’ demands to have her photos severely altered in PhotoShop, specifically to lighten her skin, I see a sad betrayal-like outcome on the horizon.
I felt that the episode’s ending of Susan about to tell her solicitor of her plans to cut everyone out of the estate shows a lot of promise for future episodes–both for this developing story arc and for Susan’s character, especially as Harriet is calling her out on her behaviour and her jealousy of Billie is becoming transparent.
Overall this was one of the most interesting episodes I’ve seen, especially as the focus was more on the minor characters rather than the main players.
-The requests to have Billie’s photos severely altered in PhotoShop provides a sad but realistic glimpse into the expectations of women and their looks in the entertainment industry.
-The Walperinga Band (forgive me I can’t remember their name) that Billie was a part of makes a reappearance.
–Best one liners:
- “I like you so much better now that we don’t have to pretend” (a drunk Susan to Billie).
- “You’re a shocking liar, honesty suits you better.” (Marc to Billie)
- “For future reference, I don’t need saving.” (Billie to Marc)