Discussion in 'Australian & New Zealand Soaps' started by JingeBellsROG, Sep 12, 2017.
What's this tomfoolery all about?
Yes, those comments got me thinking about my issues with Season 2 Willie, so here's some reflections on the opening of the 3rd year and of season 2 as a whole...
The rape issue is really troublesome for me. I want to like Terry, and the writers/directors are kind of forcing him on us by getting Fiona to somehow accept him and even Jill to tolerate him being around. But was this really in the mindset of early 1980s Australia, that rape was fine if she was a prozzy and therefore sex can be justified because she is seen to be practically asking for it at the time? Seen from 2019 it's hard to swallow that as a justification. I'm from Ipswich, and thinking about those prostitute murders we had in my little provincial town a while back, it's still an emotive issue and for me the only way this story can resolve itself is if Terry really gets some kind of come-uppance for what he did. I foresee him becoming victim to some kind of Chip pitch-fork event demise, and die suffering for what he inflicted on poor Jill. But will it happen? Can't remember off hand so at this stage I'm not sure.
And Fiona. I agree how she 'bulldozes over everything' this year - she actually became rather annoying. Whether the actress got big for her boots following S&D's success, or if it was just the weak writing, but it was hard to believe in her as a plausible development from the lovely 'everyone's favourite aunt' type she had become last year. I was longing for the Fiona of the first season in her boarding house and that cozy, chintzy boudoir, with her offering free advice to John, Jill and anyone else who cared to turn up. But since she came into money this year and got votes in the Ramburg boardroom, then buying Woombai, well the bitchiness and arrogance she's shown has almost spoiled her character for me in the second season. It's kind of like imagining Lilimae becoming a partner in Lotus Point during Season 5, and having to accept all the preposterous repercussions from that... No, Fiona should have rebuilt her boarding house in Sydney and should now just be staying at home giving advice to various members of the cast, causing little harm to the main plots and just occasionally getting electrocuted by the odd stray hoover...
The best thing about this third season so far is.... Patricia!
I love how they toned down her appearances towards the end of Series 2. She wasn't part of the big cliffhanger, she nearly had another breakdown, and it was all genuine when she tried to get Stephen to forgive her and take her back. We knew she hadn't done anything untoward with Matt, which made us all the more on her side when she tried to win him back. I love how understated her performances have been of late. I really like how she is remaking her life from the bottom up, and her relationship with psychiatrist Matt is a bit like how Abby might have been on Knots, if her love affair with Gary hand't gone to plan, and she had to settle for Westmont instead. Kind of if Gary hadn't got out of prison and she was just left penniless in Season 5, how would she have coped on her own, getting a job and missing out on defrauding him? I feel the writers are wanting us to reconnect with her as a flawed but still likeable and relatable soap villain this year, not just a devious baddie/psycho monster type. And her little speech to her sister Margaret at the end of this episode (364) was a lovely, and totally honest reflection of that point - worth a view!
We are really rooting for our Pat here, despite all the terrible things she has done in the past 2 years, she is still learning and evolving, we're not sure at this stage if she might actually reform herself for good, and so we want to be part of her journey as viewers, every step of the way.
Contrast that with Wayne - he is the most predictably detestable character on the show, but in a strangely drab way. I can't help thinking a better actor might have had us rooting and enthralled by his nastiness much more, but poor Ian Rawlings just didn't have the likability factor, at least not at this point. Every time he has a JR style deception scene - setting up Kevin, hiding the power-of-attorney letter he deceived Beryl into signing, we just hate him, and want to see him fall. His scenes come across as too plot contrived rather than believable and I don't think its just down to the writers, I don't think Rawlings was really up to making him into the kind of Aussie JR clone the writers were trying to foist over and again. He's quite tedious and repetitive to watch and I didn't even care when he was suicidal and was going to jump out of that window towards the end of last season. He couldn't really convince us enough as invested viewers to really care either way.
So Pat comes up trumps so far, and I so hope Fiona will become my likeable granny/confidant/power aunt again soon... One last point - how much longer will our cutie John last - can't help thinking he is on his way out soon too?
