Archive | December 2019

Playing For Keeps—Season 2 Finale

The job of a season finale is to wrap up the season’s story arcs and set up new ones for the next season, if there is one. I felt that this finale only partially did its job.

Kath, Maddy, Kendall and Liam—The main focus of about two-thirds of the finale was about dealing with Liam. I was happy to see that Liam finally got his comeuppance, but due to his manipulative, sociopathic nature, it had to be done slowly and executed perfectly and I felt it was.

It starts with Maddy, Kath and Tahlia discussing the fact that Kendall could be the key to bringing Liam down or she may know nothing about the videos at all. All three agree to tell Kendall the truth if in fact she doesn’t know. Maddy calls Kendall and asks her to come over to her house but doesn’t tell her that Kath is there. Although Kendall isn’t happy to see her, she sticks around long enough to hear that the club matched Liam’s wages, they didn’t pay him more money, and that he told everyone that he left Perth because of her. Kendall reveals that Liam told her about Samira and Kath informs her she was 17 and on work experience, but Kendall says she doesn’t care and leaves. Maddy and Kath follow her outside to see her upset, and Kendall reveals she’s waiting for a taxi as she lost her licence. Kath offers to drive her home.

Kath drives her home and waits outside after Kendall goes in. Kendall calls her and asks her to come in as she thinks she has found something. She shows Kath Liam’s computer and hard drive, which reveals multiple videos with multiple women, including Samira, which horrifies Kendall. Liam bursts in on them, just as Kendall takes his hard drive. They try to explain their way out of it, but Liam realises what has happened straight away and goes after Kendall. Both Kendall and Kath run upstairs, with Kath falling down, however she manages to kick Liam down the stairs, which leads to him injuring himself.

Kath calls an ambulance and he is taken to hospital, where it’s revealed he is already under police guard. When Maddy arrives at the hospital, she reveals that the videos were of 24 women, including Samira and a coach’s daughter. Maddy tells them he’ll go to jail if the prosecutors do their job, they then see Liam being wheeled into surgery, under police guard, and he locks eyes with them.

Overall I enjoyed the execution of his comeuppance as it had happened quickly enough that it didn’t drag on, but it wasn’t rushed either. I also enjoyed that his comeuppance was two-fold: his sociopathic nature was finally revealed and made known to the police, and his future as a footballer is uncertain not only due to his actions, but also due to the injury from trying to attack Kath.

Maddy and Trav—Their subplot was minor but enjoyable. Maddy tells the girls at the beginning of the episode that her and Trav are still giving each other gifts, however they’ve become just as competitive as each other and now she’s stressing about it. Trav surprises Maddy with a home massage by a professional masseuse, and Maddy returns the favour by hiring a stretch hummer man cave for him to enjoy both before and during the launch.

Throughout the episode, it’s clear he is planning a big surprise for her that everyone is in on, and it’s revealed he wants them to renew their vows. This reveal didn’t surprise me, but I still found their impromptu ceremony with their vows consisting of them acknowledging and accepting their flaws enjoyable, funny and sweet.

Overall while this subplot was minor and a little predictable, it provided great comic relief throughout the episode.

Rusty, Shane, Jessie and Aaron—Much like Maddy and Trav’s subplot, the subplot involving Rusty, Shane, Jessie and Aaron was minor but enjoyable. Rusty and Shane’s relationship is progressing, and the tables are turned on Jessie when Rusty and Shane push her into dating Aaron. When Jessie goes to physio, only to find that Aaron asked another physio to take over, she thinks he’s rejecting her, however she successfully manages to ask him out at the CocoBean launch, which Rusty invites him to, and he says yes.

Much like Maddy and Trav’s subplot, the outcome of this subplot was predictable but still enjoyable to watch and also provided necessary comic relief.

Brian and Kath—They didn’t really have their own subplot, it was part of the Liam subplot. Kath realising that she wants to stay with Brian and letting him know when the Liam saga comes to an end was the perfect way for their relationship story arc to end. It was a little predictable, however I felt it was the best outcome and true to their characters as they decided to reconcile in the season one finale and they have always supported each other.

