The job of a season finale is to wrap up the season’s story arcs and establish new ones for the next season (if there is one). I felt this episode did this perfectly.
With Harrow there has only been one major story arc for the entire season—Chester coming after Harrow.
The episode uniquely starts off in the past, going back one year to Louise’s house with her serving tea to her husband, Maurice, who is also Chester’s father. Maurice tells Louise that Chester lost his last appeal and it’s obvious that Louise has poisoned Maurice. From then on, the question is put in the reader’s minds on whether Louise is just as much as a psycho as Chester and whether this is where and who he learnt his behaviour off, a fact that Harrow mentioned when buried in the coffin.
The episode then goes back to the present day where Nichols is questioning Harrow’s behaviour after saving Callan, with the circumstances making it look like Harrow tried to hurt him. This frustrated me as it isn’t true to Harrow’s character and the other characters should know better. Throughout Nichol’s questioning, Harrow has noticed Fern has left and leaves the hospital to find her. He instead finds Stephanie outside, who tells him that she hasn’t seen her. He sets off to find her and asks Stephanie to stay and talk to Nichols.
Meanwhile, Grace shows the succinic acid reports on Chester’s victims to Maxine, however she is dismissive of them and tells Grace that a psychiatrist and a judge have ruled Harrow a threat to himself and others and that he be committed to a hospital on site.
Harrow impersonates Fairley to get access the name of Chester’s family dentist from when he was a child, who reveals that one of Chester’s adult pre-molars are gone, knocked out by his father when he was a child. The dentist also noticed that Louise had bruising around her neck and Chester begged him not to send him home. This reveal added to my initial theory that Louise was abusive towards Chester. Meanwhile Stephanie talks to Nichols, calling him out on his behaviour and tells him to speak to Louise again. Nichols goes to speak to Louise but she doesn’t answer the door—she’s hiding from Nichols and the camera pans to reveal that Chester is there and keeping Fern hostage.
Meanwhile the Deputy Coroner’s tribunal is underway, Fairley adamantly defends Harrow, while he is hiding out in Grace’s office. Their co-worker, Louise, sees him, however when she reports him to the guard, Glen, he tells Grace that Harrow resuscitated his cat and therefore doesn’t end up reporting Harrow’s presence. This gives Harrow the chance to meet with Chester outside when he calls demanding to see him, as he leaves, he gives Grace the copy of the films from Chester’s family dentist.
Harrow gets in a car with Chester, who asks him how he found the propofol in the female victims as he never used it. They then arrive at Louise’s house, where Chester brings Harrow to a bound and gagged Fern and he injects him with propofol. Meanwhile Grace waits for Maxine in her office, where she reveals to Maxine and the audience that she knows that Maxine destroyed the brain tissue histology slides of Chester’s victims, as it would prove that Maxine manufactured the evidence needed for Chester’s conviction. Maxine admits that she only did this as Chester was a monster and would have killed again. Grace tells her that she needs to own up to what she did.
Meanwhile after Harrow comes too, he finds himself tied to a chair, when Chester injects him with succinylcholine. He begs Louise and Chester to let Fern go. When this fails, he tries to get into his head by talking about Maurice’s abuse towards Louise and Maurice’s death when he realises Louise killed him. Chester confronts Louise, asking why she didn’t kill him when he was a child and protect him, whilst choking her. Harrow jumps out of his chair to tackle Chester away from Louise and she grabs Chester’s gun after she’s free. When Chester asks her why again, she admits that he wouldn’t do it and that he’s still scared of Maurice, even though he’s dead. Harrow warns Louise not to let Chester get too close but she doesn’t listen and he manages to shoot her dead. Chester also realises that Harrow took something to counteract the succinylcholine, Harrow admits he took butyrlcholinesterase.
While Harrow and Fern are being held hostage, Nichols discovers footage of Chester on the firefighters’ webcam at the hospital, and Edwina and Grace confirm that the DNA samples from Chester and the burnt body don’t match. After knocking out Harrow, Chester tries to strangle Fern, only for her to get inside his head by telling her story of being abused by her stepfather. Fern distracts Chester long enough to defend herself, get out of the chair and get the gun. Fern wants to kill Chester but Harrow convinces her otherwise, instead deciding to call the police while Harrow aims the gun at Chester in the meantime to keep him at bay.
When the police arrives, Nichols apologises to Harrow for not believing him and Harrow speaks to Chester in the police van, who has no remorse. Harrow picked one of the roses from Louise’s garden to give to Chester, stabbing him with the thorns, saying it’s for Simon. In the van, en route to jail, Chester dies in the van, when it’s reveal that the sting he felt wasn’t the rose thorns but Harrow’s injection of a lethal amount of succinylcholine.
The next morning, Harrow shows up at Maxine’s office as she is packing it up. Maxine apologises for her actions and not believing him, and he forgives her. While Callan wakes up in hospital, happy and relatively healthy. Harrow has to take leave, however he is called to a crime scene by Nichols where a young man has been found dead. When Harrow asks what the young man has to do with him, Nichols reveals the man’s passport was found in his pocked listing Harrow as an emergency contact with a note he wrote claiming to be Harrow’s son, which is where the finale and season ends.
Overall this was a solid finale as the season’s story arc was wrapped up perfectly with stellar performances by Gruffudd, Newton and Bowler, with a great balance of tension and high stakes. The twist of Harrow killing Chester with his own medicinal weapon was utter perfection.
Overall this was a stellar season with the writers making a completely different story arc to the previous season play out slowly but perfectly. I’m looking forward to reviewing the next season (assuming there is one).
-Maxine’s middle name is Alexandra.
-Fairley’s full name is Lyle Ridgewell Livingston Fairley.
-Harrow resuscitated QIFM’s guard, Glen’s, cat Fuzznuts.
-Maxine graduated from the University of Hobart.
-The translation of the episode’s title, “Pater Familias” is “a man who is the head of a household, family or tribe.” Due to the focus on fathers, specifically Maurice and Chester, this title definitely applies.