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)

 

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