So this episode was a double episode apparently.
This episode took the characters and the focus back to Walperinga as Layla has organised for the old band, Cardiac Arrest, to play at the pub with Billie. While they’re all there, they also run into Gus in the most hilarious way, but I’ll get to that.
I liked the writers’ choice to break the season up with the change of scenery, especially as it enabled Billie to run into Gus and for the truth about his failing health to finally come out. While I was expecting a cancer diagnosis, I was actually pleasantly surprised for the reveal to be a genetic health condition as a cancer diagnosis would be a bit of a cliche. Billie’s efforts and pleas to get him to have surgery were heartbreaking and well played.
Another interesting aspect of the episode was Chris and Billie reading and trying to figure out her contract with the record company. While Chris and Billie have had brief scenes together, this is the first time that we see them having in-depth conversations and interactions. Despite his tough exterior and initial distrust of her last season, Chris clearly loves Billie and cares deeply about her professional well-being by warning her of the contract risks, going with her to Walperinga to help her understand it within the time limit, and trying to re-negotiate it altogether. I enjoyed the scenes in the car between Chris, Matt and Billie, as Chris reveals the contract risks to Billie, showing how much their relationship as siblings has progressed.
His relationship with Billie is not the only character development we see in Chris, in fact this episode was almost entirely devoted to it. As Matt continues to watch the video made by their late mother, he discovers that Chris wanted Jack’s approval and Chris discovers that Matt is still watching the video to his horror, which leads to him starting a physical fight with Matt. The fight scenes between them were both funny and hard to watch in their realism, especially as Chris has never been shown as violent. The most enjoyable moment of these scenes was ultimately Billie pulling them both by the hair to break the fight up.
Despite his limited scenes, Gus stole every single one of them with his both hilarious and heartbreaking antics. I certainly didn’t see the reveal of the fact that his doctor is also Layla’s mum coming, however I also felt that Gus’ desire to die and subsequently changing his mind when he hears Billie sing was a cliche.
When Chris, Matt, Billie and Layla return, they are blindsided by the arrival of Matt’s ex-girlfriend, Anna. While I know Susan brought her back into the picture purely to get her way, in writing terms Anna’s introduction was forced and rushed to enable the equally rushed inevitable break-up between Matt and Layla. I felt that the hiking scenes were only inserted for the purpose of the break-up.
Anna’s return isn’t the only thing that four of them are blindsided by, while it’s of no surprise to the viewer, the record company’s true colours and intentions are inadvertently revealed to Billie, Chris and Layla, which predictably but rightly results in her tearing up the contract. Due to the obvious outcome of this subplot and Marc’s request earlier in the episode to have her sing at his event, I see a record contract through Marc coming.
Throughout it all Harriet and Susan’s deteriorating relationship is faintly present throughout the episode with Harriet’s choice to throw a party when Susan leaves and the subsequent consequences, and Susan’s dinner and hook-up with the potential hotel buyer, Andrew Weston. I appreciated the writers’ choice to have their relationship in the background of this episode as it didn’t really add to it, however Susan’s actions, especially of Andrew’s cliche proposal, will eventually play out in a later episode, most likely the finale. I also appreciated the writers’ choice not to focus on Marc and Billie’s developing relationship, as I felt it would have taken away from the Walperinga subplot.
Overall this was one of the best episodes of The Secret Daughter that I’ve seen to date due to the change of scenery, change of focus, and character development with Chris, as well as the development of the sibling relationship between him, Matt and Billie.
-Gus riding a lawn mower and eventually jumping over the fence into random people’s backyards, complete with snatching a snag at a BBQ and being hosed down, has to be the funniest police chase I’ve ever seen.
-I enjoyed watching Chris chugging beer in the pub along with Billie’s subsequent reaction.
-Billie didn’t interact with Harriet and Susan at all, at least not directly and on her own, in this episode.
–Best one liners:
- “I always knew how easy he was on me but I didn’t know how tough he was on you.” (Matt to Chris on Jack as a father).