Langford on Soaps: Shock After Shock On “A Place To Call Home”

Plus, our first look at My Husband’s Lover, the season finale of Go Girls, Iolo and Gethin play truth or dare on People of The Valley and Jonathan’s attacker is out of jail on Winners and Losers. Also, Chris and Hudson reunite — and kiss on Neighbours.

Langford’s Picks and Pans

River City (Scotland)

Scott Ryan Vickers has always been good during his time on the show, but he was particularly strong in this episode. Will is such a well drawn and multi-dimensional character and Vickers inhabits him so well. The scenes with his father were very well done as Will let out years of anger and frustration over how poorly his father has treated him. I’m also glad that the show ended the abusive caregiver storyline. It was nice that it led to Will and his dad finally starting to work things out between them, even though the plot twist might have been a little convenient. I know some folks were upset because the care giver was gay, but on a show that has such gay positive characters and stories, I don’t think such criticism is fair.

I’ve enjoyed seeing Will’s therapy sessions and the show has done a good job of showing Will grow and change since he started counseling. Many shows don’t deal with characters seeing a shrink or gloss over them all together, but I’m glad this show is taking the time and effort to play out every beat of this story. That was also a nice scene between Will and Robbie and it’s obvious that there’s a lot of feeling still between them. Interesting that the show makes a point of showing that they are both still wearing their wedding rings.

I understand why Robbie’s friends don’t like Will, but it just seems foolish and wrongheaded to be screeching at Will when a child has been kidnapped. Overall the kidnapping story has been very well done, but it might be dragging out a little too long. I’m glad it comes to a close, one way or another, next week.

My Husband’s Lover (The Philippines)

First off, I have to say I admire the creators and producers of this show for even getting it made. I couldn’t imagine a show about a man, his wife and the man’s male lover getting the green light here in the States, or really even a lot of other places in the world. It’s nice that not only is the show wholly positive about gays and sexuality, it’s a huge hit in the Philippines, handily winning its time slot. And I thank mhlteam2013 for taking the time and effort to bring this work to English speakers like myself by subbing the episodes. But the show itself? It’s cheesy, melodramatic and over the top. And I loved it.

A man, his wife and his boyfriend….

Lally, Vincent and Eric are all likeable, appealing characters and they are very sympathetic in their romantic dilemma. There are no villains here, even if the notion of Vincent marrying a woman while knowing he’s gay does make one uneasy. But given the society in which he lives and his background it’s not all that shocking. Lally is the most sympathetic of course because she didn’t create the situation. I liked that the show gave us lots of backstory on all the characters, though it would have been nice to get a bit more of how Eric and Vincent fell in love, even though I did get more than I expected. Though, having only seen the first four episodes, there might be more coming down the line. At least I hope so.

Don’t look for lots of kisses…

As you would expect, it’s all very chaste between the two men. There’s a scene between Eric and Vincent where Vincent kisses Eric everywhere but his lips, which I suspect will set the physical tone between the two men. I’ve heard from folks who are ‘outraged’ by this and I think they need to calm down. Rome wasn’t built in a day and like I said, we sure as heck couldn’t get a show like this made here. The fact that it’s made at all and has a lot of attention and gets people talking, understanding and accepting is more important in my view. So my suggestion is if you’re looking for a steamy love story between two men aired on network television, perhaps you better keep on looking. And let me know when you find it.

Of course there are certain plot details that defy logic and you have to say: ‘only in soaps’. For example, Eric left town to care for his sick father, but he and Vincent didn’t call, didn’t write, didn’t have any contact for all that time? The show makes a point of saying Vincent dropped by Eric’s home to see if he was back, but that was the only attempt made to see one another? I know the show cut off all contact so Eric could be shocked that Vincent was married and expecting a baby upon Eric’s return, so why not let them have a painful breakup rather than Eric vowing to return for Vincent? That would have made much more sense. But like I said, only in soaps.

As for a few other details, I really like David, Eric’s former lover and I hope he gets a nice little romance. He’s so heartbroken over losing Eric, who made it clear he never really loved him. I hope he gets a little loving from someone who wants just him. And I’m curious when Lally’s mother is going to turn up. I’m sure it’ll be at the worst possible moment. But as I said, I’m really enjoying this show and look forward to future episodes.

