Welcome to Wirrawee

Series 1, Episode 3 (S01E03) - Review

Director: Brendan Maher

Main cast:
Molly Daniels - Ellie
Narek Arman - Homer
Madeleine Madden - Corrie
Andrew Creer - Kevin
Fantine Banulski - Robyn
Madeleine Clunies-Ross - Fi
Jon Prasida - Lee

Other characters::
Sibylla Budd - Rachel Maxwell/Fi's mum
Spencer McLaren - Daniel Maxwell/Fi's dad
Keith Purcell - Chris Maxwell/Fi's brother
Deborah Mailman - Kath McKenzie/Corrie's mum
Alison Bell - Liz Linton/Ellie's mum
Richard Young - Jack Linton /Ellie's Dad
Damien Fotiou - George Yannos/Homer's dad
Alfred Nicdao - Umar Takkam/Lee's Dad
James Stewart - Colonel Lee

Straight into the action again as unaware that they have a squad of soldiers looking to kill them, the group are resting at Corrie's. Ellie and Corrie are the only ones awake and are reminiscing about old times at the house. Considering how much goes on this episode it is good to have this scene at the start.

The friends start to get some stuff together and decide to travel back to hell, only to be surprised by the enemy kill squad. They barely manage to escape with their lives and it is unclear what happened to Corrie's house during the attack, but it is shown burning in the background when the group flees.

Recovering back in Hell, the group debates their course of action with Kevin wanting to strike back and mocking the attempts of the rest to just sit it out. The friends go off in pairs and try to work things out with Homer and Fi getting to know each other and Robyn getting her hair done by Fi, as she has never done it herself.

Corrie admits to Ellie that she is thinking of breaking up with Kevin as he is not maturing and just causing problems for everyone admitting "how can you break up with your boyfriend in the middle of a war?"

Wanting to put his mind at rest, Ellie tells Lee of how she found his mum seriously wounded near the showground, causing to rush off while still wounded and put them all in grave risk. The group does not manage to catch him before he steals the Landover and makes it as far as Ellie's place where he meets Ellie's mum who has been sent out on a work party as the people in showgrounds are starting to be sent out to fix things up.

Ellie and Fi's dad are in the lock up being questioned about a previous escape attempt so we do not see them for most of the episode.

Due to their house being one of the nicer in the area, Colonel Lee has decided to base himself at Fi's place and asked that Fi's mum keep the place clean, but has something else in mind for her as he wants to use her as a mole amongst the other prisoners to keep track of any plots.

The group arrives at Homer's house only to be surprised by a work party, but there is only a two soldier guard which they overpower easily. At this point Homer's dad wants no part of it and begs the group to give the soldiers back their weapons or their families in the camp will be punished. They reluctantly agree but still make off with the motorbikes as they need some way to get around.

Lee has somehow made it back into town and finds his dad back at his restaurant where he is cooking for the soldiers. He has several opportunities to kill a soldier but refuses each time. This is going to be an ongoing issue with him I see in this version as in the books there was no doubt about it he did what was needed to be done. In this adaptation of the story the stakes have been raised so he has more doubt in whether doing so is the right course of action.

It is strange in this adaptation the group's approach to security seems to be surprisingly lax. They do not even have lookouts when they are sleeping in houses and allow themselves to go into areas where they can be easily trapped. It might seem more unrealistic to have them acting like professional soldiers having rosters to do sentry duty this early in the story.

This episode did not end with a big enemy action, but yet another plot was revealed this time within the prison.

Having the friends have to go back to Wirrawee again to rescue Lee seems a bit like backtracking, but I am not sure what they are going to do with the story at this point for the first time in the series. Before I could see what was coming and knew in what order they were going to do it.

A very stressful episode to watch but it does reveal more about the characters and still advances the plot. Having the scene with Colonel Lee and Fi's mum at dinner was an interesting touch as it revealed that the enemy commander had Australian parent and was educated in Australia, something a lot different than you would expect in the story. The line "No one is coming to help Australia" could raise hackles if they framed in relation to asylum seekers or similar but it does not seem to be here. There is the ANZUS treaty that Australia has with the USA but it does not seem to be in use in this story.

The enemy soldiers do seem to be developing more of a personality than you would expect even from the books they were not this well realised. The two that turn out to be lovers and the suspicious right-hand man of Colonel Lee were ones I was not expecting.

Outstanding performances again from the actors playing Ellie and her friends and also well done from the adult cast in the prison.

I am looking forward to the further developments in the series and is hard to believe it is half way over already.


Copyright © 1998-2016 Tim Chmielewski