Air Date: 24th November 2011
Cast: Todd Lasance, Hamish Michael, Ella Scott Lynch, Andrea Demetriades, Indiana Evans, Marta Dusseldorp, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Jeanette Cronin, Peter Kowitz, Daniel Lissing
Synopsis: The DPP is forced to make budget cuts, a by-product of the controversy observed over this entire season. One of our five leads it seems will be on the chopping block. In addition to this, they each individually face major dramas in their personal lives, which force them to make more than one life-altering decision.
For the penultimate episode of the season, the tension and intrigue was not allowed to drop for an instant. My attention was held from the recap of last week until the closing credits. The episode was structured such that as egos were deflated by the potential of redundancy, the pressures were reflected in the five solicitor’s personal lives, forcing to the forefront many insecurities and troubles that have been brewing in some cases since the first episode.
Before I begin my analysis in earnest, I warn readers now, that for me to fully express my feelings on this episode, I do reveal spoilers, so for those with a taped episode waiting for them, I ask them to come back to this post after they have finished watching the episode.
As far as hard luck cases go, Richard remains the source of the most sympathy and audience shared anguish. Every time he manages to do something right, it blows up in his face. If his conflict with Conrad last week were not enough, he somehow manages to complicate the olive branch extended to him by his nemesis, Judge Walker. He is also unable to repair the damage done to his relationship with Lisa. On this occasion, Lisa’s responses were more measured, and to a certain degree her reaction last week was put into greater context. She was still unable however to give Richard a chance to explain, which I do feel was unfair (and I do apologise if this is seen as a typically male opinion of the situation!!).
Partially connected with Richard’s story of course is Tatum. Though the episode itself begins with a reconciliation between herself and Conrad, Richard remains a huge white elephant in the room. Daniel Lissing once again maintains a powerful performance. To show affection and distrust at the same time is very difficult, yet both are clearly at war within him. That they should once again end up arguing becomes more a matter of if rather than when, though when it does happen it is still quite dramatically powerful.
For Lina, her conflict resides in sticking by what remains in many respects of the man with whom she has shared so much this season. His proposal early in the episode was under the entirely wrong circumstances, which she correctly identified. But as this story evolves, her eventual acceptance, rather than appearing rushed or haphazard, si imbued with a real logic and sense. Her choice is based on her affection for this man having her willing to stand by him to help him get his life back together. Regardless of the circumstances, the strength of the emotions behind that motive are clear, and as such the bond they share is clearly established. Having this story juxtaposed with Tatum and Conrad splintering due to distrust also highlights these elements very clearly.
Erin’s story, is easily the most heart-wrenching of the episode. Of all the five solicitors that we have followed in this show, she is the one to which most could easily connect with emotionally, as she has a true heart and honesty that she brings to each of her cases. unfortunately, the environment she is in is not accommodating to these personality traits, and more than once has she been put in a position where the depravity of humanity has been too much for her. The end of this particular story thread is dramatically powerful, but her choosing to leave rather than wait for the announcement of who would be redundant is completely in character, and though she had true potential, I don’t think anyone could blame her for the choice she made.
Ben’s conflict this week, unfortunately for him, was almost entirely professional. The animosity that he has generated from Tony in particular has put him into a difficult position, seeing him removed as instructing solicitor on a case. From what was observed of his brief time on the case, his opinion was measured, and entirely based on legal principles. The fact that the case in question later became more complicated is not a reflection on his own efforts, but more a reflection on him having little time to analyse the case. Later in the episode, personal conflict is introduced when following Erin’s choice to depart the DPP, with him trying to save her while also still trying to protect Julie. This is another moment where the character shows true integrity. It is my hope that the pattern of showing him as honourable, then the next week showing him as a true cad, is not repeated for next week’s episode, as I at this stage would hate for my last opinion of Ben for the season should be negative.
For those that have followed my Crownies reviews, they would be aware that this is perhaps my longest review to date. Given the impact of many of the cases observed on the show, and some of the great performances seen to date, this says a lot for the quality of this one episode. It was difficult watching at times, but more from the fact I have grown to care for these characters, and the hardships they face resonate so much the more as a result. I find it hard to wait now for the season finale.
4.5 stars out of 5