Archive | November 2018

How to Stay Married–Season 1, Episode 3

This episode focused on an issue that all married couples would face at one point or another–what to do about contraception when they’ve finished having children.

The episode kicks off with Greg and Em about to have sex only to realise they don’t have condoms, so Greg goes off to a convenience store to buy some where he has a funny interaction with the cashier, buying nearly every other item nearby before finally admitting he really wants condoms. By the time he gets home, Chloe is in their bed and Em wants to sleep.

It cuts to the next day where Em is talking to Marlo and admits that she actually put Chloe in their bed to avoid sex with Greg as she is too tired. This was an interesting and clever reveal and it made me wonder how many people have done this to their spouse. Meanwhile Greg is discussing having a vasectomy with Terry and Brad. Both Terry and Marlo make decisions for Greg and Em respectively—Marlo has Em do skydiving as a means to make her feel alive and boost her libido, while Terry books Greg in for a vasectomy—at the same time.

Greg at first tries to preserve his last bit of sperm by going back to the convenience store to “provide a sample” into a slushie cup only for it to be stolen by a robber. They end up at Terry’s doctor only for them to discover that the doctor is trying to break a record for the most amount of vasectomies done in one day. Brad ends up having a vasectomy because he loves being an uncle more than the thought of being a father, but Greg doesn’t have his done.

Meanwhile Em is scared about skydiving and it doesn’t help that their instructor, Lenny, appears suicidal after his wife breaks up with him over the phone. She also has to deal with ashes being thrown in her face by another flyer scattering her father’s ashes. In the end both Greg and Em seem to live with the fact that Greg never had his vasectomy, and the episode ends how it started with them trying to have sex only for Chloe to be in their bed.

Overall this was a good but not great episode which dealt with a realistic marital issue in two humorous ways, with the Greg subplot almost slapstick-like. The episode to me provided more of an insight into Terry and Marlo’s marriage than Greg and Em’s.

 

Stray Observations:

-Apparently Terry bought a heap of condoms from Costco and since his own vasectomy, he’s been using the leftovers as dishwashing gloves.

-Terry and Marlo once had sex at an open range zoo.

-Apparently Bluetooth ribbed condoms exist.

-Chloe’s birthday is in October.

 

Best one liners:

  • “My dad’s getting his penis cut up so mum’s jumping out of a plane!” (Chloe to a mother of one of her friends)
  • “Three vasectomies, two reversals, my balls have forgiven me for many things, indecisiveness isn’t one of them.” (Terry on his urologist to Brad and Greg)
  • “Man jam” (Terry’s name for sperm)
  • “How do you fall in love with a penpal who’s illiterate?” (Lenny to Em, Marlo and Stephanie on his marriage ending)
  • “They were cutting testicles like kids pop balloons.” (Greg to Em on the vasectomy record breaking attempt)

Charmed (Reboot)–Season 1, Episode 6 (Kappa Spirit)

The episode was completely different to the previous five as for the first time it focused on something other than the harbinger and Niko as those subplots concluded.

This week focused more on Maggie dealing with the consequences of telling Lucy that she kissed Parker and getting kicked out of Kappa, which leads to Lucy accidentally unleashing literally a Kappa spirit in the form of Brenda (McKaley Miller). Maggie immediately notices something is not right about Brenda when she at first notices her outdated eyeshadow style but more so when she tells Mel that part of her initiation was learning all about each sorority member from top to bottom and Brenda wasn’t one of them. She quickly finds an article that reveals Brenda was killed after she got drunk and fell off the Kappa roof in 1989. This discovery marks the first time that the sisters meet and have to deal with a ghost.

To find out more about Brenda and why she is haunting Lucy, Mel and Maggie travel back in time (another first for the reboot) to a crucial moment in her life before she died. The crucial moment shows that Jenna, the then-Kappa president publicly announces that Brenda won’t be pledging, subsequently humiliating her. During their travel, Mel and Maggie also see a pregnant Marisol expressing her concerns about her baby (Macy) as she has a feeling something is wrong. This moment with Marisol provided an unexpected twist for both the sisters and the viewers, and also has a great payoff at the end of the episode, but I’ll get to that.

