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)

 

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