Tom is downcast that the beam on his catamaran broke during its trial. Bill believes this vindicates his earlier concerns but Tom is convinced that Bill’s still wrong and he’s still right. It’s interesting that Tom doesn’t mention this problem to either Avril or Jack – instead it’s Bill who breaks the potentially bad news.
Charles agrees to take Gerald back, but Gerald is forced to do a little grovelling first. He later admits to Polly that it was somewhat humiliating and it certainly highlights the master/servant relationship that exists between Charles and Gerald. The lingering awkwardness is touched upon later in the episode, after Charles tells Gerald to fire George Johnson (Wensley Pithey), a managing director of one of Charles’ companies who has failed to deliver.
For a brief moment it looked as if Gerald would decline to be Charles’ hatchet man, but in the end he said nothing. Given that Charles has so often been totally ruthless in business, I wonder why he didn’t tell Johnson to his face that he was out? The fact that Charles instructs Gerald to get rid of Johnson seconds after talking affably to him suggests that he doesn’t relish personal conflict (or is it simply that he’s a master of delegation?)
Kate’s minding the boutique whilst Jan’s away. She proves to be an excellent saleswoman, although she’s not above telling potential customers that the dresses they’ve chosen really don’t suit. Which is a potentially dangerous course! Ken is surprised to see her manning the till, whilst Kate continues to view him with barely suppressed loathing. He attempts to mend fences by telling her he wasn’t involved with the people who beat up Leo. We know that’s not true, although I suppose he could claim that he didn’t know Leo would be singled out (although maybe he did instruct them to target Leo, with Ken you never can be sure).
Apart from crossing swords with Kate, he’s also attempting to restore his fortunes and – thanks to Dawn – has a meeting with Mark Foster (Graham Pountney). Mark services speedboats and also has a franchise to sell them – although given the fact that they’re luxury items, sales are slow. Ken has a suggestion – if Mark moves to a prime site that he owns then they’ll be much more visible, and if Mark starts racing again (and winning) then sales should go through the roof. Mark seems to be a man who knows his own mind, although next episode – when we meet his wife, Sarah – it becomes clear that she’s the dominant member of their partnership. And as we’ll see during the next few series, it’s Sarah who’ll stick around.
If it was thought that Orrin’s departure would enable Abby and Leo to spend more time together, then the arrival of Curtis Jaeger (Dean Harris) rather puts a stop to that. Jaeger is an activist who believes in action, not words. Abby is taken with him, whilst Leo stands in the background looking disapproving.
Jan is told that if she wants to use the house as collateral then she needs Tom’s permission. Remembering the way that she was so reluctant to allow him to do so when he wanted to buy into the Mermaid, she’s more than a little diffident about approaching him. But Tom is instantly agreeable. No doubt this is partly because (the catamaran excepted) things are going well for him at present, but it’s also evidence that he’s always been supportive of her. Whether Jan has been equally supportive of him is a moot point ….
Jack’s depressed, which leads to another heart-to-heart with Avril (she’s more than a little upset that he’s drinking heavily again). The reason’s the same as before – with Tom’s fancy non-wood designs taking over the yard he feels surplus to requirements. But luckily salvation’s on hand – in the shapely form of Mrs Davis-Segram (Christina Greaterex). However, Jack does all he can to avoid her to begin with (calling her “a fat old bag”!). What he doesn’t realise is that the late Mr Davis-Segram remarried, so the new Mrs Davis-Segram is a much more agreeable proposition than the old one was.
This has been the year when Jack Rolfe’s interest in the opposite sex has become abundantly apparent. Yes, you can make the case that he’s wining and dining her simply because he wants her business, but it’s also plainly no hardship for him.
His wooing seems to have paid off though, as she decides that the Mermaid is the yard for her. She orders a forty footer in solid wood which causes him to crow to Bill. “You can forget about Tom Howard’s fancy designs. The old firm is back in business, Bill. And this time … she’s here to stay.”