APTCH season 5 – halfway mark

A Place to Call Home has started season 5 now, with (I think) 12 episodes in total. Last weekend episode 7 aired, so we’re at the halfway mark for this series. I have only gotten around to (binge-) watching them these past few evenings after emerging from my Suits cocoon. And boy, it is good again! Beware: spoilers ahead, so read at your own peril!

The show starts 5 years after season 4 ended. George (Brett Climo) and Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) are a couple but a secret one, albeit an open secret. Sarah lives with their son David in a separate house on George’s property (Ash Park). They can’t be together because legally George is still married to Regina, whom he still hopes to be able to divorce. They need to keep up appearances because George is in politics but he comes over to Sarah’s often, although he takes care to never actually spend the night…

Regina (Jenni Baird), in the meantime, is in the insane asylum and after 5 years seems like a very changed woman. She is able to convince her carers that she has changed enough to eventually be released.

The big question throughout these 7 episodes is whether she really is different and good now. She certainly seems to be sincere and apologetic, trying to make amends, but after all the truly terrible things she has done over the 4 seasons before this, it really is hard to believe. George confronts her…

APTCH Regina George

… as does Sarah (I find it magical watching those two women playing off each other on-screen!)…

… but Regina remains humble and in one of the latter episodes tries to take responsibility for her actions and explains some of her actions to Sarah…

Yet, she is still in contact with the absolutely evil Sir Richard (Mark Lee), who, while pretending to be a friend and advisor to George, really wants to take him down!

Sir Richard has been ‘grooming’ her to help him exact his revenge on George, but the question remains: is Regina really in his pocket or is she really repentant? Her actions suggest she really is repentant, as she warns the Bligh family about Sir Richard several times. Yet, she also reports some information to Sir Richard via phone, so it all remains a little dubious…

APTCH Regina (2)

And there are more characters to follow, like George’s sister Carolyn (Sara Wiseman) and her husband Jack (Craig Hall). They are going through a rough patch in their marriage. Carolyn still misses her progressive life in Sydney and tries to find her place (and something to do) as the wife of a town doctor, while Jack is far more conservative and set in his ways. It breaks my heart seeing them so tense together, because they were such an adorable couple (they are married in real life too, btw!).

They are trying to work through it, which becomes clear in a tender moment, but the question really remains whether they can make it through this.

The only truly happy couple are Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst) and Douglas (Robert Coleby), who have now been married for 5 years.

Yet A Place To Call Home wouldn’t be A Place To Call Home if some drama didn’t hit and it hits hard when Douglas become terminally ill!

Douglas raises the question of euthanasia, but the world they live in isn’t ready for that. In the last episode so far (number 7), Douglas dies and the actual circumstances of his death are examined. It is heartbreaking stuff and some of it reminded me of my dad passing, which made it extra hard to watch.

It was so beautifully acted by the two but especially by Noni Hazlehurst as Elizabeth. Her grief is palpable, difficult to watch and hits close to home… This last episode shows the grieving Elizabeth leaving Ash Park and makes me fear the worst for her…

APTCH Elizabeth says goodbye (1)

We also have Anna (Abby Earl), who is long divorced from Gino and trying to follow-up the success of her first novel with a second one but suffers from writer’s block. She is in a relationship with her editor, called Ed (Matt Day) but holds back with him, due to the hurt she still feels over her divorce.

The secret boyfriend of Anna’s brother James, Dr. Henry Fox (Tim Draxl), has started working at the Inverness hospital. He butts heads with Dr. Jack, who is less progressive than Henry, and is desperately waiting for James and his wife Olivia to return from Europe (the expectation is that they will have created grounds for divorce during their European trip).

Olivia (Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood) eventually does return from Europe, with her little son Georgie, but James has stayed behind in Europe!

George, upset, calls his son James (David Berry, who now has a part in Outlander, which I guess explains why he isn’t in APTCH so much). James explains that he has decided to stay in the Riviera and build his life there, where he feels he can be more himself than at home in Australia. He has also reunited with his old secret love, which of course breaks Henry Fox’s heart…

I love that A Place To Call Home addresses all these social issues. Being gay is an issue, euthanasia was addressed this time around, psychiatric treatment is again referenced (it was a bigger issue in past seasons when they tried to cure James being gay through psychiatric and shock treatment), rape is an issue (never do a business meeting alone with a man in an apartment or hotel room – feels very topical with all the #metoo news nowadays!), there is a storyline this season of an Aboriginal man named Frank (Aaron Pedersen) and how much every day racism impacts his life…

We also have Sarah struggling with religion. She is Jewish and observant…

APTCH Sarah George Shabbat

… but, other than Shabbat celebration with friends (of whom the daughter is struggling with her Jewish identity), Sarah hasn’t done much to raise her son David in the Jewish faith. It becomes a huge discussion point between her and George when she decides she really does want to raise David Jewish after all.

Sarah is also confronted with her past in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück during World War II when, during a social event, she runs into a former camp guard! It totally throws her off course…

… and she later goes to confront this lady called Gerda/Frieda (Helen Thompson) in her hotel room. This is a tour de force by actress Marta Dusseldorp who battles with initial fear but overcomes it, becomes angry, threatening and makes it clear to Gerda that in the end her past will catch up with her.

She later tells George stories of what Gerda did in Ravensbrück, which too is heart wrenching…

I am still really loving this series and I especially love the very strong female roles. Sarah, Regina and Elizabeth are the three most fascinating characters and I swear they all 3 deserve awards for their performances! I also really like Carolyn (she could use an award as well!) and I like Anna too. The men are not exactly supporting characters but I think the stories really are mostly women-driven. You don’t see a lot of that on TV, I feel. Of the men, George and Jack are great to watch as well and I am so sorry we had to lose Douglas… I am loathing Sir Richard, which means the actor is playing his role well, and I am also sorry we’ll be having less James (I like him more than Henry).

There is still enough to explore for the rest of this series and if I were religious, I’d be praying that they won’t let Elizabeth die! I’m also hoping Sir Richard, that schemer and rapist, comes to some horrible end.  And will Caro and Jack make it? Will George and Sarah finally be able to marry? Is Regina really done with her evil, scheming ways? Many questions and more to be answered in the second half of this season and I am looking forward to it! I hope there will be a sixth season after this…

3 thoughts on “APTCH season 5 – halfway mark

  1. Outlander! Genau, ich hatte ihn in der Vorschau gesehen und dachte mir, den kennst Du irgendwoher, aber wo? Danke jetzt ist der Groschen gefallen 🙂
    Habe die letzte Folge gerade eben gesehen, heardbreaking.
    Traust Du Regina? Ich bin da sehr unsicher, sie ist einfach ein Biest.
    Glaubst Du Gino kommt irgendwann zurück?
    Am Ende ist mir kurz durch den Kopfe geschossen ob Elisabeth den bösen Sir Richard jetzt erschiesst und sich danach selbst, aber sie weiss noch gar nichts von den finanziellen Machenschaften oder…..? Ich hoffe nicht.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: APTCH – yes and nooooo! | The Book of Esther

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