Tahlia—The subplot of the CocoBean launch came second to the Kath-Maddy-Kendall-Liam subplot. The first half of the episode involves her preparations for it and the start of the launch, with the second half of the episode revealing its success when Tahlia tells Jessie that CocoBean will be going international. During the night, Connor tells her he is planning to put himself up for trade at the end of the season after all the events of this season. This shocks Tahlia, but she seems to accept it and be happy for him.

Tahlia and Paige—Tahlia and Paige have a brief falling out in the episode. After Paige comes home after hooking up with Dan, she tells Tahlia about it and Tahlia tells her that she hasn’t gone in a new direction, meaning she hasn’t moved on from him. Paige tells her that Tahlia sets all these stupid rules and is lonely and sad without Connor. Tahlia tells her to leave and she does.

Despite their fight, Paige goes to the launch and tries to support her, however Tahlia ignores her at first. When she finds out Paige left because “she wasn’t feeling well”, she goes home to see her. Tahlia tells her that the girls have given her the freedom to be herself and that she shouldn’t shut herself off from happiness because of who she thinks she needs to be with Dan. This pep talk give Paige the courage to tell Dan she’s all in with the renewal of their relationship.

While this subplot didn’t add much to the episode, I enjoyed it as it has shown how far not only their friendship has come, but also how far Paige has come within the group.

Dan and Paige—The episode kicked off with Paige going to see Dan to tell him that she still loves him and they end up hooking up and rekindling their relationship, an outcome which didn’t surprise me at all. Their enjoyment of their rekindled relationship is marred by Paige’s self-doubt and later the revelation of Dan’s major gambling debts, which he accrued while he was out injured. The debts are so large that an intimidating bikie comes to the launch to get money from Dan, only to be stopped by the guys and Tahlia.

Just as Dan reveals his debts to Paige and they go to leave the launch, the bikie opens fire, aiming for Dan but hits Paige. The episode ends with Paige collapsing, Dan screaming for help and everyone coming over as an ambulance is called.

Unresolved story arcs/subplots:

  • The Board’s impending vote of no confidence against Kath.
  • Whether Connor does put himself up for trade and leaves.
  • Dan’s gambling debts.
  • Whether Paige survives the shooting.

Potential story arcs/subplots for season 3 (if the series is renewed):

  • Jessie’s possible playing career, as she is determined to play and hasn’t given up hope.
  • Outcome of no confidence vote and whether Kath remains president.
  • Outcome of shooting and Dan’s gambling debts.

Although the finale had plenty of drama and did its job in wrapping up some of the season’s story arcs, I was highly disappointed in it. For one thing, the writing was messy and rushed. Although Liam got his comeuppance, his motives still weren’t made clear or touched upon, the fight between Tahlia and Paige came out of nowhere, as did Dan’s gambling debts. With Dan’s gambling debts, I felt that this should have been revealed in the previous episode, rather than throwing it on the viewers at the last minute. I also felt that Liam’s motives for his behaviour should have been made clear as it would have provided much needed character development.

My biggest pet peeve was the finale’s ending. While Paige being shot provides drama, it bordered on soap-opera, which isn’t good. You could argue that most of the drama throughout the show’s history borders on soap-opera but what made the shooting different was the fact that the drama came out of nowhere and felt unrealistic. I didn’t appreciate the cliffhanger ending as it’s yet to be revealed whether the show will be renewed for a third season. If it is, it will provide a great story arc, if it’s not, it’s a shitty unresolved ending for a fantastic show.

Overall, I felt this was a solid season, especially with the exploration of the WAG’s lives outside of football and new drama in the form of Liam. After the mystery of Jack’s death was eventually solved, I wasn’t sure where the writers would take the show. I’m glad they went down this path.

I hope I’m eating my words and that the show is reviewed for a third season.

 

Stray Observations:

-Dan has moved out of Liam’s and is now living with Connor.

-Maddy is still having panic attacks.

-Connor has been with the Southern Jets for eight years.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “He was giving me career advice!” “Was he now?” “That’s not a euphemism for anything!” (Jessie-Rusty-Jessie on Aaron)
  • “I’m going to face the firing squad aren’t I?” “You just give them hell on the way out.” (Kath-Brian on facing the Board)
  • “Sometimes when you try so hard to control everything perfectly, you’re blindsided.” (Maddy to Paige)
  • “Are you going to miss me?” “As much as your face misses a razor.” (Connor-Tahlia)

 

Playing For Keeps–Season 2, Episode 7

We’ve reached the penultimate episode of the second season and one thing this episode didn’t lack was drama as everything is reaching a head.