I do like the dualism of it all, and I'm often surprised to see how difficult the writers have made it for themselves. After all, you don't need to see a damaged victim to understand how damaging and vile rape is.
Every time Terry's on the verge of total redemption, something happens or someone says something that sabotages that very redemption.
And how would you feel about a rapist who saves your life? Terry says he's very very sorry that it happened, but he still doesn't really get it.
Lisa's theory - he's traumatized by the heartless whores in Vietnam - doesn't help much either, so all in all it's still up in the air.
To make matters even more complicated, I don't think Terry was supposed to be some kind of villain or serial rapist, and he has all the assets to be the show's hillbilly heartthrob.
Nevertheless, he did lie to John about what happened on the day Jill was raped. Apart from the rape itself I think that was his darkest moment.
What baffles me is that nobody wants to sleep with Matt (except for Charlie of course). He's the Australian answer to Dynasty's John James, for crying out loud.
I don't mind hating a villain, but the writing for Wayne is way too fluctuated. Being on top of his evil game in one episode, only to hit rock bottom in the next one.
This happens to Patricia too, but in Wayne's case it has the effect of a ping-pong ball game. Every genuine moment is immediately counter-balanced by an evil opportunity and I think at some point I just stopped caring or trying to figure him out.
Although I think he's adorable in all the cat scenes. Incidentally, what ever happened to Plan D?
Paw-haps it kept upstaging the main cast, so they didn't renew its contract?
I've felt the same way around it. Although at the same time I'm impressed that the series has had the chutzpah to have a rapist as a regular character and didn't characterise him as a one-dimensional villain in all other areas because of that fact.
Because we've spent time with him, I've grown to like Terry as a character. In a way that makes his previous actions more disappointing if anything. It's at the back of my mind in every scene of his, and part of me is looking for that thing that will either explain or redeem him.
I liked that discussion with Lisa and felt it went at least a little way to explaining his mindset. It feels inadequate, of course. Because it is. There's no excusing what he did.
I'm a little ahead of you, and while I can't promise pitchforks, Terry is certainly suffering at the moment.
Fiona has irritated me at times. It's certainly down to how she's written - as someone who interferes and creates unnecessary drama. But it's also down to how she's played. She's a lot less likeable than she was in the early days. One has to look harder to find the humour and warmth that was there in abundance at the beginning.
It's an interesting question about whether Pat McD got too big for her boots. The creator and a number of the cast of Number 96 have spoken of feuds behind the scenes of that series that began after Pat insisted they cast her partner, Bunney Brooke, who had a reputation for creating schisms. Things apparently got worse after Pat and Bunney won their Logies (Pat got four Logies during that series' run). Not that this necessarily means anything about Sons And Daughters.
If memory serves, I think we get some of fun Aunt Fiona back later in the run. I certainly hope so.
I don't find Ian Rawlings unlikeable, but I don't think he's got enough range to make Wayne interesting. I watched an episode a couple of days ago where he had a tantrum and destroyed someone's property and he just looked like a petulant child. I know what Rawlings and the writers were trying to do with it (tap into the psychology of Wayne feeling rejected because of the childhood stuff with Gordon and his mother), but it was far too unsubtle. He doesn't have to be played as a child in order to invoke that stuff.
The O’Briens are in crisis. And it’s showing us the strengths and weaknesses of the family structure. The primary issue is Katie’s involvement with Roger Carlyle, leading to blazing rows in the household almost any which way you can envisage.
Rona Coleman and Ken James as Heather and Mike are great in these scenes, their anger, frustration and pain very convincing. I’m very much enjoying watching these two.
It’s also reinforced what Willie has previously said about the different standard between the older and younger cast members. Katie is very confused at the moment, and it’s not the best colour on her. Jane Seaborn is shrieking a lot. I dare say this is what teenage girls do when they’re confused, but it’s starting to feel very one-note and I’m in danger of having one of my heads. While the more I see of Craig Morrison’s Jeff, the more he seems to be permanently on quaaludes. So half-heartedly uninterested does he seem to be in his own dialogue. Again, I guess this is what teenage boys do. I don’t dislike either character, and the family chemistry is there. But at the moment the younger ones are only compelling as far as their impact on their parents go.
