Jack’s still hopping about on the quayside (“somebody’s nicked my bloody boat”) although it quickly becomes clear that it hasn’t been stolen – Emma, smarting after her tiff with Tom, has taken it out for a test run.
But since she should have been back by now, Tom’s worried that she’s run into trouble. So it’s Jack and Tom to the rescue, with Jack piloting a motorised dingy at high speed. Glyn Owen was clearly a decent sailor, since he – rather than a stuntman – was at the wheel. Oh, and I like Jack’s white bobble hat too.
It doesn’t take long before they find her – repairing a minor fault – so everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. Tom is the most relieved and he admits this to Emma. This moment of crisis helps him to finally admit his feelings for her, although he goes on to explain his commitment issues (he’s got twenty years of marriage and two children to consider). But this didn’t seem to be an issue when he had an affair with Avril, so I’m not entirely sure that his protestations hold water.
Poly’s continuing to avoid Jan. Jan is getting very, very annoyed with her (former?) friend’s shenanigans. Tip-tapping on her high heels, Jan is clearly out for vengeance whilst Polly seeks solace with Ken, of all people. I love the fact that Polly refers to Jan as a snob! (this is Polly we’re talking about, remember). Although to be fair to Polly for just one second, there may be some truth in her suggestion that Jan’s not keen on her range of German leisurewear solely because it’s a tad downmarket.
Ken’s very devious in this episode. In fact, he’s so devious and calculating that it seems rather out of character – usually Ken’s not as subtle as this. He tells Polly that Sarah is secretly working for Sir John, knowing that she will tell Gerald who in turn will tell Charles. Both Gerald and Charles (although not Avril, interestingly) then believe that Sarah could be a spy, although there’s one fatal flaw conerning these machinations. Gerald knew full well that this information came from Ken, so why would he believe it? That two such astute businessman as Charles and Gerald would be prepared to believe this unsubstantiated rumour seems a little hard to believe.
Sir Edward and Jan are currently estranged (he’s even stopped leaving messages on her answering machine) but he’s keeping it in the family by entertaining Kate to dinner. No, he hasn’t decided to move up the family tree with someone more his own age – he wants to sound Kate out to see if she knows whether Jan will change her mind about marrying him. Kate, of course, isn’t backwards about speaking her mind and so is bluntness personified (naturally, her opinions aren’t really what Sir Edward wants to hear).
Michael comes in second in the transatlantic race – a good result, although Tom – ever the perfectionist – was a little ticked off he didn’t win. Michael quickly returns home (by plane) and, with Tom’s agreement, allows a chap called Hudson to sail the Barracuda back to the UK. Hang on, Hudson? It would be a remarkable coincidence if this was a member of Abby’s estranged American family ….
As for Abby herself, it’s the day of her exhibition but she’s not looking forward to it. On the one hand, she wants to make a career out of photography (therefore it’s important that she demonstrates what she’s capable of) but on the other, too many negative vibes are swishing around her head. As always, it’s sensible Leo who’s on hand to offer her support and gently guide her through the minefield. With his assistance she’s able to mix and mingle with the great and good of Tarrant society (she was all set to slip out quietly and go straight home).
But for long-term Leo/Abby watchers, it’s the aftermath which is the key moment. Everybody else has left, leaving them alone in the gallery. She tells him that “all that matters to me is that the three of us are going to be together. You and me and William”. She may be jumping the gun a little here since William’s future hasn’t been decided. It’s also a little unexpected (given their recent fractured relationship) that she’s decided that the pair of them have a future – which they seal with a long and very loving kiss …..
Since everybody who’s anybody in Tarrant is at the gallery, there’s a few awkward meetings. Leo and Ken bump into each other (and then quickly move away) but even better is the encounter between Sir Edward and Charles. It’s the first time that they’ve been in the same room since Sir Edward visited his son in hospital and it’s plain that their relationship is still on the critical list. They do have a brief conversation, although Charles pointedly turns his back on his father and instead speaks to the other side of the room.
Tom breaks the news to Jack that he’s thinking of leaving the Mermaid for larger premises. He wants Jack to come with him, but it’s hardly going to come as a surprise to learn that Jack isn’t interested – the Mermaid is in his lifeblood. Surprisingly, Jack doesn’t erupt with fury when Tom tells him, instead he’s quite sanguine about it all. These scenes have some lovely Tom/Jack byplay – Maurice Colbourne and Glyn Owen both seemingly relishing the material they’ve been given.