Playing for Keeps–Season 1, Episode 4

Surprisingly this episode didn’t focus on the inquest or Rusty’s lying on the stand, instead this episode focused more on character development:

Maddie and Trav—Their subplot was brief but interesting. At Jack’s wake she mentioned that she was struggling with the additional responsibilities in her new job and in this episode it’s actually focused on as she manages to find pseudoephedrine to keep her awake so she can do all of her work. When Trav comes home and sees her, he is able to see it straight away, where they talk about his own similar past, where he reassures her that she’ll manage her career and family.

Later on he admits to her that he gave Jack drugs shortly before he died, which adds another piece to the puzzle of Jack’s death, especially as the coroner confirmed that his death was an accidental combination of a drug overdose and the head injury he sustained during the training exercise.

Brian and Kath—This episode also further explores Brian and Kath’s marriage as Rusty reveals to Brian that he knows about his affair with Lauren, which subsequently leads to Brian ending their 18-month affair. Brian tells Kath about it and they discuss their open marriage, revealing that they both agreed on it and Brian asks Kath whether she’d agree to close their marriage again, which she eventually does after hooking up with Connor again.

Kath speaks to Lauren at the pub and tells her that Brian did care about her and was even in love. This provides another interesting insight into Brian and Kath’s marriage as not only is it open and Kath knew about Lauren, but she also cares about Lauren and the relationship she has with Brian, which turns the “other woman” cliche on its head, which I appreciated.

Paige and Dan–There wasn’t really much of a focus there, other than the contrast emphasised between the pretty friend of Tahlia’s flirting with Dan at the event and Paige sitting at home eating Nutella out of the jar, and Paige subsequently fighting with him about it when he comes home. When Paige reveals that she has no friends due to the WAGs ditching her and her inability to bond with the other teachers at her school, Dan encourages her to get out more and is later happy for her when she makes up with the WAGs.

Paige, Lauren and the WAGs—Once Rusty reveals to Jessie that Carly went to the press with the affair rumours, the WAGs immediately apologise to Paige, where she takes the opportunity to ask them to have drinks with her. Interestingly, Kath sets rules for the night, which provides a small insight into what life is like for them in the public eye.

Having them go to an old quiet pub, one that Paige suggested, was hilarious considering it provided a great contrast to the lives they live and the type of places they would usually frequent. It is here Tahlia reveals that she knows her way around pubs as she was raised in them by her single mother. Being in the pub also results in Paige catching a student that she’s tutoring trying to drink, the student tries to film and publicly humiliate her and Paige in turn films her in a pub when she’s underage. Ultimately, Tahlia solves her problem by taking the student’s phone away and deleting the footage, putting the young girl in her place.

I did enjoy these scenes as it shows the ladies bonding and provides an insight into them that isn’t about their lives as WAGs. I especially enjoyed them unknowingly bonding over the demise of Brian and Lauren’s affair.

Rusty—There was also a lot of character development with Rusty in this episode. He spends most of the episode acting out of hand by showing up late and vomiting at training, hiding drugs in his locker which Trav sees, which ultimately leads to a fight between the two. Rusty takes things too far, punching Trav and immediately regrets it but Trav doesn’t accept his apology.

After Trav catches Maddie on her drug high, he receives a call from Rusty and goes to see him at the field. Rusty opens up and reveals how he feels about Jessie, or so we think. His revelations seemed to be thrown out the window when Rusty reveals to Neil that he’s gay on the record.

Honestly this revelation surprised me because it came completely out of left field and seemed out of character. There’s been no obvious hints that Rusty is gay, however it could possibly explain his behaviour, his closeness with Jessie could possibly be that he came out to her or she found out about it somehow, and the conversation that Paige overheard could have possibly been about his secret. However to me, using it to cover the affair seems more realistic, albeit a slap in the face to all closeted gay men out there. I’m hoping I eat my words on that last sentence as, if he is gay, it makes his character and his reasons for lying at the inquest more compelling.


Overall this was a solid episode with compelling and much needed character development.


Stray Observations:

-Trav has the ability to casually hide and carry two full beer bottles in his jumper pockets.


Best one liners:

  • “I’m not loving seeing you in a boob sandwich!” (Paige to Dan)
  • “Clear as rum…white rum.” (Paige to Kath)
  • “It’s like a car crash in your mouth and I love it!” (Tahlia describe Paige’s special drink)
  • “I feel like I’m breathing through my eyes!” (Maddie to Trav whilst high on pseudoephedrine)



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