Connor, Tahlia, Kath, Brian and Liam—I thought I would start with them as the episode revolved around them. The episode kicks off with Connor, Tahlia and Kath having a meeting at Tahlia’s house to discuss what to do about Liam blackmailing Kath and Connor. During this meeting they question what to do and what Liam’s motives are, ending with an agreement to do nothing for now and see what happens.

After this meeting, Kath goes to see Brian to warn him and apologise, telling him that if the affair does come out, questions will be raised about their marriage. Brian says they will do what they always do and put on a united front, he then leaves to go to training. She then leaves to tell the Board everything. John tells her she has brought the club into disrepute and is facing a vote of no confidence, while Kath asks him why Liam left Perth in the first place.

Meanwhile during training, Brian angrily knocks Liam down and he retaliates by telling him he has copies of the texts between Connor and Kath. Brian calls Kath to tell her.

Things eventually come to a head when the team line up for the upcoming game is revealed and Liam is not on it, with Kath convincing the Board to tell the public he is out for soreness. This leads Liam to releasing the texts. When the article is made public, Kath calls her daughter, Ella, to tell her and apologise.

When Shane is over at Tahlia’s (which I’ll get to in a minute), he tells the girls that Rusty is playing his first game as captain, which forces Tahlia to tell the girls about the article and affair. She leaves to go and pick up Kath, just as she is swarmed by the press. They later arrive at the President’s Lunch showing a united front.

Liam shocks everyone by walking in with a newly-sober Kendall. Kath gets Maddy to talk to Kendall and Liam to find out how much she knows. She then talks to Bob and John, who get her to make a short speech and John announces he’ll be taking over the launch of the women’s team. Meanwhile the interaction between Maddy, Liam and Kendall doesn’t end well as Tahlia can’t help herself, going over to talk to them, where she finds out from Kendall that Liam told her that Tahlia hit on him. Tahlia calls him a sociopath.

While John takes the opportunity to act like a President, take credit for the launch of the women’s team, and milking Rusty and Shane going public, Tahlia makes her way towards the stage. After John finishes his speech, Tahlia gets on stage to make a speech of her own. Her speech forces the Board to investigate Liam, makes it clear that Jessie Davies was the pioneer for the Southern Jets women’s team, and she makes it clear to Liam that when the truth will be revealed, she’ll be vocal about it. This scares Liam and Kendall into leaving.

This subplot ends with Bob calling Kath in to tell her that John hasn’t been honest about Liam’s departure from Perth. He tells her that sexually explicit videos of Kendall were leaked, apparently from her account. Kath points out that players aren’t kicked out of clubs for stuff their girlfriends do. She asks Bob to keep the investigation into his behaviour active for as long as possible, while she gets to the bottom of it.

Overall I felt this subplot played out beautifully. Liam’s sociopathic behaviour escalated at a good pace—fast enough that it kept the subplot going and the viewers on their toes, but not too fast that it ended the subplot prematurely. I felt that this subplot has provided a great springboard for the finale, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes and most likely ends in the finale.

Jessie, Rusty and Shane—Jessie’s subplot revolved around her attraction to her physio Aaron, and assisting Rusty and Shane with going public. Jessie is having physio for her torn ACL, where she loses it a little at her lack of progress, and Aaron gives her some tough love, which she appreciates. When she meets with Maddy afterwards, telling her she experienced a moment of excitement, Maddy asks her if she’s attracted to her physio, which she denies.

When Rusty and Shane come over to tell her they are planning on going public, she is happy for them and calls Tahlia, asking her for help to start off the day. Despite the pressure she is under, Tahlia agrees and happily helps out, hosting pre-drinks.

The pre-drinks and game go well, with Rusty and Shane kissing in front of everyone after the game. Aaron talks to Jessie after the game, where Jessie introduces him to Maddy and they briefly chat. This makes her realise that she is attracted to him.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot, as it was sweet and well-executed, with Shane stealing every scene he was in.

