So here we are again…another Love Child finale were the series’ future is uncertain.
For those keeping score on the continuity front, it’s 2 December 1972 and Gough Whitlam has won the Federal election. It’s been three months since Laura passed away, just short of three months old. Other than the amount of time that passed between last season and this season, and the inclusion of International Women’s Day in the fourth episode, the continuity since then has been pretty tight.
As this finale was so intense and jam packed, I will write this review character by character.
Elena and Ed–Last week’s episode left Elena stood up at the altar and Ed being kidnapped by Marco. Thankfully Ed was put on a boat to go to Italy and nothing else, but the question put in the viewers’ minds was whether they would get their happily ever after. After a hilarious and haphazard rescue by Debbie and Simon, Ed made it on time for the birth and for a quick bedside wedding. I didn’t expect them to name their baby after Simon, especially due to their circumstances, however I loved that rather than dwell on it, they turned the incident into a positive. While I found Marco’s forgiveness a little too neat, I feel it was the best ending as realistically, Elena and Ed are married and the baby has been born, it’s done and what can he really do? Overall I loved that they lived happily ever after as they deserved it.
Debbie–I loved what the writers did with Debbie in this episode. She spends the first half rescuing Ed to ensure Elena’s happiness and once that’s done, she’s off to finish her final exam. She has a purpose and once it’s fulfilled, she’s able to develop further as a character. It didn’t surprise me one bit that Debbie was able to think so quickly on her feet and that she got the job done, not to mention the reveal that she only brought Simon with her to blackmail him into helping her. With all of these traits and her confidence during the exam, I think she has a bright future ahead of her.
Joan, Greta, and Greta’s husband–The biggest story of all was Joan trying to prove the baby switching and get her daughter back. The last episode left the viewers with Joan figuring out that Greta had her baby and in this episode she confronts her. The first scene between Joan and Greta was absolutely heartbreaking, with Marais and Mackessy giving spectacular performances. While I sympathised with Joan, I couldn’t help but feel that she was being quite selfish, yes Amy is her daughter but she couldn’t just take her away from Greta either. I liked that Greta’s husband was the one to believe her and push this plot along, especially as he was the one who had her arrested. The scene between him and Joan at Laura’s grave was as equally heartbreaking as the scene between Joan and Greta. I felt that the outcome was predictable, Amy being returned to Joan was always going to happen, but the way in which the writers’ pulled it off was genius. It actually reminded me of the season 1 finale when Eva gave Deanna back to Annie. Overall I felt this plot was perfectly executed with the superb acting and tight writing.
Rita–Rita didn’t have many scenes but her role in the episode was significant as her admission of witnessing Matron burn the missing file ultimately lead to the latter’s downfall. Rita’s way of confessing was a subtle reminder of her tender age and I’m grateful that she didn’t take Andrew’s suggestion to heart to go to Father Ross. I’m glad that the moment Rita witnessed Matron burning the file wasn’t completely forgotten by the writers.
Andrew–I liked how the focus was on him trying to help Joan get Amy back rather than his love for Joan, although you could argue that his feelings for her pushed him to help her. Dan Hammill’s acting was superb, especially during the confrontation scene between Andrew and Matron. I also enjoyed the writers’ choice to leave the fate of his and Joan’s romance unknown.
Matron and Father Ross–The question on every viewer’s mind would have been if Matron was going to get her comeuppance in this episode. I’d say the answer is sort of. I loved how Matron spent about three quarters of the episode deflecting the blame on to almost everyone around her until she was backed into a corner. What I loved even more was the fact that it was Father Ross of all people who backed her into the corner. What I appreciated about her behaviour was that it incredibly true to her character, she didn’t take responsibility until she had no choice, and just when you think she was going to with her final interaction with Joan, she doesn’t, instead trying to reveal her justifications and vulnerabilities of her own choices. I felt that Matron resigning in literally her own conference room was very fitting, but I also felt that her resignation meant that she really wasn’t facing the consequences of what she did. On another note, I didn’t like the romance between her and Father Ross, it didn’t really add anything to the episode or the series as a whole, not to mention due to the traditional role of Fathers, especially back then, I found it inappropriate. I did like the writers’ choice to have her decide to travel to Italy, as this enables for a new chapter in her life.
Simon and Martha–Again they had smaller roles in this episode. I enjoyed Simon being cajoled/blackmailed into helping Debbie rescue Ed, and found his lack of improvisation skills and poker face hilarious. I also enjoyed seeing him in action as a doctor, and his joy at Elena and Ed naming their baby after him. When I saw the way Martha looked at him when he was holding the baby, I thought it would lead to her changing her mind about having children, so I was especially joyful at the reveal that she is already pregnant. Like Elena and Ed with their wedding and arrival of their son, Simon and Martha deserve the happiness of the impending arrival of their first child.
Overall I felt that this was the best season finale that Love Child has made so far, which is great on its own however it also worries me. Matron’s last line in the episode perfectly describes the situation with Love Child right now, “the future is wide open”. As I stated in last year’s season finale review, you can always tell when a show is uncertain about its future by the way the season finale written–necessary loose ends are tied up but there are some openings for story arcs next season (if there is one). A lot of loose ends were tied up but not a lot of new plots were set up, in fact there were only three noticeable future plots–Martha’s pregnancy, Joan and Andrew’s romance, and Matron’s travels.
In terms of the season itself, I felt the first half was completely off-kilter due to the excessive amount of main cast departures and continuity issues, however the second half was a significant improvement with superb acting and character development.
I really hope this isn’t Love Child‘s swan song.