This episode was all about playing dirty.
Ajax, Meryl, Hayley and Betty—Ajax and Meryl upped the ante with their election campaigns, which kicked off with them going on about their slogans on trucks, running into each other and causing a traffic jam, later culminating in Meryl revealing Ajax didn’t finish high school and Ajax almost revealing Meryl faked a heart attack.
Throughout the subplot, Hayley is stuck in the middle and struggling with her loyalties, when she asks for guidance from God, Betty ultimately plays dirty by having Hayley admit the truth by swearing on a “Bible” (which turned out to be The Da Vinci Code). However it doesn’t pay off as Ajax decides not to reveal to the community that Meryl faked the heart attack.
The election outcome is finally revealed and Meryl wins. She starts to make a grand speech, only to stop herself and simply say thank you. She goes to see Ajax and he tells her that exposing the truth about her “heart attack” would make him no better than her and he doesn’t want to be like her. Moments later he makes up with Hayley and asks her to support him by moving out and getting their own place, an idea she clearly isn’t happy with. Meryl and Betty also made up at the end of the episode.
Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it exposed elements in Betty that we have never seen before and it truly showed what kind of people Ajax and Meryl are.
Hugh and Penny—This episode also dealt with Hugh and Penny’s suppressed feelings for each other with Penny’s impending wedding. Betty and Ken are the first to ask Hugh whether he is still in love with Penny and he denies it, only to lie to her about the need to quarantine the hospital when a sick patient comes in, to prevent her wedding from going ahead.
While they are in lockdown, Penny finds out about Jarrod’s fertility test, which she didn’t know about, contrary to what Jarrod stated in the previous episode. She reveals to Hugh she doesn’t want any more kids and assumed that they were on the same page about it.
Meanwhile Penny’s sister, Celia (Ella Scott Lynch) returns to Whyhope for the wedding. While Hugh and Penny are in lockdown, Celia gets everything ready for Penny, however it’s not what Penny wants. When Penny goes to The Brewery and sees Celia’s over-the-top reception decorations, her and Hugh have shots and he kisses her. She storms off, in denial of her own feelings and overwhelmed from Celia’s “help” and suggests to Jarrod that they elope, which they do that night.
Just as Hugh finally admits to himself, after a heart-to-heart with Charlie, how he feels about Penny and tells her not to marry Jarrod, she reveals he’s too late.
Overall I found their subplot to be a little all over the place. At the beginning of the episode they are in denial, Penny’s reaction to discovering Jarrod had a fertility test (freaking out than seemingly forgetting about it) was unrealistic, as was the eloping, and Hugh rushing to her door to beg her not to get married was a cliché. However I’m looking forward to seeing how the marriage changes the love triangle dynamic.
Matt, April and Charlie—The love triangle between Matt, April and Charlie continues to intensify as Matt struggles to keep Charlie sticking around and writing at her desk a secret from April.
At the start of the episode we see Charlie wandering around her and Matt’s house, putting the framed photo of Matt and April down and stealing a detailed box, which was later revealed to be the box that Matt presented her engagement ring in when he proposed. The tension escalates when Charlie joins the family for dinner, sitting next to April at the dining table.
Ultimately and unsurprisingly, April discovers Charlie in the house and angrily tells her to leave not only the house but Whyhope. When April asks where Charlie got the house key, she covers for Matt by saying she still had a spare. When Matt agrees with April that Charlie needs to leave, she is shocked and he tells her April was right and she needs to leave, and they need to move on.
Charlie still hasn’t left Whyhope by the end of the episode, so it will be interesting to see where the love triangle goes from here. Overall I found their subplot to be a little predictable.
Dinah and Meryl—The focus on them was minor but I have a feeling the tension between them will play out in later episodes. Dinah is caught by Meryl snooping around the Homestead, which leads to Meryl “firing” her, which Hugh finds out about when Dinah comes to see him during the hospital lockdown. At the end of the episode, Dinah tells Meryl she’s staying, much to Meryl’s chagrin. I’m looking forward to seeing how their tension and dynamic plays out.
Overall this was a solid episode, however I felt the Hugh and Penny subplot wasn’t well executed.
-An explanation for Floyd’s absence is finally provided when Penny tells Celia he is still at boarding school.
-What Rod did to get a restraining order placed on him from Meryl was finally revealed: he stood on her front lawn with a boom box in his underpants.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “We ran out of books at book club, the last three weeks have been about you.” (Ken to Hugh regarding his and Penny’s suppressed feelings for each other)
- “I thought you liked Jarrod?” “We do, more than you.” (Hugh-Ken)
- “I have big ideas for your entrance; can you ride side-saddle?” (Celia to Penny)
- “Nothing says occasion like riding in on a Shetland!” (Celia to Penny)
- “Can I paint a moustache on it?” “That’s not how we’re going to win this.” (Ajax-Betty on Meryl’s campaign poster)
- “What’s happening? Did somebody throw a punch?” (Hugh on the phone to the family)
- “You can’t get married now, I’m wearing ugg boots!” (Celia to Penny)
- “Did somebody call for a witness?” (Ken to Penny and Jarrod)