Jan’s not a happy bunny. Sir Edward announcing their engagement without asking her was annoying enough, but it’s the continuing problems with the stolen designs that’s really ramping up the pressure. It’s made the newspapers (complete with the most unflattering picture of Jan ever) which is one of the reasons why she’s somewhat flaky today (because it’s in the papers I mean, not because the picture of her isn’t terribly good).
Tom’s installed a new computer at the Mermaid. It’s pretty advanced – able to communicate with other computers up and down the country – but it’s only the first step in Tom’s America’s Cup plans. He’s also ramping up the security at the yard (including an alarm system linked to the local police station). Has Tom spoken to Jack first? Of course not. And what do you imagine Jack’s reaction will be? Yes, that’s right, he goes through the roof. Jack might be highly predictable, but that’s part of the fun.
Jack storms off and gets very drunk. His later reappearance at the Mermaid, late at night, triggers off the new alarm which results in the police arriving. Tom and Emma arrive just in time to see him being poured into a squad car. Rather wonderfully he croons “I just called to say I love you” at them before disappearing. It’s another of those hardy Howards’ Way perennials – Jack staggering around drunk – but it never fails to entertain.
When Jack’s not legless, he’s eyeing up one of his old boats, now owned by a man called Harry Sellers (Conrad Phillips). Jack later buys the boat – The Grecian Lady – off Harry.
Abby and Charles meet. He’s still a changed man, uninterested in business and happy to help Abby any way he can. He’s aware that Sir Edward is also attempting to assist her with her battle to regain custody of William, but knows that his father has ulterior motives (whereas Charles seems only to want what’s best for Abby). But for the moment Abby is content to remain with Sir Edward and doesn’t particularly want to get to know Charles any better. Charles doesn’t seem to mind though, he’s content to wait ….
Leo and Abby have an argument. He’s convinced that she’s simply using people (Sir Edward especially) in order to win custody of William. She reacts angrily to this, taunting Leo that his life is an empty one (consisting of racing powerboats and little more). They laugh and make up after this, but later Leo – with Sarah and Abby watching on – goes hell for leather when testing the powerboat.
And then the throttle jams, so Leo seems set on a one-way collision course with some very large rocks. Eek! For Sarah, looking on, there’s no doubt a nasty flashback to her husband’s death. With the incidental music ramping up, things look sticky for a few seconds but then the throttle unsticks itself and all is well. This moment serves as an indication that Leo’s thought processes might be a little cloudy at present – was it simply an accident, or was he racing with something to prove?
Ken and the cigarette-toting Antonia continue to scheme. He’s keen to weaken Jan’s business so that he can buy back into it (“you’re going to need me soon, my darling, I’m going to make very sure of that”). He and Antonia also frolic in the pool (at different times though).
The next day, the pair decide to have a canoodle in one of the Leisure Cruise boats. With screaming inevitability Sarah stumbles across them. She’s already spent the rest of the episode with a disapproving expression painted across her face – partly at Ken and partly at Leo’s reckless attitude on the water – and this latest escapade of Ken’s only serves to irritate her even more. But she’s far too well-bred to make a scene, she simply proclaims that from now they operate on a strictly business level, before exiting.
Sir John is keen to join forces with Gerald and – joy of joys – Ken approaches both of them with a new business venture. Oil. You wouldn’t have thought that the coastline was full of oil, but Ken is convinced. Is Howards’ Way going to turn into Dallas? This is such a bonkers idea (any scheme that Ken Masters thinks is a sure fire hit has to be approached with caution) that I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Having previously restricted her scheming purely for her numerous extra-martial affairs, Polly’s now demonstrating that she’s got a keen eye for a business chance. She continues to be desperate to pour her money into Jan’s business (and has visions of taking it over completely in due course – after all, once Jan and Sir Edward marry, surely he won’t allow her to work?). But Jan, despite the fact her back’s right up against the wall, tells Polly and Kate that she intends to stand and fight. The disappointment on Polly’s face is palpable.
Jack drops a bombshell. He’s quitting the Mermaid Yard with immediate effect. This is Jack Rolfe remember, a man who’s consistently inconsistent, so it’s hard to believe him – even when he sets sail in The Grecian Lady, seemingly content never to darken the Mermaid’s door again. I’ll give him an episode before he comes back (two at the most).