Mel and Maggie time travel without Macy as the latter is busy trying to figure out more about the mark on Galvin’s body. Macy decides to go to Galvin’s birthday party after inviting herself to find out more about the mark and Harry accompanies her to both appear to have moved from Galvin and also to find out whether Harry can actually see the mark for himself. This is the second episode to have the sisters and subplot split into two—this time with Mel and Maggie, and Macy and Harry pairing off. While Mel and Maggie’s dynamic isn’t new, Macy and Harry’s is. While Harry has expressed appreciation for Macy’s respect of him and the craft, this is the first time that they are truly interacting with each other, and it seems that Harry is interested in Macy. This shows when he confides in her that the Elders have decided the sisters no longer need extra protection and he doesn’t need to live with them anymore but also doesn’t want to leave, and by the way he looks at her. I wonder whether they’ll do a Leo-Piper subplot with them? But I digress.

After Galvin reveals to Macy that his grandmother was from Haiti, she deduces the mark may be related to his heritage, specifically Yoruba religion. She visits a Yoruban priestess who reveals the mark is not demonic but rather the opposite, it is meant to protect a marked individual from dark magic. The priestess tells Macy that she has darkness inside her and has since she was born but doesn’t give her a full story or clear picture. This answers the question about the mark but also asks another question about what kind of darkness lies inside Macy. Again this moment has a good payoff at the end of the episode.

After Mel and Maggie witness Jenna kicking Brenda out of the sorority in the ’80s, they visit present-day Jenna who reveals that Brenda was in fact the Kappa bully not her and that a lot of girls ended up dying the same way Brenda did years later, but the college made sure the deaths weren’t connected publicly to the sorority. This leads to the sisters realising that Brenda is only haunting Lucy as Lucy was subjected to the same treatment she was, and so Lucy’s “suicide” can be blamed on Maggie. The sisters and Harry save Lucy in the nick of time and long enough for Maggie to apologise to Lucy, which leads to Brenda being banished. These scenes were portrayed beautifully with Hall expressing a realistic balance of terror and intoxication, Miller being the perfect scary banshee ghost, and Diaz and Jeffrey portraying the fear of that situation convincingly.

The end of the episode had Maggie and Harry join the Vera-Vaughn sisterhood, while these scenes were sweet they were a little too cheesy. Macy also mentions her experience with the priestess to Mel and Maggie who subsequently choose not to tell her about their time travel moment with Marisol. Meanwhile the shapeshifter demons (which I totally forgot about due to a lack of focus on them) reappeared in the final moments by killing Macy’s boss and taking a vial of her blood, what they plan to do with remains to be seen. Macy also finds a key in a literal pillar in the front of the house when she remembers the priestess’ exact words, again what this key is the lock to remains to be seen.

Overall this was one of the best episodes to date as its main story was completely different to the main stories of the previous episodes, strong performances, and a lot of magical firsts which simultaneously made references to the original series. It also continued the overall Marisol story arc and provided the pieces for a few new arcs to present themselves in future episodes.

 

Stray Observations:

-Harry makes a mean Welsh Rarebit (Rabbit).

-We never did find out whether Mel got the administrative job at the college.

-Nothing also came from Mel’s Lichtenberg theory of Marisol’s death.

 

Best one liners:

The best one liners of this episode definitely belonged to Harry:

  • “I really am starting to warm to your inane chatter”
  • “I’m British, awkward’s kind of my thing”

How to Stay Married–Season 1, Episode 2

Now that the pilot has come and gone, and the character and premise of the show has been established, we can get right into the story.

This episode deals with the consequences of the Greg’s and Em’s respective choices to be a stay-at-home parent and go back to work. Greg and Em decide to go to an Ed Sheeran concert and have a romantic night, however their conflicting plans and the building tension between them leads to things going awry.

The episode kicks off with Sophie begging to babysit as she wants the responsibility, Em is against it however Greg says yes, which is one source of tension. When Greg’s and Em’s conflicting plans come to the surface and lead to things going awry—the Loaded Toad being replaced with an apartment building and Honey Cloud not letting them in due to Greg’s self-made tour shirts breaching their dress code, this leads to even more tension. The breaking point comes when they realise they don’t actually have tickets to the Ed Sheeran concert due to them believing the other was responsible for them. This leads to them arguing and telling each other what’s really pissing them off—Greg saying he is “babysitting” the kids and Em rightly pointing out that they’re his kids, Greg’s resentment towards Em for “never shouting” and their struggles adjusting to their new roles.

