I’ll be reviewing the season finale character by character:
Connor and Tahlia—At the start of the episode it’s established that they have broken up with Connor leaving and Paige moving in (I’ll get to that in a minute). Despite their break-up, they didn’t really interact until the second half of the episode when Tahlia made the decision to auction off some of Connor’s stuff at the fragrance launch.
A highlight of this subplot for me was Tahlia bonding Diane. It’s a shame that they couldn’t bond when Connor and Tahlia were together and while their scenes together were hilarious, it’s not truly established why Diane wanted to be friends with Tahlia.
After the auction, Connor and Tahlia finally get closure and a resolution on their relationship by tearfully parting on friendly terms. Personally, I felt this was the right decision for the writers to make. Considering that there is hope for Brian and Kath’s relationship (which again I’ll get to in a minute), their break-up provided the perfect and realistic contrast to the situation.
Brian and Kath—Much like Connor and Tahlia, despite the tension between them, there wasn’t really all that much of a focus on them as a couple but more as parents when their daughter Ella (Ella Newton) finally arrives home. While Kath reaches out and apologises to Brian, he’s not sure if he can forgive her, and they only manage to play “happy families” with Ella briefly, breaking slightly when Ella announce her engagement to her unseen boyfriend and they both admit that getting married as teenagers was a mistake.
Once the truth comes out about Jack’s death (which again I’ll get to in a minute), Brian and Kath seem to let go of what’s happened and hope for their relationship is shown when Kath reaches her hand out to Brian and he takes it. Considering how long they’ve been married and the love they clearly feel for each other, and what Kath has done, I felt this outcome was a realistic and the right one.
Maddie and Trav—They were more in the background of the episode as the only focus on Maddie was on her work with Andrew and finding out how much of a criminal he was, when she was investigating his properties for his divorce. Whereas Trav was only focused on when Maddie ran into Johanna and found out she quit because she was appalled at how loud they were in the bedroom.
I loved the scenes between Maddie and Johanna, as well as Maddie and Trav. The love they feel for each other provides a great and necessary contrast considering the state of the other relationships. On another note, it would have been great to find out whether Trav decided to retire after his confrontation with Brian for benching him in last week’s episode.
Paige and Dan—The episode also starts with Paige packing her bags and moving in with Tahlia as her and Dan have also broken up. The fact that she moved in with Tahlia and Tahlia supports her in return and encourages her to move on with her life, shows how far they’ve come as friends, which is great to see.
While Paige and Dan also don’t interact with each other until the fragrance launch and even then it’s only brief. Paige and Dan really deal with their break-up when Paige is ready to leave to go home and then the UK. Dan begs Paige to stay but Paige tells him he’s where he needs to be. I’m glad that the writers avoided the cliche of the girlfriend staying after the boyfriend begs her to, not to mention that considering how bad things had become between them, their relationship ending was a realistic and obvious outcome. It also provided a nice contrast to Connor and Tahlia’s break up, as they didn’t cheat on each other, despite the temptation in the form of Brody. I also appreciated that Paige turned Brody down, as if she said yes, the other option when a relationship is in trouble or ended is also a cliche.
On another note, I was happy to see Paige finally stand up for herself as a teacher to Toni, and as an independent woman and human being when Andrew tries to force her to stay with Dan until the end of the season.
Jessie—The focus on Jessie wasn’t on her pregnancy rather Jack’s death after Connor confesses to her that he told Dan and Rusty to leave him in the water. First, she confronts Rusty for lying to her, and then Kath and Maddie basically accuse Andrew of killing him.
Although it seemed obvious and plausible that Andrew killed him considering his obsession with the club and his blatant homophobia, it is finally revealed that Brian accidentally killed Jack when he punched him after they had a brief fight, and the punch resulted in Jack’s head hitting the rock. While I could have lived with Andrew being the killer, having it turn out to be Brian by accident was a great and realistic final twist, especially as Brian has never been shown to be violent. The highlight of the conclusion of this story arc was not only finding out who killed Jack, but also the confrontation between Andrew, Brian, Jessie, Maddie and Kath.
The revelation of Brian accidentally killing Jack and Andrew resigning as President of the Southern Jets provided the perfect closure for this story arc.
Overall this was a solid season finale for many reasons. First and foremost, the stunning and realistic conclusion to the main story arc, however if there is a second season, which I’d love, I’m not sure where they’d go from here. Secondly, the conclusion of Connor and Tahlia’s, and Paige and Dan’s relationships was also realistic, with their heartbreak accurately portrayed. That being said there are a few loose ends, such as Jessie’s baby not being born, the identity of Connor’s biological mother, and whether Trav has retired from the club.
Overall this show’s first (and hopefully not only) season was solid with a well-written, well-acted and thrilling story arc, strong and engaging subplots, a talented cast and crew, and plenty of loose ends to base season two on.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing Playing for Keeps and I hope that it’s renewed for another season.