Perfectly balancing out the histrionics at home, Mike got to slip away to a football match. Jim accompanied him and dragged a very reluctant Patricia along. I was expecting it to be awful, but these location scenes with Patricia as the fish out of water were actually charming and endearing. I suppose they are mid Season Three’s variation of the “tearing the bread roll” scenario. Patricia doesn’t know how to behave and is watching the brothers flanking her for her cues. When they stand up, so does she. When she realises they’ve both sat down again, she looks slightly embarrassed. She has no idea what the person has scored or what it gets them. Indeed, she has no idea what football actually is:
Patricia: “Wayne used to play football, but he used to run around with it.”
Jim: “He would have played rugby.”
The scene also shows something of Patricia's hard-wired upper middle class persona and perhaps a rejection of her more earthy roots. It's rather like the scene in which a bemused Abby is taken to a fast food joint by Gary and looks around as though she's on an alien planet. The audience knows that there was a time when this place would have been fun - almost luxurious - to her young, struggling self. But she's rejected that past so absolutely she probably can't even connect those two things.
As I’ve commented before, the chemistry between Rowena Wallace and Sean Scully is fantastic and I’ve found myself watching and re-watching a few of their scenes because the spontaneity and naturalism makes them seem fresh and full of energy. Halfway through Jim’s line above, Scully broke into laughter. I’m fairly sure it was real because of the way his voice broke unflatteringly. But it could be that he’s just a bloody good actor who is able to leave his self-consciousness at the door. Either way, I’m hooked.
Fiona herself seems to miss her old self. As in a wistful comment she made when listening to Irene (who is basically the "fun" Fiona of two years ago) cracking jokes:
**don't know how to quote the orange quote bar**
Haven't seen it yet (obviously) but that particular comment is going to rank high in my favourite S&D quotes-list. It's so bittersweet.
Well things have really been kicking off in casa Healy lately, what with Jennifer's revelation that Adam was the father of her child, and now the tragic drowning of a 3 year old girl in their pool. It almost feels kind of dark for a daytime soap and it's lead to some very dramatic confrontations between Martin and Peter. Martin is shaping up to be a real cold-hearted bastard the more we get to know him. My heart really went out to Peter in this episode, as if the guilt of what happened isn't bad enough Martin is determined to make him feel as bad as possible about it. I liked that it was Angela he went to at the end of the episode when his world was falling apart. It's particularly hard hitting seeing Peter this way as he's generally so carefree and so far he's managed to laugh off everything that comes his way.
Jennifer's not really the most exciting character, it's like we just got rid of one pretty dull sister (Susan) and she's been replaced with another one. But at least Jennifer has had sex with her brother and is central to some pretty meaty story lines. Speaking of Adam...I wonder if he'll show up in time for the wedding? Maybe Patricia will invite him. And speaking of Patricia, I'm not sure that they've totally sold me on the idea that she's really all that justified in her vendetta against Margret and Martin, but who cares, it's fun imagining how it's all going to pan out. But she did seem to be genuinely into Martin before she found out about their affair so it seems strange that she's now so intent on sabotaging it for something that happened over 20 years ago. I guess that's just how she rolls. Anyway, I'm assuming the wedding episode is going to be fun. And I guess we have Gordon and Barbara's wedding to look forward to at some point soon as well. Although I'm assuming it'll be the less dramatic of the two. But who knows...
Understatement of the year, but she's mostly a plot-driven character so it doesn't hurt that much.
lol, I had a few of those myself years ago, and lost! David seems to have really been hitting the beach and the gym while they were on a break, he's looking quite different from season 1 David.
Yes, they're a really good addition to the show. Martin is so creepy, he actually scares me sometimes, and then you have Peter who is like a ray of sunshine. Does anyone know if Jen is the same actress who later plays Julie Robinson in Neighbours? I don't know if I'm imagining it but it's been bugging me.
