This episode went to great lengths to provide a contrast in the relationships of the main players by kicking off with Connor & Tahlia and Brian & Kath waking up in bed together, and a flashback to Paige’s drunken antics after she got home from her night out in the previous episode, setting the smoke alarm off with her sausages just as ASADA (the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority) arrive at their door.
I’m going to continue reviewing this episode character by character.
Connor and Tahlia—Their subplot didn’t focus on Connor’s mysterious background rather Tahlia’s ambition to launch a male fragrance based on Connor—both the person and his fame. After dealing with the fallout of Rusty coming out, Connor lashes out at Tahlia for the wardrobe choices she is making for him, and she calls him out on whether he is being homophobic and it turns out he isn’t. She later respects his desires not to be a part of the fragrance or launch by having it be about Connor being an “every man”.
Brian and Kath—Brian and Kath’s subplot only briefly focused on their recently closed marriage before focusing on Brian keeping Rusty’s sexuality a secret from Kath. Kath is angry as they never keep secrets from each other because apparently her own current hypocrisy doesn’t count as Brian is not aware of it yet. Brian meanwhile is surprisingly letting Kath walk over him due to the fact that he didn’t want to betray Rusty’s trust. Their subplot ends on a fight and Kath looking for a key to one of Brian’s locked drawers and being unable to find it. What is in the drawer or what she’s looking for remains to be discovered, but I’m sure it will be.
Trav and Maddie—Once again Trav and Maddie’s subplot provides the comic relief for the episode, this time in the form of them having to cope without their beloved and super competent nanny, Johanna, as she is taking time off. In the middle of this, Trav’s guilt over giving Jack the pills that he ended up overdosing on is eating him up. Maddie and Brian ultimately tell him that coming clean won’t make any difference, however he does become absolved of his guilt when he comes clean to Jessie and she tells him that Jack had “dabbled” in the same drugs not long after the grand final and doesn’t blame Trav for his death. Their subplot switches back to comic relief when Johanna returns and tells them she’s leaving as she met a man.
Nate and Jessie—This episode also focused Nate and Jessie’s secret relationship, specifically Nate trying to persuade Jessie to move with him to Queensland. There area few unanswered questions in regards to their relationship such as how it started, why she cheated on Jack with him, and/or whether her and Jack had an open marriage like Brian and Kath. Another question is whether Jessie will move with him as that was left unanswered in this episode.
Dan and Paige—This episode focused on a deterioration in their relationship with Dan’s unhappiness at Paige joining social media and then publicly posting her support for Rusty, which ends up going viral. Dan thinks that Paige is hijacking Rusty’s personal life to build a social media following, and Paige’s reasons for joining social media aren’t made clear. The deterioration reaches the point where Dan leaves for his next game without saying goodbye and ignoring her calls. I feel like this deterioration is cliche and leading to one of them, most likely Paige, cheating on the other. I say Paige because Brody clear likes her and she’s oblivious to it, which is another cliche. In the middle of it all, Paige is fired for filming Yasmin in the pub after the latter dobs her in.
Rusty—Rusty’s subplot was the highlight and main focus of the episode as he initially disappeared following his coming out and later returns. First, Brian, Kath, Connor and Club President, Andrew, having an emergency meeting to figure out what to do with the story of Rusty’s coming out. In this meeting, Andrew shows his true homophobic colours, Brian stays relative silent, while Connor and Kath are supportive of Rusty and try to prevent Andrew from taking too much control over the situation.
Of course, the press conference goes well only for Andrew to crumble and show his true colours at its conclusion. The most interesting part of this subplot was everyone’s reaction to both Rusty’s coming out and the subsequent fallout, including Rusty’s own reaction. Trav is angered that Jack apparently hated Rusty for being gay (although this is yet to be confirmed, I wonder whether the two of them had an affair), Tahlia is not surprised as Rusty never hit on her, and Rusty’s disposition starts to improve as he sees Jessie and for the first time we see them joke and smile together, and later he returns to training, where Brian and the boys (with the exception of Andrew) welcome him back with open arms. Why Rusty came out to Jessie first and how they became close is yet to be revealed. This subplot ended on a good note with the cheer squad ultimately enhancing Paige’s social media post with the game day banner showing their support.
Overall this was a decent episode, however I am wondering where the rest of the season is going now that Jack’s death has been ruled as accidental and Rusty has come out and has managed to find peace.