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Love Child–Season 2, Episode 8

The season finale of the second season didn’t disappoint.

The Joan and Jim subplot was packed with the right amount of tension and detail. I was surprised by the reveal that Joan does in fact love Jim, since their marriage was slightly forced although they did clearly bond, so I guess it kinda makes sense, it just seemed rushed. I found the scene between Jim and Greg interesting, I did wonder how sincere Greg was being when he was talking about Gail and Jim did humour him well under the circumstances. The twist with Joan using Bowditch’s tape recorder to try and trick Greg was great, proving that there is no such thing as a small detail when it comes to writing. I did like Patrick trying to help her, clearly showing his unresolved feelings for her and it was ultimately his decision to not revive him that has lead to Jim’s shocking arrest at the end of the episode. Clearly the first half (at least) of the next season will focus on the ramifications.

The Annie subplot was well done, however her constant mistakes are starting to get old. How could she have not anticipated needing a psych evaluation after overdosing on alcohol and barbiturates? Or that the drugs could have killed her? The fact that she was able to just walk out of the hospital amazed me. I ultimately loved the outcome between Annie and Chris, they are clearly made for each other. I also liked Annie inviting Matron for a walk and into her and the new baby’s life, I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes next season.

The best subplot of the episode for me was the Shirley and Patricia subplot. Throughout the previous two or three episodes, Shirley has encouraged Patricia to babysit and pursue it as a business. I personally love them as a pair, they’re not totally polar opposites, but opposite enough to make it interesting and work well, further expanding Shirley’s role as a big sister to the four girls. Shirley has stepped her encouragement up by offering to be a guarantor for a loan to help Patricia rent a space for her expanding business. I loved the bank scene, providing again another insight into the limitations for women in that era (my mum told me after we saw the episode that it was still like that for women in the early 1980s).

The Stanton House closing subplot kicked off in the last episode and surprised me greatly. The fact that the board gave Matron next to no time to plead her case and that she only had three weeks notice to begin with, it didn’t surprise me that it would close. I did like the interaction between Viv and Matron throughout, showing progress in their relationship, especially towards the end where Viv thanks Matron and Matron reveals why fear is important. Hopefully the Matron hasn’t been written out, I’ve loved Mandy McElhinney’s performances throughout both seasons.

On another note, I loved the Bowditch and Martha subplot. Their feelings have built up over the season and they finally get together, I loved how it was subtle and not dramatic, like with all the other subplots, I’m looking forward to seeing where they go next season.

Overall a fantastic season finale, concluding some subplots and opening up some more for next season, which I can’t wait to review.

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Love Child–Season 2, Episode 7

This episode was the best penultimate episode of a season of any television show I have ever seen.

The chain of events that unleash after Viv tells Annie that Chris is Matron’s son is remarkable. After the revelation, Annie discovers she is pregnant again, which leads to her telling Chris the truth, which leads to the confrontation between him and Matron.

The confrontation between Chris and Matron was by far the best moment of the entire season and the episode, with Matron finally revealing the backstory behind her choice to give up Chris and Chris in turn revealing the consequences of her choice. Both Mandy McElhinney’s and Lincoln Youne’s performances were absolutely spectacular, especially Mandy’s. For the first time in the show you deeply feel for both Matron and Chris and hope that they can establish, let alone repair their relationship.

Martha also finds her own mother through Bowditch. The confrontation between Martha and her mother, now known as Carla, was like with Chris and Matron, absolutely heartbreaking, with Miranda Tapsall and Leah Purcell giving stellar performances. My heart broke at ‘Carla”s back story. Ultimately I loved that Patricia, forever soft on the outside and incredibly tough on the inside, united them in the end.

Minor highlights in the episode for me including Bowditch and Joan drinking together, it’s nice to see a focus on someone other than the four main girls for a minute, not to mention that Bowditch and Joan make a good friendly pair. I also loved the silliness of the Seance and how it (sort of) served the episode towards the end.