He's excellent. The scene where he throws Peter in the pool and then kicks him in the face was so dark and sinister. It makes me wonder if Patricia's plans come to fruition what he might end up doing to her....
It was pretty clear from the moment the sisters holiday to Woombai was suggested (and Margaret overheard Patricia's rant about her and Martin) that Paul and Margaret would form some kind of allegiance. I'm very curious to see how that one plays out.
That steely side to him feels so real, and I enjoy the unpredictability it gives the character.
Yes. It's like he's been in his own little world, so there's the sense that when reality hits it's going to be an even bigger shock to him.
She's not the most exciting, but I do like the family dynamics and how she fits into it.
There is that, yes.
I'm looking forward to your reactions to both.
Doesn't he just?
She's not, but I can see exactly what you mean about the similarity.
(I had to look this up, as I know there were two Julies but I can't remember the second one very well).
The repercussions of Patricia’s poor mental health are proving quite a goldmine. The way it’s informing characters’ responses to her has given a good degree of drama. A little contrivance too, at times, but I can forgive it that when the end result is so enjoyable.
Adding to the enjoyment is that Patricia herself has been quick to exploit the situation, primarily to pry Jim away from Beryl. There’s been a lot of back and forth, and as well as Patricia on top form it’s brought out a new, edgy Beryl who will no longer suffer fools and has promised to give as good as she gets. Scenes between the two women - and there have been a number of them - have sparkled.
As with the best of lies, there’s been a fine line between Patricia’s fantasies and the reality of the situation. Which has brought consequences. Timely consequences. She’s warped the truth so much it’s made people hesitant to believe anything she says. She’s lashed out and driven people away. And all just in time for her to have a predator in her home, gaslighting her.
Patricia’s When A Stranger Calls arc was loaded with atmosphere. I found it genuinely creepy at times. It probably helped that I generally watch episodes late at night. Alone. And I don’t really watch horror films these days so I’m easily unnerved. But still, just that sense of a presence in the house played out very effectively. I found myself watching the background of scenes, waiting for… something… to emerge from the darkness and do unspeakable things. Even though I knew both the series’ early evening time-slot and the simple TV direction would preclude this happening, there was enough atmosphere to make it seem like a possibility so long as I believed.
As it turns out, less is more. Typed threatening notes, objects disappearing, silent phone calls and shots of feet creeping up the stairs created tension. By the time Patricia was having a chat with her stalker through the opaque glass door the tension had lessened considerably. However I did enjoy her “final girl” moment as she went all Laurie Strode and used her wits and physicality to outsmart the stalker by turning out the lights and smashing first a glass window and then her stalker’s bonce with an ornament.
The reveal of the stalker was prolonged by an episode after seeing Patricia’s shocked face. But based on the chat through the door it was less than 100% surprising to find it was Paul Sheppard. He was very under-utilised, and I’m guessing only available for a couple of scenes. We had to read between the lines and work out he’d lost the plot because he was drinking lots and had gone to David’s hairstylist for blonde highlights. By the time he was interacting with Beryl and Terry I’d got distracted trying to work out which characters he’d previously met and where. So much has happened since he was last around not so long ago.
All the same, it was good to see him back briefly. Even with the sparse screen-time, he managed to touch on a lot of the character’s history: Angela, James’s death, the church, his relationship with Patricia… There was a nice scene where Terry came to speak to him in the kitchen while Beryl was calling the police (from Beryl this somehow felt like a huge betrayal. Surely there was another way). Paul had his back to Terry so both were facing the camera, and Paul had tears streaming down his face. In that moment I felt a connection to the character. Turns out that was his final scene.
By episode’s end he’d been killed off away from the lights and cameras (note to the props department who created the newspaper: “suicide” is not a verb).… It’s a sad, lonely, tormented ending. And somehow that feels fitting for this character.
In other news, Wayne has raped Amanda, so she’s making him buy her a sports car(!); Jill is still vacillating between supporting Terry and screwing him over; Lynn has continued her affair with Andy, found him in Amanda’s arms, developed anorexia nervosa and contemplated suicide. But Irene made her some nice broth and all was well again.
