Lynne’s safe, but is far from well. Jan and Tom rush to the hospital to find her dazed and confused – she’s suffering from complete amnesia. We learn that she was fished out of the water after about ten minutes (although it’s not explained who rescued her). It’s also not clear why it took so long for Lynne’s next of kin to be contacted.
Jan Harvey is the one who’s given the lines when they encounter her for the first time (as well a nice two-shot of Jan and an oxygen-masked Lynne) but Maurice Colbourne almost manages to steal the scene with a cutaway shot of Tom wearily closing his eyes. Sometimes, less is more.
There’s another example of Tarrant’s bizarre eco-system, where it always seems to be sunny indoors (studio) and gloomy outside (film). We switch from the inside of the Urquhart’s house, with Polly and Gerald discussing the imminent arrival of Orrin (Michael Ryan), to outside Charles’ abode, where he’s surprised to be set upon by Shellet (who’s been lurking in the shrubbery).
This is a great little scene. Shellet’s now a desperate man (“I’m broke, I’ve got no money”) although Charles responds in exactly the way you’d expect him to. “You’re trespassing, get off my property or I’ll set the dogs on you.” The way that Charles looks him up and down with a sense of revulsion is another nice touch.
The party at Abby’s flat provides ample evidence that Leo and rhythm don’t really go together (however, Davy does cut some impressive moves). The scene’s more of interest due to the way it highlights the current status of the Abby/Leo relationship – they’re more at ease with each other than ever before (she kisses him briefly on the lips and then tells him that “I’ve never been as close to anyone as I am to you”) but with the spectre of Orrin on the horizon, things will change.
Tom sets out with Henderson (Andrew Hilton) for another testing run in the Barracuda. Henderson’s the possessor of a certain oily charm – when he learns that Avril isn’t joining them he decides that it’s “probably just as well. We don’t want too many distractions, do we?” Avril wisely makes no response.
Last time, we saw how Avril was upset at the way Tom bailed on the yard’s business in order to search for Lynne. Positions are reversed here, as Henderson forces him to stay out a lot longer than he’d expected – meaning that he’s unable to meet Jan as planned (the pair had arranged to travel up to the hospital together).
Tom could have told Henderson that his daughter was ill in hospital and there’s every possibility he would have been sympathetic, but instead he grimly carries on with the testing. But on the plus side, it gives us a charged encounter between Jan and Avril, after Jan rushes to the yard, looking for Tom.
From the moment Jan enters the office you can sense the chill. Avril is polite, but it doesn’t take too long before some home truths are spelled out. She tells Jan that “when there was doubt about Lynne’s safety, Tom abandoned this yard when its future hung in the balance, knowing he was jeopardising his business’s survival and ours. I criticised him, but I now realise his feelings for his family gave him no option. Today out there he’s trying to make up for it and knowing Tom, I bet he’s sweating blood he’s not here to meet you. Don’t you understand your husband at all?” If looks could kill, then Jan’s stare would have finished Avril off once and for all …
The initial meeting between Orrin and Polly is an exercise in awkwardness. Although given the fact that Abby and her parents are currently estranged, I’m not sure why Orrin came to Polly first – why didn’t he simply go direct to Abby’s lodgings? The upshot is that Abby agrees to return home, where Orrin will also be, whilst Leo (lurking in the background) looks a little discomforted.
There’s another lovely example of Polly’s monumental lack of tact, after she decides that it would be nice for her, Abby and Orrin to go out for tea. After all, Leo’s on hand to look after the baby. It doesn’t occur to her that it might be courteous to ask Leo if he’d mind (something which he rather pointedly mentions) although the fact that he then tells him it’s no trouble is a characteristic Leo moment.
Jack dispenses some more of his words of wisdom after he and Tom visit the production line where the Barracuda is now being mass produced. “Wood is a living material. A boat is a living thing. I’m not being sentimental. By that, I mean she’s the sum total of all the men who worked on her, sawed and steamed her planks and shaved her timbers. When she’s running before the wind, that’s what you feel beneath your feet.”
Later, Jack heads off to the races with Kate, where Aztec Boy (the horse she owns 25% of) is running. The production team clearly went on a real race day, as the hundreds of race-goers demonstrate, it’s just a pity that they couldn’t afford to shoot footage of an actual race This means we switch from footage of Jack and Kate (on film) to the horses (on videotape) and back to Jack and Kate (on film) which is a little distracting. But there’s a nice comic compensation – as the race goes into its final stages, Jack is closely following it through his binoculars, which Kate then snatches off him (nearly strangling him in the process!).
This week’s cliffhanger – Jan learns that Claude has married a key figure in the French fashion world – falls a little flat. Jan’s concerned that his marriage will impact the boutique, which isn’t something I confess to being too concerned about. Although Ken’s on hand to soften the blow. “Not jealous are you? Lucky for you, you’ve got good old reliable Ken. Here in every emergency.” God bless Ken, he never disappoints.