Meanwhile Jim’s discovery of Joan’s responsibility in Gail’s death was of course going to happen in the penultimate episode and with him being dragged into Greg’s house in the last moments of the episode, we are in for a thrilling end to the season.

 

Love Child–Season 2, Episode 6

Once again we are provided with a distinct time setting for the episode–ANZAC Day. Therefore four months have passed since the events of the first episode.

Similar to the previous episode, this one is progressing the season but still feels like a filler, it’s a set up for the story arcs of the final two episodes.

The highlight of this episode for me was the Patty subplot. I liked the writers’ choice to focus on her character development since the stillbirth. She has really grown as a character and I love the irony that Patty of all of the girls is the face of Women’s Lib (Shirley’s description) and found a career. One slight let down is the obvious outcome that Patty would take on babysitting as a career due to the babies constant presence in the episode.

Viv and Pete’s subplot fell a little flat for me. Their relationship fizzled out as quickly as it began and I felt that Pete’s transfer was the writers’ idea of looking for a way out for his character too quickly. I was disappointed that he was written out, I liked him and wanted to see where his and Viv’s relationship could have gone. Clearly Viv was never going to leave, otherwise the ads around the time the episode aired would have heavily promoted her departure. I enjoyed the interweaved interaction between her and Matron more than the entire subplot.

I liked the Chris subplot. Clearly he hasn’t completely changed his ways, but maybe he will get there through his relationship with Annie. After teasing the viewers, the writers’ have finally confirmed they are together, subtly. Ultimately Annie is the best person for Chris to have hooked up with due to both their connections with the Matron, proving that karma does exist for the Matron, at least in the Love Child universe.

I did enjoy Jim and Joan’s wedding scenes and subsequent interactions with Eleanor. Eleanor has established herself as a strong recurring character, albeit a little too flat. The fact that her obligations in marrying Jim and her career immediately cause conflict was an obvious choice by the writers to further emphasise what women of that era had to deal with. The jealousy Patrick felt was obvious and I liked the writers’ choice to have the consequences of the jealousy, Gail’s death and the assessment interlink.

The best revelations were the announcement of Stanton House’s closure to a shocked and defence uniformed Matron and Viv revealing to Annie that Chris is Matron’s son. The latter was the perfect ending to the episode and lead into the final two episodes of the season.

 

Love Child–Season 2, Episode 5

I felt that this episode was a filler for the next three remaining episodes of the season. This episode focused on character development more than anything with Viv starting her job as a Nurses’ Aide at the hospital, Shirley in the process of divorcing Colin and dealing with an awkward encounter with Eva, Joan’s reaction to Shirley sleeping with Patrick, Martha’s interactions with Bowditch, Patricia further dealing with her grief and the introduction of Eleanor.

This episode focused on again another thing going wrong with Annie on the road to motherhood. I did feel for Annie as Deanna’s brief disappearance wasn’t totally her fault (although it wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t leave Deanna with Chris, not that I’m judging just making an observation on the sequence of events) and it’s every parent’s worst nightmare, however I’m wondering how long the writers’ focus on Annie’s mistakes will go on for. Although Annie left Deanna with Chris for the right reasons, to get a better paying job to provide for her, it wasn’t sensible to leave her with someone she likes but barely knows. It’s really hard to feel for Annie sometimes as I’m constantly asking ‘what was she thinking?’ The outcome was obvious, however I did enjoy the twist with Matron ultimately helping Annie due to Chris’ involvement. Small highlights of this plot include Chris struggling with a crying Deanna and Gracie Gilbert’s performance in the scene after Annie is told Deanna is missing.

I liked the subtle reveal of Greg’s motives for having Jim bashed. I like the next step in this story arc being Jim and Greg meeting with a social worker for custody. It’s a realistic step that’s not overplayed, however it is of course not resolved. The writers’ choice to feed the viewer the story arc in small doses in each episode is brilliant.

In regards to the smaller details, I personally liked the interaction between Viv and Matron as Viv starts her new job. My favourite moment was Matron providing Viv with Shirley’s old room and Viv telling her she has a good heart. I thought these moments were sweet and shows a new level in their relationship. It will be interesting to see how their relationship changes or develops now that Viv is a colleague of Matron’s and not a Stanton girl.