Irene’s been rather busy actually. Somewhere in the midst of the business with Lynn she found time to save Gordon from what would otherwise have been a fatal heart attack. In an interview on the S&D website (with spoilers for first time viewers) Judy Nunn cited this moment as her personal favourite on the series:
If Sons & Daughters was a modern tv series then episode 370 would have been a "mid-season" finale. It's so different from the traditional daytime soap narrative, you really can't miss a single episode.
Margaret is a wonderfully pathetic character, continuously altering between wacky revenge and search for happiness - with Stephen or David. It's almost as if Patricia has created a grotesque version of herself.
Matt encourages Patricia to become independent, but that backfires when she tells him that she doesn't want to be involved with a man right now - which leaves the dashing and confident psychiatrist pouting.
An ill-tempered, nostrils-flaring, magazine-smacking Barbara is a lot of fun to watch. I'm sure it helps that the viewer can sympathize with her, retroactive betrayal is a tricky thing to deal with, and I don't think it's spiteful of her that she doesn't want to be confronted with the result of that betrayal.
Gordon is walking on eggshells, as usual, but sometimes I think I can spot a tiny bit of a passive-aggressive tone in his voice.
Tony, inspired by his new/first girlfriend Shelley, has decided to go back to skuul.
Shelley is born with a frown on her face, she might be related to Sesame Street's Bert. For whatever reason she can't keep her eyes open and she always ends up talking to the floor.
Tony's Girlfriend isn't the only vacancy at S&D's, in fact it has become new-job-galore, and everyone is extremely motivated to give his or her career a boost. As in: not being unemployed for a change.
Wayne tells Beryl that she has the potential of becoming a great business woman, Fiona hires Stephen to save Woombai from bankruptcy, Kevin gets a career-training offer in England and everyone needs an assistant.
I do feel sorry for John Palmer. No career, no girlfriend, not even a proper score to settle. He's stuck in long-forgotten plotlines and now he doesn't know what to do with himself.
I find it all quite unceremonious.
Charlie hires PR-hotshot Robin, and he's certainly not afraid to claim his position in the Aussie hit show.
He also reminds me of actor Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair).
Patricia's job as receptionist turns out to be a big failure, in a quasi-sketch she clearly struggles with the switchboard.
She's not allowed to make any private calls (not an unreasonable restriction, after all it's her job to answer the phone) but she loses the job anyway when Charlie calls her for the latest gossip or fashion statements or whatever.
I thought it was funny.
Amanda discovers some old letters from Gordon to Nancy in the old Woombai clock, and then Wayne finds himself in yet another reconciliation-goes-horribly-wrong scenario.
Two super-annoying reporters are harassing the Hamiltons regarding Helen Green's tragic death (don't blink or you'll miss it) and vengeful Wayne gives them the full scoop.
Patricia is being more successful in making peace (with both David and Stephen) and of course this frustrates Margaret no end.
A confrontation between the happy soap sisters is interrupted by a wildfire, they have to escape, but then….OMG!
Isn't she just! And since it's her default mode... lucky us!
I enjoyed this too. It was a refreshing change of pace for Patricia. And there have been a couple more since then.
This one really worked for me. It's perhaps the most sincere I've seen Wayne. So it was effective when it went horribly wrong.
Isn't it a great cliffhanger?! A real classic.
The scene when he's reading the letters - Gordon's voice-over, accompanied by moody panpipes music - was very effective. For the first time, Nancy Hamilton became a character.
Gordon's reaction seemed rather cold, but I think at some point one has to protect oneself from further emotional damage.
Wayne is so relentlessly twisty, I don't think he can trust himself anymore.
Patricia can do both at the same time. I felt sorry for her when she asked John about Angela, and then 10 seconds later she gleefully tells Margaret "try to make him (David) feel dissatisfied with Beryl. That's how I got him!"
