The episode opens with Mark’s funeral. Sarah – a vision in black – is still clearly very distressed, but it doesn’t take long before business matters rise to the surface again. Now that Sarah owns two-thirds of the business, Ken’s in a vulnerable position. Sir John pops up to break this bad news to him (and remains the only person to call him Kenneth). The later twist that she plans to sell her shareholding to Charles is a delicious turnabout.
Leo’s turning into quite the lad. He’s all hands on with a lady windsurfer, helping her to get a grip of the board (this he mainly achieves by moving his hands up and down her body!). Amanda seems to have a spasm of jealousy about this, but it quickly passes. I’m just glad that Leo’s not topless this time ….
Jan’s delighted with her life – now that she has three outlets she’s convinced that the whole of the South Coast will shortly fall to her. But she’s so busy dreaming of future conquests that family concerns – such as Leo – fail to interest her. Despite Kate’s pleading, Jan doesn’t want to waste time connecting with Leo (Kate’s convinced that he’s still pining for Abby). But Kate leaves her with a very telling remark – if she’s not careful then one day when she returns home all the rooms will be empty.
Charles Frere is a perfect example of this – a businessman who has no other life. And indeed his father is pretty much the same – Sir Edward might have been married, but it’s already been made clear that he didn’t treat his late wife very well at all. Throw in Gerald and Polly’s loveless marriage of convenience as well and the point is obvious – you can be a success in the business world or you can have a rich, nurturing home life, but you can’t have both.
Sir Edward (spotting a roll-neck sweater) and Jan (a vision in one of the boutique’s dresses) enjoy another dinner at his country house. As she’s about to leave you can tell that he’s itching to give her a kiss, but her momentary hesitation throws him off course. He’s not to be denied though and, approaching her from behind, nuzzles her neck like an elderly Dracula. Jan’s expression is hard to read – is she disgusted or aroused? Given that she turns around and they lock lips I think we can safely say the latter.
The next day we learn that she stayed out all night, a fact which ticks Leo off no end. Kate’s concerned that Leo’s anger will push him into a disastrous relationship with Amanda (this helps to partly explain why Leo’s been acting so erratically recently). Tom approaches Jan for financial help – but he doesn’t want a loan, instead he suggests that she buys some of his shares in the yard. This is an interesting move which will tie them together professionally, even though their personal relationship is now severed.
One of the drawbacks with Avril’s placement at Relton is that these days she’s rarely in the same room as her father. That’s a pity as Jack/Avril scenes are always good fun. But there is a nice one in this episode as Jack pushes her for more money to keep the Mermaid afloat. Jack’s an arch manipulator and is quite happy to use a touch of emotional blackmail – Avril rails at this, but she can’t bring herself to say no to him. So she promises to speak to Charles (or Charlie, as Jack calls him – albeit not to his face).
There’s a tender scene between Ken and Jan. Ken, despite the combination of a yellow shirt and a blue tie, is in a humble mood – telling Jan that he’s pleased she’s made such a success of her life. “I still miss you” he says and Jan’s later wistful look, as she heads off to join her dinner party, suggests that she still has some feelings for him too.
Patricia Shakesby and Ivor Danvers continue to impress. Gerald’s now being pushed to the limit whilst Polly looks on – a concerned, but powerless, spectator. When she tells him that she wishes he’d just go back to being himself, the response is immediate and angry. “Myself? What, you mean the man that you’re used to walking all over, Polly?” When Gerald then wearily responds that his life gives him no pleasure, it’s yet another bleak moment which Danvers delivers well – after all this time playing the yes man, its plain that he’s relishing some juicier material.
Emma continues to burn the midnight oil, looking for a solution to Tom’s problem. She believes that the Lynnette collided with something – but proving it will be difficult, if not impossible. But she’s reckoned without Jack, Leo and Amanda who manage to find the wrecked hull, even though it must have been like looking for a needle in a haystack. Hurrah!
If Jack’s been a bit quiet for a few episodes then the balance is redressed here. He delivers a long and heartfelt speech to Tom, apologising for his attitude and the way he’s failed to appreciate Tom’s hard work in the yard. For Jack, a man never known for admitting he’s in the wrong, it’s a surprising moment. It rather takes the wind out of Tom’s sails though, since he was about to mention that Jan’s going to buy into the yard. But after such a glowing testimonial from his partner, Tom slinks away (deciding to fight that battle another day).