Meanwhile Sophie manages to convince Chloe to go to bed hours early, and watches a horror film as Terry and Marlo try to keep an eye on them and inadvertently scare her. Brad also goes on his first Tinder date and ruins it by insisting he kinda looks like Ed Sheeran, in all honesty I didn’t feel like his subplot added anything to the episode.

Once they get home they manage to have a romantic date with the help of Terry and Marlo, and Em wearing her matching shirt that Greg made. They also manage to make the best of Em’s Brazilian wax (the scenes of the waxing were hilarious) as she asks Greg if he wants to help her find the “missing bits”.

Overall this was a good episode and funnier than the pilot, hopefully the show will continue to improve as it progresses.

 

Best one liners, quotes and interactions:

  • “Yes ISIS has been waiting around for you and dad to go out and then they’re going to strike!” (Sophie to Em on Em’s uncertainty on Sophie babysitting Chloe)
  • “If we’re visited by an axe murderer in the next five minutes, I’ll give you a call” (Sophie to Em)
  • “If you could put a waxed vag into a stubby holder men wouldn’t leave the couch!” (the beautician to Em)
  • “Tonight will go as smoothly as your freshly waxed front bum” (the beautician to Em)
  • “Possums don’t eat turmeric!” (Marlo to Terry on her lasagne being left outside Greg and Em’s door)
  • “I got a Brazilian because I wanted tonight to be…” “pubeless?” (Em-Greg)

Charmed (Reboot)–Season 1, Episode 5 (Other Women)

This episode was a solid one as it wrapped up a few subplots and opened the door for more.

The episode kicks off with Macy taking a late-night bath and being startled by Harry and telekinetically throwing him across the bathroom. This moment reveals that Harry is staying with the sisters to protect them as the Elders have taken the Book of Shadows away from the sisters to see if Marisol wrote anymore hidden spells. Harry staying with them leads to a lot of minor but great comedic moments such as when Maggie calls him and he runs in pantless with an iron in his hand. However it also leads to a crucial moment of character development at the end of the episode when he is cooking an English breakfast for them and Maggie tells him he can be a part of their family.

The writers of this episode made the choice to split the sisters up for the majority of it. The A story focused on Mel and Niko, with Niko being questioned by the FBI and targeted by shapeshifters. The B story focused on Maggie dealing with her guilt over Parker and Lucy’s breakup, and Macy suspecting that Galvin is under a spell after she notices he’s acting weird and getting over her quickly with Summer. I personally liked this choice as both stories were developed at a great pace and didn’t overly focus on the sisterhood too much, it gave the characters the chance to grow and shine at the right moments.

With the A story, after Niko and Mel visit Trip’s grave, a shapeshifter comes by at the grave and defiles it. It is then revealed that the demon is the FBI agent who is questioning Niko over Trip’s death. It is then revealed that he is working for another demon, Alastair Caine, the demon seen taking the harbinger in the paint can from Charity at the end of the previous episode. Both of these demons are hellbent (no pun intended) on making sure that the evidence Trip found that Marisol’s death is linked with two other women, and by doing so are targeting Niko is destroyed, however their motivations for doing this, other than the fact they’re evil and are possibly the killers, are yet to be revealed.

When Niko realises where Trip would have kept the evidence he found, the shapeshifter demon follows her and takes Trip’s form, attacks her and sets the cabin on fire using magic-resistant flames. Mel saves her and takes her to the hospital, only to have to save her from another shapeshifting demon in the form of a nurse. The scene between the nurse, Mel and Harry trying to save Niko was intense and well done. After Harry and Mel move Niko into the manor, Harry informs her that Niko will always be targeted by the shapeshifters and they will stop at nothing, including killing her to get what they want. This gives Mel the idea to rewrite history so her and Niko never met and therefore never became a target for the shapeshifters. Mel informing her sisters of her decision is the first time they’re seen together, let alone using magic together, in this episode and comes shortly after the B story wraps up.

I was wondering when Mel made this decision whether it would actually involve her going back in time and warning herself or not meeting her. Having Macy and Maggie casting the spell as Mel is saying goodbye to a frozen Niko, as the memories of their time together are surrounding them, was a good choice and was heartbreaking. On a smaller note, Harry warns her of unintentional consequences of rewriting history and it plays out when Mel discovers she doesn’t have a job anymore as she never attended her interview as Niko wasn’t there to wake her up that morning like she did in the original timeline.

