Playing For Keeps–Season 2, Episode 5

This episode had a lot of twists, turns and revelations.

Tahlia—The episode kicks off with Tahlia and Paige at yoga, where Tahlia’s mother, Narelle (Rachel Gordon) shows up unexpectedly. It’s made clear pretty quickly that Tahlia has issues with her mother and that they haven’t seen or spoken to each other in quite some time, and Tahlia thinks Narelle wants money from her.

Throughout the episode, Tahlia goes to see Narelle at the motel she’s staying at, the first time she does, it looks like they may be able to re-bond, the second time, after seeing Samira, she confronts Narelle for the way she treated her. It’s here it’s revealed that Tahlia’s stepfather threw her out of the house when she was 17 and Narelle didn’t defend her in any way.

Later, at the club’s Women’s team open day, Narelle tries to step up as a mother with the intention of confronting Connor for his part in the nude photo scandal, only for Tahlia to stop her. Narelle then tells her that people stuff up, and that she thought marrying Tahlia’s stepfather was the right thing to do. She also tells Tahlia that she shouldn’t spend her life being angry and bitter and to forgive. Whether Tahlia forgives her mother isn’t made clear, however she does manage to forgive Connor and mend his relationship with Annabel.

Overall I found Tahlia’s subplot compelling as it provided the opportunity to explore her backstory, which explained a lot about her. I found it to be solid and realistic character development without being too overwhelming. That being said, one thing I didn’t quite understand was why Tahlia would name her swimwear line after a pet name her mother gave her when she has so many issues with her.

Jessie—Jessie’s subplot focused on her determination to establish the women’s team, which lead to her asking the club to help at an open day. The boys (except Liam) are more than willing to help. Meanwhile, Jessie is also training at the club’s headquarters with Trav’s assistance. I personally enjoyed seeing them work together, as it’s the first time we’ve seen them interaction with any of the other WAGs.

Throughout the episode, Jessie is stressed at the thought of when Hayley is going to drop the “Georgie paternity” bombshell, especially when Hayley publishes an article on the open day, however when Hayley shows up, she reveals that their conversation was off the record and she is actually there to support her partner, Erica. I felt that this revelation was a nice little twist to their dynamic.

Jessie is in her element at the open day and even puts her own skills on display, something that has never been seen until now. Just after she makes a great mark, she screams and collapses in pain, with Rusty, Trav and Connor immediately coming to her assistance. It’s later revealed that she has torn her ACL, and Trav gently but firmly makes it clear that due to her age, years off the field, and the time it would take to get back to optimal fitness, her footy dreams are over. This devastating and unexpected twist ends Jessie’s subplot for the episode, which I enjoyed and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next, I’m hoping she’ll become a women’s team coach, as they say “those who can’t do, teach.”

Throughout her subplot, she has also been a mediator between Trav and Maddy, encouraging both of them to support and be honest with each other, which I enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the conversation between Trav and Jessie in the seats at the empty footy field, which was reminiscent of Trav’s chat with Rusty at the same ground the previous year.

Maddy—While Maddy’s subplot was minor in comparison to Tahlia’s and Jessie’s, I feel that hers is the beginning of a major one if not in the next episode, the remaining ones after. While Maddy’s struggle to balance her roles as a coach’s wife, mother and lawyer have been made clear this season, this is the first episode that is starting to show the toll the balancing act is having on her mental health.

Maddy’s interview with integrity didn’t go well and she forgets to make Abby’s costume for school, which sets off her first panic attack. During the attack, Trav comes home and Maddy manages to pull herself together before he can see her. After seeing Jessie, who tells her that Trav has a lot of pressure on him and needs her support, Maddy has another panic attack outside of Jessie’s home as she leaves, which is much worse as now her hands are shaking. Again she manages to pull herself together.

Although I didn’t enjoy seeing Maddy suffer, I’m looking forward to seeing where the writers take this in the remaining episodes.

Paige, Dan & Samira—Paige spends the episode getting to the bottom of the Samira drama, especially after Samira drops out of work experience suddenly. She eventually finds out from an unhappy Dan (after Kath asks her to speak to him) that Liam slept with Samira, an unsurprising revelation. She tells Kath moments after Liam speaks with her and lies to her, but interestingly doesn’t put the blame on Dan, like I thought he would.

Paige eventually goes to see Samira to talk to her about it, and Samira tells her what happens and is embarrassed by it. She also says that Liam said nice things to her and she shouldn’t have listened, which seems to imply that Liam raped her, however this isn’t made clear.

As Paige is trying to deal with the situation, she constantly discusses it with the girls and it ends up becoming a heated issue. Kath and Maddy try to remain diplomatic due to the pressures on them and lack of proof, while Paige and Jessie are outraged, and Tahlia is dismissive as both of them were of consenting age. Paige asks Kath to call Liam and the boys out with this and the nude scandal. Kath orders Trav to call a meeting on the matter after Liam and Connor start a brawl when Connor confronts him and Liam makes a dig at Tahlia.

After the meeting, Dan angrily confronts Paige at her and Tahlia’s home. Dan confronts her for butting in and Paige calls him out on being manipulated by Liam. Dan tells her it’s none of his business and reminds her she wanted out and Paige admits she still cares about him, they kiss and end up sleeping together. Just as they are getting dressed, Tahlia comes home.

Overall I enjoyed Paige’s subplot involving Samira, however I felt her interactions with Dan and them sleeping together was predictable.

Kath & Brian—Kath and Brian’s subplot was also minor and mainly revolved around their reluctance and ultimate backing out of telling their kids about their impending divorce. Brian also has interactions with Bob, who wants him to control Kath and Jessie, and prevent the establishment of the women’s team, which Brian refuses to do.

Liam— Liam is becoming more and more unlikeable as a character as his true colours are slowly starting to show, especially when it comes to the women’s team and starts a brawl with Connor after making a dig at Tahlia. The episode ends with him putting a phone in Connor’s locker, whether it’s someone else’s phone or Connor’s isn’t made clear.

 

Overall this was a solid episode with a lot of build-up for the remaining episodes.

 

Stray Observations:

-Narelle found Tahlia via her Instagram hashtags.

-Tahlia had a stepfather who died a year earlier.

-Jessie doesn’t iron her clothes, Rusty irons his.

-Rusty and Shane are still dating.

-Liam’s 26 years old.

-Connor has never met Narelle.

-Maddy & Trav’s kids names are Mitchell and Abby.

-According to Trav, Abby only eats carrots in stick form.

-Diane sent Tahlia an apology gift for apologising for the nude pictures.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “If this blows up in my face at least I did it to myself.” (Jessie to Rusty on coming clean about Georgie’s paternity)
  • “Samira isn’t you.” (Paige to Tahlia)
  • “This is the pre pre-work brekkie.” (Paige to Brody)
  • “Connor, Dan and Liam, that’s a love triangle I wasn’t expecting.” (Tahlia to the girls)

 

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