Howards’ Way – Series One, Episode Ten

howards 10

Tom and Avril have spent the night together aboard the Flying Fish.  For all that Jan’s been shrill and accusatory this year, it’s Tom who turns out to be the one who irreparably destroys their marriage.  Pledging all their money (including using the house as collateral) for his dreams of boat building started the cracks but when it’s revealed that he’s been conducting an affair with Avril there’s no way back.

As Tom and Avril lie in each others arms in dawn’s early light, a young chap is making his way over to another boat.  Presumably he must be a little hard of hearing as he doesn’t seem to notice the red beeping danger signal on the dashboard.  He attempts to turn the ignition switch and whoosh, there’s a rather large explosion.

Tom plays the hero and rescues the boy but it means that neither Tom or Avril have time to return home before Leo’s up and about.  And Leo can’t help but notice that neither his father or Avril seem to have spent the night in their respective beds (he’s still doing a spot of paining and decorating at Avril’s).  Quite how he worked out that Avril wasn’t in her bed isn’t explained ….

There’s also a journalist sniffing about and he speaks to both Leo and Ken.  You can just imagine Ken’s delight when he learns that Tom and Avril spent the night together, whilst Leo is understandably perplexed and troubled.  With immaculate timing, matters come to a head just as Lynne returns home in triumph (her boat won their class in the FastNet).

Ken, of course, is on hand to stoke up the fire.  Meeting Jan off the train from London, he can’t wait to tell her the news whilst elsewhere Leo confronts Avril.  “You may have all the looks, Avril, but that’s all you’ve got. Any woman who goes after a man knowing he’s got a wife and family is damn well nothing.”  Edward Highmore doesn’t quite spark into life, but maybe he’s a little less wooden than usual.

Jan confronts Tom who tells her that it could have easily have been her with Ken.  This is an astonishing statement as there’s been no evidence – the odd tango apart – to suggest that Jan’s even considered breaking her vows.

Perhaps it would have worked a little better had this storyline dripped out over a few episodes, with the rumours about Tom and Avril slowly gaining momentum.  As it is, it feels rather rushed.

If you need a little light relief from the strife at the Howards, then Jack’s still ensconced at the clinic, playing gin rummy with Kate and reluctant to join in any group therapy.  Fair to say he’s not the easiest patient.  Jack finally makes an appearance at group therapy, although he doesn’t take it terribly seriously (“I don’t drink a lot, I spill most of it”) leaving the therapist – Louise Silverton (Christine Kavanagh) – mildly irritated.

Elsewhere, Ken and Charles have a business lunch at the yacht club.  Lynne waits upon them and is introduced to Charles for the first time.  Once again there’s the wonderful contrast between Ken – anxious to appear cultured and intelligent – and Charles – who breezes through any social or business occasion with ease.  The business of the wine is a good example.  Ken suggests a bottle of Mouton Cadet but Charles wonders if the Chateau Montrose might not be preferable.  It’s a subtle example of one-upmanship which sees Charles emerge victorious yet again.

But Ken’s convinced that he’s won the war, telling Jan later that he’s got Charles “just where I want him. If he doesn’t go along with me, there’s nowhere else to go.”.  I’ve got a feeling that Ken’s counting his chickens rather too early.

After spying Lynne for the first time, Charles clearly likes what he sees, so he sends her hand-picked flowers and arranges a dinner-date with her aboard his yacht at 8:30.  He’s a smooth operator, that’s for sure.

We finally learn that Shellet is Jack’s brother-in-law.  When Jack receives a letter from him, he’s perplexed.  Kate can’t understand why, after all it seems perfectly natural that he should want to get in touch.  Jack has the perfect riposte.  “He’s been dead twenty five years, that’s what’s wrong.”

And now he’s made a claim for ownership of the Mermaid Yard.  But the end of episode twist (Charles is the one who’s put him up to it) is a great moment which adds yet another layer to the plot.  Ten episodes in and everything’s ticking along nicely.

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