Meanwhile the B story of Maggie finally admitting to Lucy that she kissed Parker fell a little flat for me. While it showed some good character development with Lucy as it shows she’s more than a stereotypical sorority girl, and yes the truth needed to come out, there was enough of a focus on it for me to be invested. However with Lucy subsequently kicking Maggie out of the sorority, it provides Maggie with the opportunity to grow in future episodes. While Macy’s subplot of mistakenly believing that Galvin’s hookup, Summer, was a succubus was solid, as while the outcome wasn’t what she wanted, Galvin was indeed under a spell but what it is and who has cast it on him remains to be seen. As the Maggie-sorority subplot has ended, this one provides the potential for another great one to take its place.

The episode ends with the shapeshifter demons realising that the sisters have cast a spell of some kind to cause a temporal shift and need to change targets. Alastair decides that they need the DNA of a strong witch and decide on Macy. Why they’ve picked Macy is yet to be explained.

Overall this was a solid episode with the conclusion of two subplots and the start of another two subplots to take their place, as well as character development with Harry and the first real emotional moments at the end of the episode.

 

Stray Observations:

-Harry reveals that he has no memory of his previous life. This is interesting however it presents a slight continuity issue as, if he has no memory of his previous life how would he know he died in 1920 and how to make an English breakfast? That being said this is easily explained as the Elders may have told him when he died and he could have learnt how to make the breakfast over his years on Earth or by Googling it.

-Realistically, Maggie asks if by rewriting history they can prevent their mother’s death. I wondered this myself, however Harry states that death is the one thing that can’t be undone by magic. This both answers Maggie’s and the viewers’ question, and also addresses how deaths would be handle in the new Charmed world. In the original series, death wasn’t handled in a consistent manner–people died permanently, but death could be sometimes undone or cheated depending on the circumstances.

-Harry offers to find to request a succubus vanquishing spell from the Elders and text it to Macy and Maggie. I found this twenty-first century magical moment amusing and it would certainly make things a lot easier for them.

-Apparently Maggie knew that tramp stamps were “the devil”.

References to the original series:

  • Shapeshifters
  • Succubus (Season 2 episode “She’s a man, baby a man!“)
  • Rewriting history

Charmed (Reboot)–Season 1, Episode 4 (Exorcise Your Demons)

This episode concludes the Harbinger of Hell story arc, or at least we think it does.

The episode opens with a flashback set six months earlier where Marisol is supporting Angela and Mel is encouraging her to report Professor Thaine for sexual harassment.

It then cuts to the present day where it’s revealed two days have passed since the events of the previous episode. The sisters are still babysitting the Harbinger, awaiting the elders’ arrival. Harry is also surprised by the fact they haven’t arrived, especially as the Harbinger has developed the ability to kill with a single touch.

In the midst of it all, the sisters have to deal with a surprise visit from Niko and her partner, Trip, as Angela’s mother has filed a missing person’s report. As they are struggling to convince Niko and Trip that they don’t know anything about Angela’s disappearance, an elder, Charity (Virginia Williams) finally arrives and helps them cover their tracks temporarily. The Elders are another callback to the original, however the difference between the elders in the original series and in this series is that the modern version are the “governing body of witches” and actually are witches, as opposed to whitelighters. Charity reveals that the Elders think that Angela can’t be saved and will have to be killed so the Harbinger can be contained. Mel doesn’t want to kill Angela and thinks that she can be saved.

From there, most of the episode focuses on the morality issue on whether to save Angela or not. Mel cast a spell which shows that Angela’s soul is indeed still alive and this convinces Mel that she needs to be saved. Being the scientist that Macy is, she agrees with the Elders solution. While Maggie is too busy worrying about her mid-terms as she has been too busy with her witch duties and work to focus, the difficulty in Maggie balancing her mortal life with her supernatural duties is another, more subtle callback to the original series.

As Charity is trying to prepare the sisters for the battle with the harbinger, she reveals that she came to see the sisters alone as it’s the Elders’ security protocol, especially as there have been three Elder assassinations, one of them being Marisol. Charity also reveals to Macy that neither her nor the other Elders had any idea that she existed, but she does recall casting a spell on Marisol by her request to erase her pain and never knew why, until now. The fact that the Elders didn’t know about her is another callback to the original series, specifically Paige’s introduction, not to mention Charity also provides character development and more details on Marisol’s and Macy’s backstory, although not the reason why Marisol abandoned her.

