I tweeted my preview of this review in two words–mixed feelings.
I have mixed feelings for two reasons–one for Channel 9’s choice to air half the season in a two week period and two for the writing.
As I mentioned in my previous review, obviously Channel 9 has made the choice to air half the season in a two week period to accommodate to a tired ‘reality show’, I’m yet to see proof but I wouldn’t be surprised. Channel 9’s surprising and idiotic choice to do this made the end of the season overwhelming for me, my brain had a lot to deal with, however with this choice, the second problem arises.
I’ve felt that the writing has been a little off this season, the prime example being the overly quick introduction of the Vietnam story arc. However it has been even more off in the last three episodes, especially with the rapid progression of Cynthia’s, Eva’s and Maggie’s pregnancies (I smell a continuity problem) and also with the rapid change in Pete and Jim as ‘good guys’. However I feel that the main reason the writing has been off is due to Love Child‘s uncertain future.
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). For this finale, the tied up loose ends are Jim’s trial, Jim and Patty’s tryst, Maggie’s fate and Martha & Bowditch’s wedding. The openings are Eva’s pregnancy, Joan’s pregnancy, the birth of Maggie’s daughter and Shirley’s adoption of Maggie, Annie and Chris’ marriage and the romance between Patty and Michael. I feel the writers did a good job, however their uncertain future limited them and ultimately made them their own worst enemy.
On a similar note, Channel 9 need to hire new people to do their promos as they gave too much away. The revelation of Joan falling pregnant and Jim’s departure didn’t surprise me, the priest subplot was made redundant due to the focus on the girls walking down the aisle, Michael as a new love interest for Patty was obvious due to their kiss being shown and the return of Viv’s twins was obvious due to the ‘previously on Love Child‘ promo at the beginning, highlighting Viv’s previous interaction with them.
As I said Jim’s departure didn’t surprise me, however I’m glad everything was tied up, with the exception of Joan’s pregnancy. I’m not sure if Jim is permanently gone, but I’d say it is most likely and it’s better that he is. His and Joan’s relationship, despite the love that eventually blossomed, was always forced and she’s better off without him. I was eager to see how Joan would approach Patty after being told the truth about the tryst. I wasn’t surprised by Joan’s choice to calmly and subtly reveal to Patty that she knew as Joan has never yelled at the girls, however it was also very anti-climatic and therefore a little disappointing.
Viv’s minor subplot was interesting, especially as her interactions with Faye and the return of her twins lead to her choice to break up with Pete. Her choice wasn’t that much of a surprise either, however I wondered whether it was a subplot that would be left open for a potential fourth season. While Pete was only ever a minor character, I personally didn’t like the writers’ choice to change him, that being said it was a realistic change as Viv perfectly described “we’ve become two very different people.” I was a little worried that Viv’s choice to break up with him would have consequences in the Jim subplot, but thankfully that didn’t happen. I’m hoping that if there is a fourth season that Viv reunites with her soldier, her nephew and her twins.
I loved Martha and Bowditch’s wedding subplot. While it was obvious that their wedding would happen and they would live happily ever after, the writers’ obviously had to insert a few road bumps. I didn’t see Bowditch being handcuffed naked to a telegraph pole coming and the reveal was hilarious. The cigarette burning up Martha’s dress I did see coming but I loved how it enabled Michael and Patty to interact more. Michael and Patty’s romance blossomed too quickly for my liking, but it was thoroughly entertaining. On another note, I also loved the dance lessons and Patty “channelling Matron.” Daisy giving Martha away, Bowditch’s father in attendance and both Martha and Bowditch saying they were both punctual to the priest, and him declaring they’re perfect for each other, were incredibly sweet and touching moments.
The Annie and Chris subplot was brief but incredibly touching and provided a great contrast to the conflict between Viv and Pete. Annie, Chris, Deanna and baby Billy make a great family and it was nice to see Matron and Annie bonding. I loved Annie and Chris’ decision to elope as it was quite fitting to their characters.
Another brief subplot was Patrick’s drug addiction and Eva’s choice to live with Patrick so she is tended to through the remainder of her risky pregnancy. This subplot was the most boring to me as it didn’t surprise me and really didn’t add to the finale.
The biggest plot of all was the Shirley and Maggie plot which was absolutely spectacular. After all of her traumas, Maggie finally found a home with her biological mother, her half-brother and her daughter. The uphill battle for Shirley to foster Maggie was heartbreaking and touching. Shirley, Maggie, Ben and Maggie’s girl make a great family and I loved Shirley holding Maggie as she was giving birth, showing that Shirley has gone full circle as Maggie’s mother. Tiarnie Coupland’s performance during the birth scenes was absolutely spectacular.
Overall the finale was good but not as good as it could or should have been due to Love Child‘s uncertain future. I hope that this isn’t the last review I’ll write about this wonderful show and its fabulous cast and characters.