A Place To Call Home (Australia)

The season finale of A Place To Call Home was everything that a good season ender should be, delivering lots of drama, powerful scenes, a few surprises and setting things up for most juicy stories next year. It was a terrific episode, unabashedly soapy, but slick, polished and oh so classy. This is the Aussie version of Downton Abbey and deserves to be as popular. But I’m just glad it’s doing well Down Under and will be back for a new season this time next year.

I loved the scheming of Elizabeth and the wicked Regina. Jenni Baird is terrific is the evil rival to Sarah and the actress seems to be sinking her teeth into the fun, meaty role. The scene where she presented her stolen information on Sarah to Elizabeth was delicious as was Regina’s comment about Elizabeth condoning a relationship between Regina and George if only to punish her son.

The reveal that Anna and Gino were dating presented some interesting drama and I liked how everyone was shown to be a hypocrite by being involved in their own ’inappropriate’ relationship, while condemning others. And I love the twist of Anna and Sarah living in the homes of their lovers for three months to see if the relationships can last. It’s going to be fun seeing Sarah and Elizabeth living under the same roof. As for Anna, it’s clear she has no idea what she’s in for, especially as she expected Gino to be moving into the mansion with her.

James’ story was alternately heartbreaking and frightening as we witnessed him being treated with shock therapy to deal with his mental breakdown. I can only imagine what his doctor has in mind to ‘cure’ his homosexuality. But let’s back up a bit. George wishing James had killed himself on the boat was painful to watch, but I loved Olivia not only coming to her husband’s defense, but calling George out for the hate shown towards his own child and telling him if he can’t accept James not to come back. Olivia has really blossomed as a character over the course of the season, growing and maturing and becoming very strong.

Who killed Bert?

Both Elizabeth and Olivia coming to the realization that the treatments by the doctor may not work and James still may be gay sets up what is to come in my opinion when the family has to deal with the fact that all the reparative therapy in the world won’t change James. It’s something James will have to deal with too, given his profound self-hatred. And I suspect that it’ll come to pass when Olivia’s brother William comes to visit and James will realize he still loves his wife’s brother.

This story can be hard to watch at times, especially the shock treatment scenes, knowing how many people suffered these inhumane medical practices in real life. But it’s a story that should be told and this show is doing a terrific job of telling it. As for the show’s final scenes, I said last week that Bert would be the one to die and I was right. I doubt if George did it though, even if the show made it look like he had. Perhaps his battered wife did the deed. I guess we’ll find out next season. I know I can’t wait.

All That Matters (Germany)

NOTE: Clip was unavailable

Honestly, I don’t have much to say because while the story is playing out, it’s all so predictable, with Joscha stringing Melanie along to hide the fact that he’s gay. In fact, the show is taking cues from its own playbook, including Joscha becoming aroused looking at Deniz, something we’ve seen in the past. The show has done all this before and it was much better the first time, mostly because of the blistering chemistry between Roman and Deniz and I’m on the fence about any sparks between Deniz and Joscha. So far I’d have to say there isn’t anything there. Overall though the characters are likeable enough and I’m glad to have Deniz on my screen again. But the story, however, is so by the numbers and cliché and trite. And for a show that has been so progressive with gay storytelling, it almost seems a shame to be going back in time.

Joscha can’t forget his former lover…

I did like the flashback with Joshca and Manu though. It seems that Joscha is still in love with his dead lover, despite his attraction to Deniz. Speaking of which, I hope the show gives us an idea as to why Joscha is into Deniz. They’ve hardly had any interaction and Joscha didn’t even notice Deniz until he learned Deniz was bisexual. I guess I want to know the foundation for these feelings. The show wants me to believe it’s more than just Deniz is hot, so they need to show it to me.

Hollyoaks (U.K.)

I knew that calling the cops would backfire on Diane and it’s no shock that Sinead is such a nasty, evil creature that she would put a restraining order on her own mother. Diane is right though. She may not be the perfect mother, but Sinead and the baby are better off at home than with the local drug dealer.

Speaking of which, it baffles me that Paul is a smart guy but he trusts Ste, the world’s worst drug dealer, to help him out. I also don’t get how he can believe for a second that Myra could be his stalker. She just doesn’t have the brain cells to pull it off.