The third act kicks off when Mel brings the harbinger onto the college campus in the boot of her car. Mel and Maggie take the harbinger into the warehouse where the Kappa’s homecoming float is being made. Mel asks the Book of Shadows for a spell on performing an exorcism on the harbinger only to be directed to a blank page. When Macy arrives, the sisters hold hands and the blank page is revealed to be a spell written in Spanish by Marisol. Harry concludes it’s an unsanctioned spell that Marisol wrote knowing that the sisters would have to battle the harbinger one day. This convinces Harry that the sisters should save Angela, and Harry’s agreement with them convinces Charity as well.

Before the girls perform the exorcism, they hear a car outside–Parker is storing illegal fireworks at the warehouse. Although Maggie takes her sweet time send him away, to the point that even the harbinger is shouting at her, she kisses him to distract and send him away. The sisters perform the exorcism as Harry and Charity hold the harbinger back, with Maggie using her telepathy to get through to Angela and encourage her to break free, which she does successfully. This is a crucial moment for Maggie as she constantly comments that her powers are inferior to her sisters. Charity manages to secure the harbinger in a paint can.

While the sisters are successful in saving Angela, they lose their first innocent in the form of Trip. Trip, who was constantly suspicious of them, followed them and saw the exorcism took place and was killed when the magic behind it caused floating debris to hit and kill him. Losing an innocent and the exposure of magic are also nice callbacks to the original series. Charity tells the sisters that she’ll find a way to cover up his death so it doesn’t raise suspicions. Mel finds out from a devastated Niko that Trip apparently hung himself in the warehouse and that he was connected to the Halloween murders. While Charity’s decision cleans up the exposure of magic mess, clearly Mel is not happy about this and perhaps there will be repercussions in further episodes.

The episode ends with Maggie revealing to Parker that she got an extension on her mid-term and she tells him to stay away from her. The final moments show Charity talking to an unknown person on the phone about a journey she has taken and switching paint cans with an unknown demon who has put her under mind control. This moment makes a few things uncertain: whether Charity is evil or really was being mind controlled, who this demon was, and if it means the sisters aren’t really done with the harbinger.

Overall this was a solid episode as the harbinger/Angela story arc was partially concluded, with the final moments provided the audience and the sisters with a new threat and story arc, as well as the introduction of a new character, and character development with Marisol and Maggie.

 

Stray Observations:

-The Elders have the capability of muting people. Charity muted Harry and Mel, when she muted the latter she stated that a witch needs a voice to cast a spell.

-Harry and Charity clearly have a romantic past or at least a past of some kind.

-Harry was born in 1920.

-Outside of being an Elder, Charity runs an investment fund helping women in developing nations start businesses.

 

How to Stay Married–Pilot

The purpose of a pilot is to establish a show’s premise and characters. How to Stay Married‘s pilot did this with ease.

The episode kicks off with Em’s (Lisa McCune) dreaming about playing the Family Feud board game with her family, which then expands to actually become Family Feud: Dream Edition, complete with a Grant Denyer cameo. Grant asks her questions about what she does beyond being a mum and then asks her and Greg (Peter Helliar) the question of what makes a long and happy marriage, and before she gets the chance to answer, her alarm clock wakes her up. As soon as she wakes up, she tells Greg that she wants to go back to work and he’s supportive.

The episode then cuts to Em walking into the kitchen after some time passes with their two daughters, Sophie (Willow Ryan-Fuller) and Chloe (Vivien Turner) eating their breakfast. This scene portrays the cliche of the father struggling to prepare breakfast and lunch for their kids. We are then introduced to Uncle Brad (Phil Lloyd) who is staying with the family as he awaits his unseen girlfriend, Mon, to return from her physiotherapy conference.

After this scene, we are introduced to Greg and Em’s neighbours, Terry (Darren Gilshenan) and Marlo (Nikki Britton). Terry is a former “tree doctor” (arborist) turned “life doctor”. Although Terry is odd, Gilshenan stole every scene he was in.