But her storylines aren't always dictated by either this or that, and Wayne's storylines are usually completely based on his current state of mind. Mood A and mood B, and that leaves little room for nuance and (imho) sincerity.
Yes indeed. There's a great deal of unexplored pre-history to the show. All those events that took place twenty, thirty years earlier. It's the stuff great fanfic prequels are made of.
Yes. But how long will it last?!
I'm fascinated by Patricia's motives in these scenes with Margaret. There's a sense that she could have an agenda or game plan. But she also might not. There's a lot of under the surface stuff that keeps the viewer intrigued.
Agreed. Seventy episodes or so on from where you are I'm still watching the same loop play out.
The last two episodes have been great, each one with their own epic showdown. In 237 Martin storms into the Palmer house on mothers day and pushes Doug and then punches David and kicks him in the head! Martin is becoming one of my favourite characters in a love to hate kind of way. He's really been dynamite in a few scenes recently as he looses his cool again and again. David's threat that if he ever comes there again he'll kill him set lots of murder mystery alarm bells ringing, especially as the next episode has lots of scenes with a gun and a great scene where Peter reminisces about shooting practice with his father and says "Right between the eyes Dad" as he takes aim. So, let's see, it'd be a shame to lose Martin but at the same time it's time somebody died. 238 episodes and not a single corpse. Well actually there was the girl in the pool and Hal Mason, but it's high time there were some more.
And then in 238 there's some great scheming and double crossing that goes on between Patricia and Margret. I love how Margaret first appeared to be coming clean to Paul about the plan to set him up but then demands twice the money not to take part. She's always seemed sketchy to say the least but she's really starting to sow her true colours now. She's then very direct with Patricia and everyone lays their cards on the table. She comes out on top but the battle lines are really drawn now. She might not be quite as devious as Patricia but she's greedy enough and mercenary enough to put up a good fight. This should be fun.
I hadn't realised that a juicy trial is exactly what's been missing from Sons And Daughters. This particular one has surprised me. Terry's been living with its approach for quite some time, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite this good. A lot of this kind of S&D business is conducted offscreen and we hear about the consequences from characters in their usual settings, so I hadn't even realised we'd see the inside of a courtroom.
The last episode I watched in particular felt very exhilarating. There have been gasps from everyone in attendance as secrets are revealed. There's nothing we didn't know, but it's fun to see the characters' histories being exposed to a "new" audience. It somehow allows me to feel complicit while at the same time making things I already knew feel fresh and exciting. All the little storyline chickens are coming home to roost: that rape; Jill's past as a sex worker; the abortion she considered having (Scott Thompson was wheeled back on to muddy Jill's name); Irene's secret son and her past as a GP. Most dramatic of all... halfway through Scott's appearance on the stand, he revealed that he's Terry's father. With nobody more stunned than Terry himself.
The trial being onscreen means there's been one glaring and unforgivable omission. Having met the Hansens it's unthinkable that they wouldn't be there to support him at his trial. I don't think there was even a perfunctory "they're too frail to travel" type explanation. It's just meant to be accepted by the viewer that Fiona is now Terry's family. And I don't accept it. It actually means I think less of Fiona for being so wrapped up in her usual vortex of drama, secrets and "he'll never forgive me"s that she edges out the two people who, let's face it, love far Terry more than anyone who was present.
While I can't forgive the Hansens' absence, the trial must have done something right. Patricia has been absent from the series for a number of episodes now, having flown to the UK to be with Matt (and being given an exit scene. It's almost as if Rowena Wallace is leaving the series...), and her absence has barely registered with me.
Irene was well on the way to becoming a firm favourite of mine (again), and her turn as a witness for the prosecution was the clincher. She was at her gutsy, spirited best.
Her son, Todd has just shown up, which hopefully means lots more Irene goodness to come.
S&D was unputdownable this week, thanks to the hoo-ha surrounding Angela and Rob's wedding, so I'm up to Episode 135 now.
Patricia coming into money and immediately making an alliance with Hal Mason is very Abby. If she had any pesky babies she wanted rid of, you can bet Hal would be the one to kidnap them and then blow his own brains out.