It’s strange how the show has depicted the relationship between Trevor and Ste. It’s like Ste and Brendan only without the sex. Brendan used and manipulated and threatened Ste, just like Trevor does now. I wonder if Ste would ever see that and turn his life around. After all, it’s because of his obsession with Brendan that his life turned out the way it has and caused him to fall in with Trevor to begin with. But self-reflection has never really been Ste’s thing.

It was nice to see John Paul there for Nancy. They’ve been friends forever and it’s logical he’d help her out when she needed it. That was a terrific scene with Nancy going after Sienna, but the show ruined the moment again by ending with the confrontation and picking up the next day. How did it all end? What did Sienna say to defend herself? What did Darren say? It just kills so much momentum when they do that. But Siena is a great bad girl, even managing to convince Nancy herself that she’s a drug user. Girl knows her stuff.

However, with Trevor, Paul, Sienna, Will, Trent, Patrick and a few others, this show has far too many sociopaths and criminals running around the village creating havoc. And to make the stories work, all the ‘good’ people are written as dumb and weak and helpless. That’s a major flaw in the show’s writing.

People of the Valley (Wales)

After a couple of weeks of going nowhere (in fact, I think Gethin vanished altogether), this story made some major strides with Gethin starting to remember his father sexually abusing him and his pleas for people to believe him. It’s frustrating to watch as even Sheryl refuses to even consider that Moc is going after her son, but they have no reason to believe Gethin given all his lies.

These scenes between Gethin and Iolo where Gethin made Iolo understand why he stayed quiet for so long were well written and wonderfully acted as was the later scene where Iolo insisted Gethin take a step back so they can plot a way to prove Moc is a child molester. I really like the bond that has grown between these two.

I don’t know if Gethin and Iolo will ever be anything more than friends, but the actors are very good together. I know a lot of people are waiting for them to kiss (which seems to be why a lot of people watch these stories, forget plot and character), but I think they’ll be waiting a long time, if the show goes there. Gethin is a victim of sexual abuse, deeply emotionally troubled and a relationship with a man seems like a bad idea to say the least.

I have the feeling this will all end with Moc being murdered and Iolo and Gethin will be at the top of the suspect list. But that’s just me.

Go Girls (New Zealand)

This was a nice season finale. No, Levi didn’t get the guy, but he did grow and mature a bit and become a better person. Maybe he’ll handle himself better in his next relationship. However, with he and Tatiana working together, he’ll probably be in contact with Kent again so I don’t think that it’s quite over between the two of them. And in truth, I don’t think that Levi was ready to move in with Kent.

I think he wanted to be, but it seemed he wasn’t quite there yet. It just seemed like he was doing it because Ted was making major changes in his life. I hope we get the chance to see the story continue. This is a sweet and funny show with likeable and engaging characters. But the ratings haven’t been good so there’s a chance the show may not return. Let’s hope it does.

Days of Our Lives (U.S.)

I’m sorry, but I’m with Adrienne. Why should she give Sami the benefit of the doubt or think anything good about her? It’s not like Sami has a sterling track record and hasn’t actually shot someone before. Besides, Adrienne has every reason to be worried because Sonny actually destroyed evidence of a crime. No, she doesn’t have all the facts, but her turning that video in is the moral and legal thing to do. It may not be the ‘right’ thing, but from Adrienne’s POV, it is. She wants to protect her son and since Sonny won’t look out for himself, especially in regards to Will, it’s only natural she would want to do so.

I am loving seeing more of Judi Evans. She’s such a good actress and she plays off everyone so well. From her scenes with Freddie Smith to Allison Sweeney to Wally Kurth, she’s really very good and it’s great the show is using her more. But it would be nice if she would just say ‘here look at this video’ rather than ranting and raving in every scene. But that would make the story move faster and we can’t have that.

It was nice to see Marlena and Will talk. It’s been so long since they had some scenes together and I’ve missed them. I’m glad Marlena tried to talk some sense into Will—for all the good it did. Will is actually really annoying with his endless doubts and worries, especially since we’ve seen it all before. And I think it’s silly of him to be put out by Sonny and Brent working together, especially since it’s been made clear they’ve never been anything more than friends.

I don’t understand why Will feels he should be included in Sonny’s business chats with Brent. Will has never been involved in Sonny’s business before. And Brent is the professional, not Will. It’s like if Jen was annoyed because Daniel didn’t consult her about a surgery he was about to perform. I mean, seriously. Overall though if weak nonsense like this the best the show can do in terms of conflict for Will and Sonny, it’s going to be a long road to hoe until Chandler leaves the show.

