So the Seven Network decided once again to air two episodes of The Secret Daughter at once, and this week we have the penultimate episode and season finale aired together.
These episodes dealt with Gus’ life threatening heart surgery, Marc’s app launch, and Marc and Billie’s developing relationship.
At the start of the double episode, Billie holds off dealing with her career because of her concerns over Gus’ surgery. Overall I felt that the Gus subplot alternated between being full of cliches and turning these cliches on their head. For example, Gus suffering a complication that could have killed him is a cliche but he lived albeit with the uncertainty of whether he suffered brain damage. The biggest example of this is Gus waking up not knowing who Billie is only to reveal he was joking to lighten the mood. Throughout this subplot, I wasn’t sure whether Gus was going to live, I thought it would be an obvious outcome, however it would have been a cliche if he died. Overall I’m glad he wasn’t killed off.
I found the Eclipse subplot to be more interesting. In the penultimate episode we are finally told what Eclipse was—-a business deal involving a Walperinga mine, which lead to Jack buying the hotel via insider trading. The irony of Gus knowing about the mine and having briefly known Jack was a nice touch.
I felt the kids’ choice to ultimately posthumously turn Jack in was an obvious outcome and I enjoyed how it lead to a downfall of sorts for Susan. The question of how much of a gold digger Susan is, if she is one, was raised again and more so in this episode than any other. While Billie points out Susan did love Jack and have a daughter with him, she is also very quick to marry Andrew to take over the hotel and hold on to the Norton riches. Nick’s betrayal after Susan laughs off his marriage proposal was a nice and necessary touch to her downfall. In regards to her downfall, I felt Gordon played it incredibly well, especially as I thought a few times throughout the episode that Susan would commit suicide.
I felt that Susan accidentally setting the fire in the cellar and Billie saving her was predictable but also well done. I thought that the whole hotel would burn down which would get everyone out of hot water but also leave them with nothing. One letdown of this subplot, as well as the episode ending, was the lack of clarity of the consequences of Jack’s actions, but I’ll come back to the ending.
The Marc and Billie subplot provided some great comedic moments, however it wasn’t interesting overall due to the predictability of the outcome. They were going to get together, it was only a matter of time and circumstance, in this case Marc’s app launch and Gus’ surgery. Fields and Sweeny had great comedic chemistry, with Gus seeing right through Marc and providing him with a suggestion to calm his nerves, and calling each other by other names when Gus recovers.
In regards to the finale, season and possible series ending, I didn’t see it coming at all. Chris and Vivienne purchasing the Walperinga pub instead of a house was a nice twist, and conveniently provides a home for the Nortons after the fire. I felt that the ending as a whole was a good full circle, with the series as a whole ending where it started—-Billie singing at the Walperinga pub with her band, however with the slight difference that she now has a family around her and that they have changed each other’s lives for the better. Although Susan tells Gus she’s bored as Billie is singing away, even she has a small smile on her face.
Overall these two episodes were well done and the season as a whole was an improvement on last year’s, especially with Billie’s confirmation as a Norton, however it did feel rushed. Although I felt this way due to the Network’s choice to air the season over three weeks, rather than anything to do with the writing itself.
I’m hoping this isn’t the last season, however if it is, The Secret Daughter has certainly gone out on a high note.
-Aunty’s brief descriptions of the Nortons and Layla based on what Billie has told her about them sums them up perfectly—–charmer (Jamie), workaholic (Chris), spirited sister (Harriet) and best friend (Layla).
-Gus has given Susan the nickname of “Susie”.
-Matt’s declaration of love to Layla was the funniest one I have ever seen on TV.