Trav and Maddy—Their subplot was minor, mostly revolving around their attempts to give each other a gift or nice thing a day to make each other feel appreciated. Maddy gives him the house to himself for a few hours, and in return Trav sends her a bunch of flowers. Throughout the game, Maddy is waiting for a gift from Trav, however she doesn’t receive one. He surprises her when he comes home early, revealing he hasn’t had the time to be able to get her a gift. She tells him that being there for her is the gift.

Although this was a minor subplot, I enjoyed it as it provided a nice contrast to the Connor-Tahlia-Kath-Brian-Liam subplot.

Paige—Paige’s subplot was also minor, as she spent most of the episode in a self-imposed “quarantine” as she is feeling extremely guilty for hurting both Dan and Brody. Tahlia tells her that just because she made a mistake; it doesn’t make her a bad person. Tahlia also tells her that the “quarantine” needs to end at some point.

At Tahlia’s request, Paige moves her “quarantine” from the lounge room to her bedroom, where she overhears the start of the pre-drinks and decides to come downstairs to join the girls and Shane. Although she says she won’t leave the house, she changes her mind to protect people from Tahlia’s wrath. Despite her best efforts to leave before the game, she doesn’t and Dan sees her before she leaves. Dan asks Jessie where she went, and Jessie tells him she left, and that she and Brody broke up.

Dan goes to see Paige and tells her that her behaviour is sending him mixed messages and that she shouldn’t treat people she cares about this way. He tells her it’s too hard to have her in his life and leaves her in tears.

Overall I felt the quarantine part of the subplot was silly; however I felt Dan’s confrontation of Paige at the end of the episode was solid. Although Paige has been portrayed as a sympathetic character, with Dan’s confrontation, the viewers are forced to see her and her actions from his perspective. It is through this scene we see that Paige’s behaviour has been out of character and unfair towards Dan, and that he is right. I’m looking forward to seeing how their dynamic plays out in the finale.

 

Overall, I felt this was a solid episode with a strong major subplot that has provided a great springboard for the impending finale, with the minor subplots providing necessary comic relief and pacing. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in the finale.

 

Stray Observations:

-Brian and Kath, and even the press keep referencing their two children, yet Kath only calls Ella about the affair going public. Their second child (a son I think) has never been seen or named.

-The Jets manage to get a much-needed win in their latest game.

-Even though it’s clear that Liam is a sociopath as Tahlia pointed out, his motives and end game are yet to be established.

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “You did a shit thing, but you’re not a shit person.” (Tahlia to Paige)
  • “You are right to punish yourself; you did hurt two innocent people with your wayward vagina.” (Tahlia to Paige)
  • “So what’s the plan? Pre-drinks? Pre pre-drinks? I could start drinking now!” (Shane to Jessie on the plan for him and Rusty to go public about their relationship)
  • “Send me Shane’s colour palette, we’re not going to half-arse this shit!” (Tahlia to Jessie)
  • “Could you sage this space, I don’t want a hangover of your mopey jew-jew.” (Tahlia to Paige)
  • “Yeah I’m good, I’m excited, I’m terrified.” (Shane to Tahlia when she asks him how he’s feeling on game day)
  • “You were a whirlwind of sequins and sass.” (Jessie to Tahlia on what she was like at her first game)
  • “I will not have another important day rear-ended by this incestuous clusterfuck.” (Tahlia to the girls as she is leaving to deal with the affair going public)
  • “The physio table, his hands, a…knee brace? It’s weird but it’s kind of kinky.” (Maddy to Jessie when Jessie mentions she had a dream about Aaron)
  • “I’m not going to lie; I thought you were going to rock up with a baseball bat, go full lemonade on this Lunch.” (Paige to Tahlia at the President’s Lunch)
  • “This speech is four lines long.” “Yeah, short and succinct.” “Best we keep it to a minimum.” “Best I don’t speak at all perhaps?” (Kath-John-Bob-Kath on her speech at the President’s Lunch)
  • “She’s pulled the pin hasn’t she?” “That grenade is well and truly airborne.” (Paige-Jessie on Tahlia)
  • “Never one to miss an opportunity.” “Grabs it with both hands.” (Maddy-Kath on John)
  • “Feels good, I’m basically running.” “Please don’t.” (Jessie-Aaron when Aaron asks her about her knee)