A highlight of this episode for me was Martha’s involvement with all the girls at once. I always enjoy the interactions between Martha and Bowditch, they are sweet and humorous but on Martha’s part, very realistic. As funny as it is, sometimes I feel it gets old and I just want them to get together already. My heart broke when she revealed to Viv how she dealt with the heartbreak of having to move on with her life after giving up her baby, providing yet another insight into what the mothers during that era had to deal with. I also loved her giving Patricia some tough love while simultaneously standing up for her when Annie snaps.

I did enjoy the awkward interaction between Eva and Shirley, which ultimately shed light on Patrick’s character. I felt the interaction was inevitable but not the best. Joan’s reaction was clearly the best as it subtly showed some jealousy and therefore her unresolved and remaining feelings that she clearly has for Patrick, which is addressed for the first time this season. Her drunken scenes with Jim were hilarious and very sweet, Jessica Marais plays a great drunk.

I loved the Women’s Liberation protests acting as a bookends for the episode. The writers’ could have chosen to use the protests to be preachy, however they instead put it to the brilliant use of character development. They picked the best characters to be involved in the protests. Having Annie involved at the beginning was a brilliant way to foreshadow her plot. It was also equally brilliant with Patricia at the end, showing her potential, now that she needs direction since abandoning her marriage and housewife dreams.

I felt the end of the episode was too abrupt, Jim is clearly proposing to Joan to help with his custody case and was of course going to be non-chalant. I felt that fading to black on Joan’s long stare at Jim was too melodramatic and that the proposal itself should have been eased into more.

Overall a solid episode, but a really obvious filler and launching pad for the season finale.

 

 

 

 

Love Child–Season 2, Episode 4

This episode was solid but not as spectacular as the previous two episodes, but that’s okay.

The previous two episodes were intense, I think this episode needed to bring the intensity down a few notches. I was interested in seeing how the writers’ would play Patricia’s transition into post-birth life out. I liked their choice to have Patricia try to return to a normal life and get married straight away, only for her to decide it’s not what she wants. The build up was beautifully done and paced well, I personally loved that she chose to have the truth come out at the engagement party, she was told by Robert to keep her mouth shut, but she is clearly going to let her voice be heard. It took strength and courage and I loved that Martha was by her side the whole time, I think the insight into their friendship was well-timed and placed. I did enjoy the awkward interactions between Martha and Robert’s mother, clearly Robert’s mother was uncomfortable with Martha’s presence but she was as polite as she could be, she’s not malicious, just a product of her era.

I did enjoy the Viv subplot, I think her grief was played out well and I did enjoy the surprise of Pete inspiring her to choose a career. A highlight for me was her interaction with Matron towards the end of the episode, clearly their relationship is slowly growing and it’s nice to see Matron actually getting along with one of the girls. My theory is that Viv reminds Matron of herself when she was Viv’s age and that Matron is the way she is due to serving in war and the loss of her husband and Chris, has hardened her.

I found the pairing of Patrick and Shirley to be very odd and unexpected, however due to the loss of their partners and subsequent loneliness, it is somewhat understandable. Clearly their tryst is going to cause conflict, I’m looking forward to seeing where the conflict goes.

The revelation of Gail being Greg Mathieson’s (the man who Jim had been fighting with at the protest) daughter wasn’t that much of a twist. It was obvious she was going to be connected to him in some way, her appearance was brief so her disappearance could cause conflict and set up a major story arc. However what was a twist was the revelation that Gail and Jim were right about Greg being violent, which adds another dimension to the story arc.

Meanwhile I thought the insertion of Martha’s love for the Queen was a great development of her character and hilarious, especially towards the end of the episode where it leads to another interaction with Bowditch.

Overall, as I said at the beginning, the episode is not spectacular and certainly isn’t any lighter than the previous episode, however like the majority of Love Child‘s episodes, it was as solid as ever.

