[Please note there are spoilers ahead for those who have not watched season 2, episode 1]
I must admit that when I started watching the first episode of the second season I was a little confused. It had been a while since the first season aired but I could swear that A Place to Call Home was a period drama. Then why was I watching a modern car speed up the driveway to Ash Park? Explanation came soon enough and I realised the powers that be had decided to jump forward in time and continue the season one story in flashbacks. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. And is it just me or is blond, modern Samantha and brunette, dignified Olivia both played by the beautifully elegant Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood? I was finding it all a bit unsettling but once the drama started I was willing to forgive all.
Before we know it we are taking in an out- of-her-element Anna living with the Poletti family. In my opinion she is handling it all pretty well so far and doing her best to adapt to farm life. Of course she appears to be a bit of a princess but that is how she was brought up. I really hope that Carla starts being a little kinder to her. It is obvious that Anna loves Gino and is willing to make big life changes in order to have a future with him.
On the other side of the coin we have Sarah moving into the enemy’s house, aka Ash Park. And by enemy I specifically mean the gorgeously underhanded Elizabeth Bligh. Although civility is almost dripping from Elizabeth we know that Sarah is not naïve enough to let her guard down; she understands Elizabeth far too well. It looks as though we will have another wonderful season of these two formidable women going to head to head. And now since we know that Sarah has lived to a ripe old age and is still living at Ash Park, is it right to assume that it was her who came out ahead in the end?
And James…poor, poor James. I struggle watching the scenes of him going through shock therapy to be ‘fixed’. However, as uncomfortable as it makes me feel I applaud Bevan Lee for shining a spotlight on the barbaric treatment that was used by the medical community in the all too recent past. Just as horrible as seeing James become a shell of his former self is seeing Olivia go through the anguish of watching it all happen and feeling helpless. It is obvious that she is torn and that she does not want James to go through the agony he is experiencing. However the doctors are bullying and emotionally manipulating her into letting the process continue. As much as Elizabeth is ill-intentioned at times I sincerely hope that she will put an end to things when she sees the state that James is in.
Someone that I don’t believe anyone will miss is Bert Ford. He was an abusive, despicable man and Colin coming to his mother’s defense was completely understandable. Was tying him up in chains and letting him sink to the bottom of the lake the best course of action for Sarah and Roy to take? Maybe not, but it certainly makes for great drama. Now there is literally a huge, sunken secret that has the potential to blow up a number of lives if it ever surfaces.
Finally we have Jack who seems to be overwhelmed with the discovery that his young love affair with Carolyn Bligh resulted in him fathering a daughter. Maybe if he took a step back he could put two and two together and figure out who the child is but where would the fun be in that? No, apparently it is better to start shooting up. We discovered in season one that Jack is an alcoholic. It makes me wonder then why he would turn to needles and not booze?
All in all I loved the long awaited return to A Place to Call Home. Although I am not entirely convinced by the new approach I am more than willing to give it a fair go. As usual with this wonderful series my mind jumps ahead, filled with many questions begging to be answered.
- Will any of our other beloved characters turn up in the ‘present’?
- Is Elizabeth going to put an end to James’ inhumane treatment?
- Will Anna and Sarah both survive their ‘trial’ periods?
- How will Jack respond to finding out that Anna is his daughter, and Anna to finding out that Jack is her father?
- Is Elizabeth’s health going to hold out for the season?
- Will there be a wedding in season 2? Or weddings?
It’s only the first episode and I was already left with tingles and excitement by the end of it. Bring on the deception, love, secrets and drama – I can’t wait!
What did you think of the first episode? Are you a fan of the flash-forward/back?