Speaking of business, did I miss something? When has Sonny ever discussed expanding the coffee shop? Or is that a conversation that took place off screen? No surprise given all the other story points for this couple that has taken place off screen. And Sonny seems to have forgotten that he and Chad did not start the coffee house all on their own. Ian (now dead) was the investor for the coffee shop. Elsewhere, so they still haven’t told Rafe that Sami didn’t shoot him so he’d stop freaking out? I think Rafe needs some new doctors. So silly… And I think Adrienne talking the storyline plot points to herself out loud is just ridiculous. Please, Days, just stop it.

Scoops and Spoilers

Chris and Hudson, back together….

Neighbours : Hudson is back and looking for a reunion with Chris, but Chris is reluctant to get involved with him again. However, Hudson refuses to take no for an answer and eventually gets Chris to give him another chance. The boys seal their reunion with a kiss, but will it last when Hudson finds out that Joshua was offered the sponsorship deal that once belonged to Hudson?

Hollyoaks: Things are back on with Danny and John Paul, despite Danny’s vow that they couldn’t date because they were co-workers. He and John Paul sleep together for the first time. But will Danny’s secret past ruin things? Elsewhere, John Paul decides to try and help Nancy with her marital woes, but he could be making matters worse.

Ste’s mother Pauline is back in the hospital after spraining her ankle. She wants to go home, but the police won’t release her without someone to care for her. She offers that Tony will do it, but will that lead to Ste finding out his mother is terminally ill?

Meanwhile, Tony bumps into Sinead and Ste, who are still struggling to make ends meet. Tony presses for Sinead to move back home, but a stubborn Sinead refuses and decides the only way to make money is for her to return to escorting. Later, Trent puts pressure on Sinead about gathering evidence against Ste in exchange for his dropping the charges against her. Upon hearing Ste making plans to meet up with Trevor, she follows Ste in hopes of getting some information that could be useful.

River City: As the kidnapping saga continues, Will is furious when Kelly-Marie lets a reporter publish her story. Will believes that it might spook the kidnappers and put Callum into more danger. When blood stained clothes belonging to Callum are found, the police quickly investigate and learn the blood is the boys’. Kelly-Marie feels guilty, certain that Will was right and she never should have gone to the police. Kelly-Marie turns to Lenny for help and he reveals that the kidnappers have made another ransom request. The two gather the money and prepare to meet with the criminals. Will and the police are hot on their trail. The showdown with the kidnappers leads to terrible repercussions that will change the family forever…

Justin isn’t happy about Adrienne turning in Sami…

Days of Our Lives: Thanks to Adrienne, the video of Sami attacking Bernardi is made public and Sami is again arrested for murdering the cop. Adrienne isn’t sorry for what she did, but Sonny is furious and cuts his mother out of his life for good. Meanwhile, Will knows that Sami is protecting him and goes to Justin for legal advice. Elsewhere in Salem, Kate worries that Rafe won’t remember their relationship and when Gabi is upset about her marriage coming to an end, Cam has some advice for her.

People of the Valley: As Moc spends more time alone with Wil, Gethin and Iolo plot to find a way to expose him for the child predator that he is. Iolo thinks some time away might do Gethin some good so the two of them go on a church trip that will involve most of the town. However, unexpected events send Gethin into an emotional turmoil.

Joscha is out to convince the world that he’s straight…

All That Matters: Relieved that the press is off his back about his personal life because of his public confession that he and Melanie are a couple, Joscha wonders if he made a big mistake when Melanie reveals that she is in love with him. Melanie is ready for sex, but Joscha is unable to get an erection. He puts her off saying that he never has sex before a game. Melanie is placated for the moment, but Joscha fears he won’t be able to keep avoiding sex with her as his feelings for Deniz continue to grow. Deniz meanwhile has an idea on how to improve the team that Can doesn’t like.

And Also This Week

Shortland Street: Henry continues to cause problems for Rachel...

General Hospital: Michael decides to seduce Brad….

Winners and Losers: Jonathan is fearful when his attacker (and kidnapper) is released from prison…

EastEnders: Danny hits on both Michael and Janine

That’s it for another edition of Langford on Soaps. See you next time!