 

Love Child–Season 2, Episode 3

This episode was also spectacular, so far the season’s best.

I know this is a premature judgement due to it being only the third episode in the season, however the reason for the premature judgement is due to one choice by the writers—exploring unknown or rather previously unwritten territory.

So far, all angles of birth at Stanton House had been explored–Annie was the girl who wanted and eventually got her baby back, Martha was the girl who gave her baby up without resistance, Shirley almost experienced the pain of losing her baby and subsequently her baby coming back from the brink and Viv knew it was the best for the twins to be adopted out, despite the fact she would obviously miss them. One angle that had yet to be explored was stillbirth and in this episode it finally was with Patricia.

If viewers had to guess who would have to endure a stillbirth, I imagine their last guess would be Patricia. She would be the worst girl for it to happen to due to her doe-eyed, sweet nature which seemingly makes her appear weak. However I think the writers made the right choice as it provides both Harriet Dyer and Patricia the opportunity to show their strength and shine. To say Harriet Dyer’s performance was spectacular is a huge understatement. Her range from Patricia’s reaction to the news of her loss, to the anger of being lied to by Matron, to the pain and anguish of giving birth and holding her dead child, was spot on and heartbreaking. I have watched the scene where Patricia holds her daughter several times and each time I have bawled my eyes out. I also enjoyed Dyer’s performance in the lead-up to the birth scenes as for the first time, Patricia is portrayed as an angry and unsympathetic character, it was an interesting choice for the writers to present Patricia as an unsympathetic than sympathetic character in the same episode.

I didn’t know what to make of the Chris returning subplot. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the recast of Lincoln Younes as Chris was purely to make him an age appropriate love interest for Annie (Gracie Gilbert). The interaction between Chris and the Matron was the right amount of sweet and awkward. I didn’t hate Chris’ return, I just think it could have been done better.

I did enjoy the interaction between Joan and Jim, however I felt establishing him as the father of Gail’s baby was a little clunky. The revelation of Eva and Patrick separating didn’t surprise me, however the reason did, apparently cheating is a bigger deal breaker than adopting a child illegally….okay. It was also a sad but nice touch to have Johnny reappear, it’s always worrying when a ‘ghost’ appears in a non-supernatural TV show, however I think the fact that there was no dialogue and only lasted a moment, made it work.

Meanwhile, the humorous interaction between Martha and Bowditch continues. Martha going through the roof’s door made me laugh, however I couldn’t help but feel it was a little too slapsticky for my liking. However I did enjoy the interaction in itself as it was needed to balance out the intensity and dark emotions present throughout this episode.

Overall this episode was definitely spectacular and definitely the season’s best and so far the darkest episode of the show overall. I did enjoy it being dark, however I hope that further dark episodes are served in small doses.

Love Child–Season 2, Episode 2

This episode was absolutely spectacular.

Sophie Hensser was easily the MVP of the episode, portraying the entire emotional spectrum. From fear when she saw Joan after witnessing Gail’s death in the previous episode, anxiety with her mother trying to take control over her & her baby to pain & determination during the birth scenes, as well as shock at the revelation that she was having twins. The highlight of the Viv subplot for me was the interaction she had with Matron, especially with Matron showing a clear soft spot for her due to Viv knowing her secret. I also enjoyed the scene with the four main girls at the beach, it was nice scenery as well as a great opportunity for the actors to get out of Stanton House. I also enjoyed the interaction between Viv and Pete at the end of the episode, clearly a sign for more to come between the two of them.

In contrast with the intensity of emotions in the Viv subplot, the subtle reveal of Johnny’s death was surprising and a ballsy choice. However I think the subtle reveal and Shirley’s reaction balanced each other out very well, Ella Scott Lynch’s performance was brilliant.

Other highlights for the episode for me were Martha and Simon Bowditch’s first meeting. Clearly their interaction is a set up for an unlikely friendship, but I enjoyed it nevertheless due to its humour, which was vital to balance out the intensity of the Viv and Shirley subplots.