Greg and Em go their separate ways for the day, with Greg going off to work at Births, Deaths and Marriages and Em going off to her interview at Essa & Price publishing. Clearly Greg hates his job and his co-workers, and hears that there are redundancy packages going around and thinks he’s going to be let go, however he doesn’t get what he wants as his boss keeps him due to having a family to take care of. This turned an obvious cliche on its head, however it was an obvious outcome as it fits the premise. I knew Greg was going to get fired, but the how wasn’t answered just yet. Telling his “regular” to fuck off was the perfect and realistic way for it to happen.

Meanwhile Em goes to her job interview and sees the younger candidates laughing at her original interview outfit and feels intimidated. Running away, only to buy a kimono she thinks will make her look cool. When she gets to the interview, she tries to go to the bathroom beforehand, only to have to rush in. She meets Amir Essa (Michael Denkha) and Audrey Price (Judith Lucy), the owners of the publishing company. Clearly Amir is the “nice guy” and Audrey is the “tough boss”. The interview was the perfect balance of realistic and comedic, especially if you see from the perspective of Em, a stay-at-home mum who is trying to get back into the workforce for the first time in years. The interview ended on a comedic note as she has to leave because she sneeze peed, breaks down on the phone to Greg, and Amir hires her and she falls on the way out.

The episode ends with Greg using his Penis Williams restaurant booking (which he made to unsuccessfully prove a point to Janice earlier) to celebrate Em’s new job and reveals that he was fired from his own, and where it’s also revealed that Mon obviously broke up with Brad. A post-credit scene has Marlo suggest to Terry an obvious slogan for his life doctoring business, “Terry Roach: Life Coach”.

Overall the pilot did its job in establishing the premise, however I felt that the jokes fell a little flat, but as it’s the very first episode and we don’t know the characters yet, I’ll give it a pass.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-The beginning of the episode had a nice inside joke with Chloe asking/point out that Family Feud was cancelled and Grant not answering.

-Greg’s regular at Births, Deaths and Marriages, Janice, has tried to change her name to “Nokia 3210”, “Tanya Plibershite” previously, tries to change it to “Penis Williams” at the start of the episode and tries to change it again to “Libra Fleur” towards the end.

-I wonder if Births, Deaths and Marriages employees really do experience “regulars” like Janice?

-Terry’s life doctoring business motto is, “If you don’t like how things are, change it, you’re not a tree”.

-Brad isn’t sure Guatemala exists.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Do I look professional?” “Professionally hot!” “Too professionally hot for a job interview?” (Em-Greg-Em)
  • “Drag King John Farnham!” (The Essa & Price receptionist on Em’s original interview outfit)
  • “Miss Saigon they are waiting for you!” (The Essa & Price receptionist to Em when she is in the toilet)
  • “Bradley ‘Buttplug’ Butler, that’s what they called you in school wasn’t it?” “No they didn’t!” “That surprises me” (Terry-Brad-Terry)
  • “I’m trying to run a respectable life doctoring business not an AA meeting!” (Terry to Brad)
  • “Personally I’d rather poke around in an old woman’s prolapse than use social media” (Audrey Price to Em in the job interview)
  • “The last time I saw someone hand drying their underpants was at the Christmas party. I said ‘Amir you’re pissed!’ and I put him in a cab.” (Audrey to Em when she walks in on her in the bathroom hand drying her underwear after she sneeze peed)
  • “Audrey may have a sneeze-proof vagina…” (Em to Amir)
  • “We just hired a woman who spent most of her job interview drying her underwear in the bathroom, what could possibly go wrong?” (Amir to Em)
  • “Truth is like the branch of a tree, sometimes you’ve gotta hold on and hope it won’t break.” “Shouldn’t trust be the branch?” (Terry-Brad)

Playing for Keeps–Season 1 Finale

I’ll be reviewing the season finale character by character:

Connor and Tahlia—At the start of the episode it’s established that they have broken up with Connor leaving and Paige moving in (I’ll get to that in a minute). Despite their break-up, they didn’t really interact until the second half of the episode when Tahlia made the decision to auction off some of Connor’s stuff at the fragrance launch.

A highlight of this subplot for me was Tahlia bonding Diane. It’s a shame that they couldn’t bond when Connor and Tahlia were together and while their scenes together were hilarious, it’s not truly established why Diane wanted to be friends with Tahlia.

