I’ve decided to keep writing these reviews character by character.
Matt and Charlie—I’m starting the review with them due to Nicole da Silva’s departure. The episode and their subplot kicks off with Ivy trying to hitchhike out of Whyhope only for Darren to stop and arrest her for stealing a marijuana plant and return her to Matt and Charlie. As Matt and Charlie aren’t related to her, Child Services were notified of Ivy’s arrest which leads to Darren proposing that they become her foster parents.
This leads to the episode-long debate/argument between Matt and Charlie, which inevitably leads to their overdue break-up—Charlie wants to foster Ivy and Matt doesn’t, and Charlie makes the decision to go to Bali with Ivy to find her mother. While this outcome was a long time coming, especially with da Silva’s need to go on maternity leave, it wasn’t any less sad. That being said, I haven’t come across any news confirming that da Silva has permanently departed, so she may return next season, if there is another one.
Hugh, Meryl, Matt and Ajax—Hugh’s decision at the end of the previous episode plays out in this one. Hugh’s real estate agent, Sam, puts the farm on the market valuing it at $11 million and an offer comes in for $14 million. While this will solve all of the family’s problems, mostly Hugh’s, he does this without telling the rest of the family. He at first tells Matt who gets them thrown out of a pub due to drowning his sorrows over Charlie, and then he tells Meryl and Ajax when he discovers that they put in a tender to build a cemetery to solve the problem.
The idea to turn Arcadia into a cemetery comes from Ajax as he is initially protesting the move of the original cemetery as his mother is buried there. At the protest he finds out from another protestor exactly how much it costs for a body to be moved and then he has the light bulb moment to use that as a way to keep Arcadia. I found Meryl and Ajax collaborating on this odd idea hilarious and I hope they actually pull it off. At the end of the episode when Matt informs Hugh that Charlie is leaving, he ultimately encourages Hugh to sell Arcadia, admitting that they’ve been fighting for things to stay the same since Jim died. The episode closed on the For Sale sign on Arcadia, it will be interesting to see whether it is actually sold or if Meryl and Ajax pull the cemetery idea off.
Hugh, Penny and Pari—Turns out Ginger the Whinger was serious about reporting Hugh. Although this was touched on in the previous episode when Penny tells Hugh he received a complaint from AHPRA, the consequences are played out in this episode. Dr Pari Thompson (Andrea Demetriades) is the rep from AHPRA following up the complaint by shadowing Hugh. Apparently she knows him but he doesn’t remember her.
Although Pari shadowing Hugh and his attempts to avoid her were hilarious, this subplot really became exciting when it interweaved with everyone else. Hayley and Ivy are riding horses in the middle of town, where Betty and Darren are walking nearby, Hugh and Matt have just been kicked out of the pub, and Hugh narrowly manages to avoid Pari. Hayley goes to take a selfie, drops her phone and falls off her horse to get it, which spooks Ivy’s horse, which takes off, Mia has to come to her rescue, while Hugh and Matt are tending to Hayley, Mia and Ivy just miss getting hit by a car, which swerves and ends up hitting Pari.
While Pari is being treated by Hugh, Penny and the hospital crew, it’s revealed that Pari knew Hugh not from a sexual dalliance, which viewers would most likely think, but from when he put a mechanical valve in her heart. He couldn’t remember her because he put the valve in seven years earlier. Whilst Pari is recovering, she completes her investigation of Hugh by getting Penny’s opinion of him as his supervisor, and true to her character and despite their personal life issues, she gives him a positive review. Interestingly, Penny’s drinking and her outburst to Hugh in the previous episode were never mentioned or touched upon in this episode.
Betty and Darren—Their subplot was the highlight of the episode by far. In the previous episode, Darren admits to Ken that he likes Betty, however he didn’t start pursuing her until this episode. The most interesting aspect of this episode was that Betty was flustered rather than her usual confident, all-knowing self, which was refreshing to see. Betty agrees to go on a first date with Darren, only to bring Mia along, due to her fears, which upsets Darren a little. I liked the motif of irises throughout their subplot, especially when Darren gives them to her as an apology and allows her to set the pace. The conclusion of their subplot with Betty kissing Darren whilst he’s arresting someone, was hilarious as it’s cute and true to her character. I’m looking forward to seeing their relationship develop in the remaining episodes of the season.
Overall this was a solid episode with a realistic reason for da Silva’s departure, a new couple in the form of Betty and Darren, and solid writing with the AHPRA-Pari subplot.
Dora sighting: At Arcadia, standing next to Hayley whilst she’s reading and talking to Ivy.
-Despite his anger, Ajax still manages to make the most polite picket sign ever.
-Matt gives sleeping on the couch a whole new meaning when he chooses to sleep on the one outside the house.
-According to Meryl, making the burial arrangements on Arcadia is more stressful and harder than seating charts for a wedding.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “Why do you have a letter from AHPRA?” “We’re penpals.” (Penny-Hugh)
- “You’re not exactly what I had in mind when I asked for a farm hand!” (Matt to Jimmy)
- “First dates are awful, it’s one hour of awkward small talk and six days of post-date analysis” (Betty to Ken about first dates)
- “A hole to get us out of a hole…I like the poetry of that.” (Meryl to Ajax on the idea to turn Arcadia into a cemetery)
- “Who wants to be buried next to a sleazy old uncle for eternity!” (Meryl to Ajax when they’re using Monopoly hotels and houses to figure out the burial arrangements on Arcadia plans)