The character of Curtis Jaeger continues to drive a wedge between Abby and Leo. Like Orrin before him, he’s a character who somewhat shuts out Leo’s access to her. Leo’s dislike and distrust of him is again made plain within the first few minutes. Abby’s crusading spirit still burns – that she’s reading a book on animal experimentation and Jaeger is an activist who’s keen on action not words, suggests the course that this storyline will take over the next few episodes.
Jaeger is a mildly unsettling figure. Although dressed somewhat scruffily, he’s well spoken and articulate – although this clash still means that he seems out of place in the Urqhuart’s tastefully designed house. His brief meeting with Polly serves to discomfort her. He asks if her bag is crocodile, she says that it is and asks him if he likes it. He responds that he likes crocodiles.
Polly and Abby continue to live in completely separate worlds. This is highlighted when Abby attempts to find out again who her real father is, whilst Polly at the same time is wittering on about Lynne’s forthcoming marriage. That neither are listening to the other reinforces the reason why Abby is so keen to leave home again.
Jan’s hard-edged business nature is explored once more. Her relationship with Ken has cooled considerably of late – this might be because she’s still annoyed at the way he hired thugs to beat up Leo, but it seems more likely that she’s unhappy that he’s not been able to put money into her new venture. He spells this out to her and she doesn’t contradict him, which is telling. “I never made conditions Jan. I helped you when I could. And I can’t now. I’m sorry. Well, I thought what we had didn’t depend on business. You’d have slapped me down if I thought otherwise. And now I’m being punished because I can’t help, because I don’t see it as good business. How the hell is that supposed to make me feel? Was that all I was good for?”
But lest we feel too sorry for Ken, there’s a sense that new horizons are opening up. He meets Mark Foster and his wife Sarah (Sarah-Jane Varley) to continue discussions on a new business venture. Although we were introduced to Mark last episode, it’s abundantly clear now that Sarah is the one who makes all the decisions (she does most of the talking whilst he cradles his drink). Sarah’s a very attractive and confident businesswoman who knows her own mind and instantly catches Ken’s eye. The look on his face makes it clear that he might not be adverse to explore pleasure as well as business ventures with her ….
But he’s not totally given up on Jan and attempts to bring an unlikely ally (Kate) on his side. Given that she’s never hidden her contempt for him, he seems to be on a hiding to nothing with her. But Ken dangles the possibility of a full-time job at the boutique in front of her eyes and then asks her if she’ll talk to Jan on his behalf. This is maybe a more emotionally honest Ken than we’ve seen before, and Kate seems impressed.
But hard-edged Ken is never too far from the surface. Shortly afterwards he meets Dawn, who suggests they might resume their relationship. “Look Dawn, you did me a favour. I’m not mean. I’ll give you a finder’s fee. Five hundred quid. All right? But that’s it. Nothing else. There’s no going back. No more lovey-dovey stuff. That’s all washed up”. This would be Dawn’s final appearance. Sally Farmiloe, who died of cancer in 2014, would later hit the headlines when her affair with Jeffrey Archer become public knowledge. Obituary.
Charles’ stealthy acquisition of Relton Marine is gathering momentum. He currently owns about 13%, with Sir John suggesting that once he’s got 20% he should make a public offer. Where could the reminder come from? It’s suggested that since David Lloyd owns 3% he might be open to an approach.
Tom’s been absent for most of the episode, only popping up some fifteen minutes before the end. Maurice Colbourne makes up for it with a wistful speech to Lynne, as he remembers the way things were. “What a busy life we had in those days. Houses, boats, school, work. No chance to sit back and enjoy it all. Still, I suppose it’s the same for most people. Pity.”
There’s a couple of onlookers cooing as Lynne leaves the house for the wedding ceremony (“doesn’t she look lovely?”). A bit of a mystery as to who they might be (neighbours, friends?). No matter, as we’re soon at the church where all the women are decked out in some mightily impressive hats. Kate’s is very large and therefore eye-catching, whilst Abby’s is possibly not the most flattering – it seems to have been designed to obscure as much of her face as possible (if she chose it herself it’s possibly a subconscious statement that she didn’t want to be there). Leo’s the best man, although we never had a scene where Claude asked him, nor do we see him fretting about the responsibility.
It’s a nice touch that the car carrying Lynne and Tom to the church passes a bustop where Dawn, suitcase on the ground, is waiting for transport to take her away from Tarrant. Shame about the organist hitting a few bum notes as Lynne walks down the aisle – perhaps they should have gone for another take or at least dubbed over that part.
There’s not a dry eye in the church as Claude and Lynne repeat their vows. The happiness continues afterwards, although this is intercut with a wistful Avril, standing on the sidelines and unable to join in with the family celebrations. So Claude and Lynne look set for a long and happy life together. Hmm, I wonder how that will pan out?