Something rich and strange...
written by Andrew Knight
directed by Mandy Smith
Frank Wilson as Len Connors
Doris Younane as Elena Connors
Jim Russell as Squid Connors
Alison Whyte as Katrina Fennessy
Debra Low as Pam Nugent
Brett Swain as Griff
I liked this episode a lot. Season 2 is starting to recapture some of the magic of season 1. The first two episodes made me a little worried that they had lost some of the charm.
Diver has gone and left Laura behind, devastated and broken-hearted. Max Connors (William McInnes) returns to Pearl Bay after having been away for many years. He brings his wife Elena, with him (I recognised her from ads for Heartbreak High and the Campbells' soup ad).
Max's brother Squid is harassing Pam Nugent, the local hairdresser by showering her with unwanted musical attention and Max's reunion with his father is low-key and unemotional, much to Elena's surprise.
We discover that Max is an old friend of Dan's and accordingly, was bequeathed the boathouse. Max is a successful foreign correspondent who has lived in war-torn countries and has come back to Pearl Bay ostensibly to settle down and write a book.
Pam Nugent files charges against Squid for breaching a court intervention order and the bewildered Squid is undeterred in his quest for true love. Elena, using her psychology degree attempts to talk to him about his behaviour and he listens politely but does not appear to take anything in. Max has more luck with his matter-of-fact, somewhat brutal approach.
Meanwhile, Laura is emotional and weepy, prone to extended bouts of tears and despair in which she adjourns court so that she can have private cry in the ladies' toilets. Angus and Karen are terrified of her emotional roller-coaster, particularly Angus who spends much of the time looking like a frightened fawn.
In this episode, even though I could tell the writers were trying to make Jack a more sympathetic character, I found myself glowering at the screen and muttering: 'Scum, don't make snide remarks about Diver. Scum!'
Laura's first encounter with Max is embarrassing and distressing when she discovers that Diver may have made his plans to leave as early as six months earlier. She is also devastated to discover that he has never mentioned her name to his close friend Max.
When Laura discovers that Elena is a professional psychologist, although Elena initially makes an overture in relation to working with children in the court system, Laura pounces upon her. Elena is a sympathetic listener and as the discussion unfolds, the two are on the path towards become good friends.
Max appears on Squid's behalf in court. When he discovers that the rather loopy, emotional woman who burst into his house and burst out again is Diver's love, and that she is devastated by his departure, he starts thinking hard. He makes a poetic speech about love and loss, quoting from Pushkin and sure that Laura is an emotional soft touch.
took the greatest risk of his life when he wrote his first love song for
Pamela Nugent. He was only 9 - but he was so brave because he risked everything
for love - and the greater the risk the greater the devastation when we
realise the object of our love, the person who's given our life its shape
- is gone.
He pauses. Pulls out a piece of paper.
Steven wanted this read in court. It's by his favourite poet - Pushkin.
will not want to sadden you again
Hopeless and tongue-tied, yet I loved you dearly
With pangs the jealous and the timid know;
So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely,
<pause>I pray God grant another love you so.
To his astonishment, although affected by the address, Laura sees right through him. Angus' tears were hysterical! Max in turn is impressed by the "miniature magistrate" who is Diver's "judge". In a rather touching scene between them, Max sets things right by telling her that Diver called her his "judge" and talked about her all the time.
Katrina Fennessy has captured Bob's greedy interest easily and drives off into the distance leaving behind a slightly besotted Jelly.
He is appalled however when Max (a notorious trouble-maker) after a little investigation discovers that the Community Bank is a sham, Katrina has been weaving lies and has vanished with everyone's savings.
While Bob is still reeling in shock and bewilderment, Heather under a rather pathetic misapprehension that Bob has been distraught due to concern for her reveals to Bob that Meredith and Harold are her real parents.
I found the last scene very sad but quite puzzling. Max is staring out at the sea, Elena comes up to him and he puts his arms around her and he looked very sad, almost as if he's crying. When she tries to go inside to bed, he holds her and asks her not to leave him and she looks as sad as he does. It was rather lovely.
I like Elena's character a lot. She's very sassy and funny. A friend of mine described Doris Younane as having a fantastic "woggy" voice and I interpret that to mean that she has a very colloquial down to earth manner of speaking. I also think she's very attractive in her own way - and also very loving of Max. Kudos to the writers for coming up with a great couple like Max and Elena.
For those who would like to know, the beautiful male vocal you hear is "Dancing with my spirit" by Archie Roach from his album "Looking for Butterboy".
For other translations of the Pushkin poem, visit Literary Allusions in Seachange.
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