Playing for Keeps–Season 1, Episode 2

Now that the pilot has come and gone and the premise has been established, the show can now focus on its main story arc—the mystery of Jack’s death.

The episode kicks off with Jack’s memorial service, where Rusty is drinking too much and Paige comforts Jessie. When Brian and Kath go home the press are waiting for them and Brian loses his cool, while Kath tries to calmly steer them away, later telling Brian to pull his head in. These moments provided a good insight into how the coach, players and the WAGs handle the press.

Brian reveals to Kath that Jack’s death may not have been an accident as the cause of his head injury doesn’t match with boys’ recount of the events. Jack’s autopsy report shows that he had oxycodone and xanax in his system when he died and he asks Lauren about it. She proceeds to tell him that no competent doctor would prescribe that combination, and Jack tells her he’s not questioning her competence and he’s trying to protect her, she tells him she doesn’t need protection. These moments, as well as her phone call the previous night while Brian’s at home with Kath, and her staring at him from a distance after the first game is over, are the only moments where their affair is touched on, but I digress. Who gave Jack the combination of the meds is one question that’s raised, that’s yet to be answered.

Meanwhile Paige manages to make a few blunders in this episode—telling Jessie that she saw and overheard her and Rusty talking at Brian’s barbecue, which she also tells Dan about, she also starts her first day at her new high school teaching job where her students mock her about a photo of her at Tahlia’s launch that went viral and she has a fight with them (off screen), and she tries to get her boss to meet the players at the lounge only to forget to take her pass with her, and misses being there for Dan. I would have liked to have seen Paige’s apparent fight with the kids, but overall there was some great character development with her.

Tahlia’s subplot was the most interesting one as she finally reveals to Connor that she knows he was adopted, and simultaneously inadvertently reveals this to his mother as Connor forgot to hang up after finishing his phone call with her. Again, I would have liked to have seen what would have been the dramatic fight between them unfold, nevertheless it ended on a good note with Connor admitting to Tahlia that he doesn’t know why he didn’t tell her, and Tahlia reassuring him that she doesn’t care where or rather who he comes from.

Maddy’s subplot wasn’t addressed as much as Paige’s or Tahlia’s. Maddy is having trouble adjusting to her new role at work and Trav goes behind her back and signs on for another year with the club, throwing their plans into disarray. Maddy gets a bit of payback during sex with Trav, a topic that Paige brought up at the beginning of the episode. I’m hoping Maddy and Trav’s relationship is delved into further as the season progresses.

This is also the first episode where a game is played as the season has started, where a minute silence is held for Jack, Paige experiences the corporate box for the first time, and Dan ends up kicking the winning goal in the last few seconds. The green screen effects were a little too obvious, but other than that the minor focus on the game added another layer to the show.

In the final moments of the episode, Brian reveals to Kath that the inquest will be announced next week, and of all people, Dan is the one to reveal that Jack was still alive after his kayak overturned. He also revealed it was Connor’s idea to leave Jack behind floating in the river, and that Dan pushed Rusty out of the way and tried his best to revive him via CPR. This adds another layer to the mystery and confirms the findings of the autopsy report. Personally, I think it’s too easy for the murderer to be Rusty, but I could be wrong, as it was Connor’s idea to leave Jack behind, he’s also a plausible suspect.

Overall this was a solid episode with great character development and slow but fantastic progression on the mystery of Jack’s death.


Best one liners and interactions:

  • “I really like your lack of bullshit” “it’s not a conscious choice more of a default setting” (Jessie–Paige)
  • “Red or white?” “I don’t care I love it all!” (Jesse–Paige on wine)
  • “Don’t eat the avocado, I needed something green for show” (Paige to Dan on the breakfast in bed she made him)
  • “I went with a different approach…I started a fight” (Paige’s answer to Kath’s question on how she supported Dan on the morning of his first game).

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