Then, of course, Patricia making another play for David and swearing revenge when he turns her down is very Alexis, yet she does it in a very calm, non-hysterical way, which is all the more disturbing. And whereas Alexis had her swanky penthouse, and Abby had her and Gary's sexy beach house to move into when they got rich, all Patricia has is that dark, bleak house in Melbourne she inherited from James Sheppard. It makes her seem a bit like Miss Haversham.
Yeah, when Patricia comes back from looking for Paul Sheppard, she comes back BIG. It's like the writers have cottoned on to how great, and presumably popular, a character she is and are writing to that now. When she turns up at David and Beryl's house and starts laying down the law about Angela's wedding, I kind of missed the old Patricia who wasn't able to be so openly mean. But after she makes friends with David again at the wedding, she's back to acting nice and being two-faced -- which in a way is more interesting because she still has something to lose. (It's like on FALCON CREST where it took three seasons for Angela and Chase to start openly insulting each other, and as soon as they did, the dramatic tension between them was broken.)
Yeah, that was lovely. It reminded me of the scene where Beryl wiped the height chart that marked the kids' growth off the kitchen door and then immediately regretted it.
It's so clever how they just decide that the twins finding out about David and Patricia's affair is The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen and everyone just goes along with it - including the audience. It's like when Bobby and Pam moving off Southfork was The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen on DALLAS even though it would be a perfectly normal thing to do in real life.
Having John find out the truth the night before the wedding was BRILLIANT. It felt like modern soap story-telling, the way that the Big Secret the audience has been in on for ages inevitably gets revealed on Christmas Day or at a big celebration. That's a regular trope in British soaps now, but I don't think it started until Sharongate on EASTENDERS in about '94. The US primetime soaps didn't really do it either. So S&D is kind of ahead of the times here.
What I loved most about that scene it is that it doesn't end after John overhears Rob and Wayne talking about the affair -- I mean, the episode ends at that point, but then at the start of the next episode, the scene just carries on and on and on. Rob and Wayne realise he knows and they all just stand there in shock. Nobody knows what to say or do, not even Wayne. Rob just keeps apologising. It's really messy and great. It wouldn't happen in a soap now. They'd cut away to another scene after the initial revelation and then cut back a few minutes later, but it's that initial aftermath that's so fascinating.
The emotional highpoint of the whole wedding thing is, unexpectedly, John forgiving David for the affair while Patricia looks on. Again, there's a beautifully awkward moment where the two men don't know what to do with each other physically. If it was thirty years later, they might be able to hug, but David ends up just ruffling John's hair and John touches his dad on the arm. It's just so genuine and real.
There were a couple of minor "cutting the bread roll" moments at the wedding. Rob's lovely mum Aileen realises just in time that a box of marshmallows would be a totally inappropriate thankyou present for Patricia. There's mention of them being a local delicacy in Macedon (marshmallows - a delicacy??), which ties in with a scene months earlier where Lynne and Kevin bring a (squashed) box of them back from their honeymoon in Macedon for Beryl, who needless to say is thrilled.
Then there's a very brief moment where Lynne is left alone with Patricia in the Hamilton living room. Panicked, she says something like, "Lovely shelves!" Patricia reacts as if she were talking about a precious piece of art and says, "Yes they are, aren't they?" It's a quietly excruciating moment for Lynne and really the only time I've felt anything like sympathy for her.
The rich man disguising himself as the humble gardener feels like something out of an ancient story, like a parable from the Bible or a fairytale, or at the very least, some old film with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. Paul's got a weird Adam Carrington/Steven Cord/werewolf vibe about him. I keep waiting for him to do something evil, or just howl at the moon, but he hasn't yet.
Everyone on NEIGHBOURS is very, very, very, very, very, very, very nice. Except for maybe the mad vicar who kidnapped Granny Helen (aka Rosie the housekeeper with a posh voice).