After the auction, Connor and Tahlia finally get closure and a resolution on their relationship by tearfully parting on friendly terms. Personally, I felt this was the right decision for the writers to make. Considering that there is hope for Brian and Kath’s relationship (which again I’ll get to in a minute), their break-up provided the perfect and realistic contrast to the situation.

Brian and Kath—Much like Connor and Tahlia, despite the tension between them, there wasn’t really all that much of a focus on them as a couple but more as parents when their daughter Ella (Ella Newton) finally arrives home. While Kath reaches out and apologises to Brian, he’s not sure if he can forgive her, and they only manage to play “happy families” with Ella briefly, breaking slightly when Ella announce her engagement to her unseen boyfriend and they both admit that getting married as teenagers was a mistake.

Once the truth comes out about Jack’s death (which again I’ll get to in a minute), Brian and Kath seem to let go of what’s happened and hope for their relationship is shown when Kath reaches her hand out to Brian and he takes it. Considering how long they’ve been married and the love they clearly feel for each other, and what Kath has done, I felt this outcome was a realistic and the right one.

Maddie and Trav—They were more in the background of the episode as the only focus on Maddie was on her work with Andrew and finding out how much of a criminal he was, when she was investigating his properties for his divorce. Whereas Trav was only focused on when Maddie ran into Johanna and found out she quit because she was appalled at how loud they were in the bedroom.

I loved the scenes between Maddie and Johanna, as well as Maddie and Trav. The love they feel for each other provides a great and necessary contrast considering the state of the other relationships. On another note, it would have been great to find out whether Trav decided to retire after his confrontation with Brian for benching him in last week’s episode.

Paige and Dan—The episode also starts with Paige packing her bags and moving in with Tahlia as her and Dan have also broken up. The fact that she moved in with Tahlia and Tahlia supports her in return and encourages her to move on with her life, shows how far they’ve come as friends, which is great to see.

While Paige and Dan also don’t interact with each other until the fragrance launch and even then it’s only brief. Paige and Dan really deal with their break-up when Paige is ready to leave to go home and then the UK. Dan begs Paige to stay but Paige tells him he’s where he needs to be. I’m glad that the writers avoided the cliche of the girlfriend staying after the boyfriend begs her to, not to mention that considering how bad things had become between them, their relationship ending was a realistic and obvious outcome. It also provided a nice contrast to Connor and Tahlia’s break up, as they didn’t cheat on each other, despite the temptation in the form of Brody. I also appreciated that Paige turned Brody down, as if she said yes, the other option when a relationship is in trouble or ended is also a cliche.

On another note, I was happy to see Paige finally stand up for herself as a teacher to Toni, and as an independent woman and human being when Andrew tries to force her to stay with Dan until the end of the season.

Jessie—The focus on Jessie wasn’t on her pregnancy rather Jack’s death after Connor confesses to her that he told Dan and Rusty to leave him in the water. First, she confronts Rusty for lying to her, and then Kath and Maddie basically accuse Andrew of killing him.

Although it seemed obvious and plausible that Andrew killed him considering his obsession with the club and his blatant homophobia, it is finally revealed that Brian accidentally killed Jack when he punched him after they had a brief fight, and the punch resulted in Jack’s head hitting the rock. While I could have lived with Andrew being the killer, having it turn out to be Brian by accident was a great and realistic final twist, especially as Brian has never been shown to be violent. The highlight of the conclusion of this story arc was not only finding out who killed Jack, but also the confrontation between Andrew, Brian, Jessie, Maddie and Kath.

The revelation of Brian accidentally killing Jack and Andrew resigning as President of the Southern Jets provided the perfect closure for this story arc.

 

Overall this was a solid season finale for many reasons. First and foremost, the stunning and realistic conclusion to the main story arc, however if there is a second season, which I’d love, I’m not sure where they’d go from here. Secondly, the conclusion of Connor and Tahlia’s, and Paige and Dan’s relationships was also realistic, with their heartbreak accurately portrayed. That being said there are a few loose ends, such as Jessie’s baby not being born, the identity of Connor’s biological mother, and whether Trav has retired from the club.

Overall this show’s first (and hopefully not only) season was solid with a well-written, well-acted and thrilling story arc, strong and engaging subplots, a talented cast and crew, and plenty of loose ends to base season two on.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing Playing for Keeps and I hope that it’s renewed for another season.