There’s going to be choppy waters ahead ….
Jan toddles up to the Mermaid, champagne in hand, keen to celebrate her new shareholding in the yard. Tom’s face is a picture – he’s still not been able to pluck up the nerve to break the news to Jack, although it turns out he doesn’t have to. When Jack rolls in from the Jolly Sailor, still chuffed about finding the pieces of the catamaran (which proves that the break-up wasn’t a design fault), he’s aghast to find Jan with her feet firmly under the table, already dishing out orders and offering suggestions.
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. The sight of Jack’s appalled face suggests that this new partnership isn’t going to be plain sailing. The fact that he tells her she has no place in his yard (it’s his yard again, mind) and pours away a proffered celebratory drink only reinforces this point. “Damn him” says Tom, although Maurice Colbourne could have ramped up the anger just a touch more.
It’s a little hard to credit that Jan – after all the carping she’s previously made about the Mermaid – would want to sink her money into the business (although I guess you can explain this away by the fact that she’s changed considerably since S1 and now views the yard as purely a good investment). But you could – if inclined – also view it as the first stage in a reconciliation. Jan helps Tom out financially and in time they get back together.
Jan asks Bill to give her a guided tour. She receives some wolf-whistles from the men and when Jack saunters by (“you still here? Thought you had some knitting to do”) she really hits the roof. Jan then gives them all a stern lecture – whilst she may not know how to build a boat, she knows how to run a business (“which clearly none of you do”).
The irony is that Jan’s brilliant business empire is having a slight wobble. The departure of Anna (due to the pressure of being forced into an arranged marriage) throws Jan into a tizzy. Anna asked Leo to give her mother the news and it’s entirely characteristic that mother and son both view Anna’s plight very differently. Leo emphasises with the way Anna feels trapped between two worlds whilst Jan simply wails at her son, wondering why she didn’t attempt to prevent her leaving. Doesn’t he realise that without Anna she’s sunk?
Another partnership under pressure is that of Ken and Sarah. She’s still keen to sell her shares to Charles – so what can the diplomatic Ken say to win her back round to his side? “God, you’re sick, do you know that?” Hmm, possibly not the best opening gambit. But Ken’s always a man keen to broaden his business portfolio and sets his sight on Leo. Since Leo hates Ken’s guts with a passion this seems like an odd approach, but once Ken gives him a spin in his powerboat he’s putty in his hands …..
Meanwhile, Gregory de Polnay and his comedy accent returns. Werner Grunwald’s function in the plot is to put Charles under pressure (he spies unfriendly takeovers and problematic venture capital looming). The ins and outs of the financial dealings aren’t terribly interesting, but the way that Charles – for pretty much the first time – is being placed under extreme pressure, is.
Leo has an uncomfortable meeting with Amanda’s parents. Mother is vague in the extreme whilst father is still convinced that Leo’s nothing but a gold-digger. But the more he attempts to warn Leo off, the more dogged Leo will be in declaring his love for Amanda. And since Leo lacks a common-sense voice in his life at present (both his parents are too wrapped up in their own worlds to offer coherent counsel) there’s no-one around to give him advice. This helps to explain why he later makes a life-changing decision.
The familiar face of James Warwick pops up as Geoffrey Silberston, a smoothie who catches Polly’s eye whilst Tom and Emma enjoy an embrace. At the moment this is all business related – she once again comes up with some good suggestions about how he can restablish his professional reputation – but maybe business will turn into pleasure over time.
Jack’s grumpy mood continues – not even the common-sense beacon that is Kate Harvey can make him see sense over Jan – whilst Amanda and Leo go to the ball. I’m not sure whether it’s due to Francesca Gonshaw’s slightly distracted performance or simply the way that the part was written, but Amanda is something of an unfathomable character. Whether she actually loves Leo or is simply toying with him is a moot point. Both lose their clothes when playing spin the bottle (a scene which has something for everybody since both are reduced to their underwear) but it’s the aftermath – Amanda decides they should get married and Leo agrees – which is the key moment. And they don’t let the grass grow under their feet – one quick trip to the Registry Office and they’re Mr and Mrs Howard.
With an increasingly flaky Polly fretting that Gerald’s withdrawn £100,000 from their account and then disappeared (“Gerald, what have you done? Where are you?”) things are shaping up nicely as we approach the last half dozen episodes of this run.