The funny thing about Patricia and Fiona (and John and Wayne) all moving into the sexy '80s world of big business is that the Ramberg offices just look so cheap and nasty. S&D always looks at its tackiest when it goes offset and onto real locations where they seem to have less control over the lighting and sound. The scene where Paul sets foot in his grandfather's office for the first time feels like it should be taking place in the executive suite at Colby Co or Ewing Oil, but instead, it's this cramped little room and with cheap plastic chairs!
Beryl's miscarriage has the same dramatic effect as Fiona's baby's grave being destroyed -- it turns her against those she's closest to. It would be unthinkable otherwise for her to drag herself away from that kitchen to start a new life in Sydney, but it absolutely works. It's not just about the baby or even about Patricia, it's all those years of domestic drudgery and pent up Pavlovas and boxes of squashed marshmallows and crushed expectations finally rising to the surface.
The wildfire scenes look quite spectacular, certainly by S&D standards - and it changes everything for the Dunne sisters.
In one of the aftermath scenes Patricia makes a very emotional plea for reconciliation but oddly enough it doesn't happen right there and then.
Margaret is still sceptical about the idea, and to be honest I could just as easily believe that Patricia's need to reach out was the result of the shock.
The follow-up conversation puts Margaret in the emotional position, but it's all the more effective for twisting a matter-of-factly approach into something deeply genuine.
They discuss Margaret's worrisome attachment to David.
"If you have the chance for some happiness, for a few days, grab it. You may not feel too good about it afterwards, but at least you'll have something to remember. And there's nothing worse then going through life without something special to remember".
I'm sure this is the most friendly advice you'll ever get from Patricia Dunne Hamilton Morrell (Carr).
The confusing part is that they could use almost the exact same lines in a different situation and with different music, and turn it into something conniving and excitingly foreshadowing.
But in this case the story doesn't even hint at the future, or in what way Margaret's decision may or may not affect other people, the Palmers in particular.
If anything, it only hints at Margaret's future past.
Either way, this is where the sister feud ends (for now, anyway).
But where one feud ends, another begins - well, resurrect, to be more precisely. But now it's going to be the Real Thing: Patricia declares war on Fiona Thompson! (and I'm drooling all over my keyboard as I type this).
Patricia's promise to Stephen to be a good wife who steers clear of soapy plotting holds up less than half an episode. Her lust for revenge makes her reckless, and when plan A backfires she's being temporarily exiled from Woombai.
She ends up in the Sydney apartment, together with her gutless-wonder-boss Robin.
His secret puts him in a double blackmail situation, courtesy of the Dunne sisters.
Patricia's villainy reaches an all-time high when she plans to frame Terry for attempted rape, with some help from Robin.
It's just as bonkers as all the other big schemes because it's mostly based on predictions and assumptions of how everyone will react to the situation.
The physical part of the plan proceeds without any hiccups (the unindentified witness notwithstanding) but Patricia doesn't get what she really wants.
Nevertheless, the damage has been done.
I applaud the writers for their cleverness to end the rape-saga with a bizarre kind of poetic justice. The whole story is filled with wonderful irony and it's a real payoff for something that had started such a long time ago.
Everything can change in the next episode, but this is how it feels right now.
Unfortunately, Sons & Daughters also reaches an all-time low when Andy Green gets his first personal storyline.
The affair with Lynn (of all people) is so completely devoid of any kind of...well, to cut a long rant short, this was the first time I fast-forwarded some scenes.
I don't know what it is that I don't like about him, it's just a mental and physical reaction, but I hope I'll be able to relax a little because he isn't going anywhere.
I think I'm going to miss Davey more than Lynn, he's such a cute and funny kid and he even managed to put on a sad face when Beryl and Lynn said their sad farewells.
Wayne and Amanda's relationship becomes increasingly interesting, there are half-misunderstandings and non-vicious deceits.
A shopping montage scene shows us a plotless Wayne enjoying himself with some product placement and I thought: he should have more fun.
Not just the moustache-twirling smirks, but also some real human fun.
My last comment coincides with the current soapnet poll. Terry Hansen doesn't have a hairy chest at all.
Apart from being banished from Woombai, he also finds himself removed from my VIP wank bank. Oh the shame!
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