Welcome to Wirrawee

Series 1, Episode 4 (S01E04) - 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
Mario Setyana - Friendly soldier

I won't go into as much detail with the plot of this episode as it has started to significantly depart from the storyline of the first book, but it is better for it as it still keeps the spirit of the books but is developing its own storyline.

Lee is still in Wirrawee by himself, but decides to head back to Hell. He is greeted with much relief by his friends but Ellie is not there to greet him. Ellie has gone off exploring and found the hermit's hut.

Lee goes off to find Ellie and he finds the courage to say why he came back, but Ellie is confused. They do get to have a romantic moment on the way back.

Encroaching gunfire convinces the group they need to break camp and go further into the valley. While they are moving Lee asks Homer about how he dealt with the death of his mother, it is a surprisingly deep moment for the two characters and very rare to show two especially young male characters talk about their feelings. This part in particular would be good to show as an example of good communication and dealing with mental health issues.

The story of the families left in the showgrounds is also developed in this episode with plots revealed and the treachery of the Colonel revealed as he will do anything to get the job done. The characters of the parents are more fully developed in the TV series as they are only dealt with as memories in the books and in the show it makes the story more pressing. Having the Fi and Corrie's mothers talk about their daughters is also a touching moment especially with other developments in the episode.

The group back in Hell has a split with Homer wanting to go look for the enemy. Strangely Ellie decides against it as she never would have in the books. Staying behind with Lee and Robyn there is a further split when Robyn decides to leave and surrender to the enemy.

Unexpectedly Robyn encounters an enemy soldier who asks to pray with her when he hears her do so. He claims to have gotten lost but seems jumpy. When he grabs Robyn and hides from a helicopter he reveals he has gone AWOL as he does not want to do bad things and fears punishment if he goes back. It was an interesting scene as Robyn is confirmed in her beliefs and also we get to see that not everyone on the enemies' side agrees with what is going on.

Homer and the other group almost give up looking for the enemy, but find a camp just by chance. It reminded me of the Harvey's Heroes segment from the second book and they almost did not get away due to Kevin shooting a solider.

Bedraggled and limping back towards Hell, Corrie and Kevin get into a fight and break up. Only moments later Corrie is felled by an enemy bullet (was confusing as to whether this was the AWOL soldier or not). Homer runs off to get Ellie and they decide Corrie has to be taken to a hospital. Kevin decides to take her knowing that he will be captured.

Robyn has almost walked the entire way into Wirrawee when she sees Kevin and Corrie driving past in the Landrover and runs back to her friends. The final scene see's Corries mum working in the hospital and Kevin and Corrie turn up, tears, fade to black.

A very strong and affecting episode that takes a significant departure from the novel but still quotes some lines and keeps the feeling of the book with the same characters. In particular the characters of the families in the Showgrounds as they always seemed to be so far away in the books.

I did get to see the Twitter live with the Keith Purcell (Chris) and Fantine Banulski (Robyn) who answered questions while the show was on about filming the series. I could not get reception so I had to watch later on iView.

There was more empathy shown with the enemy in this episode with Lee saying he did not want to make someone else feel like he did about losing his mother. Also the scene with the deserting soldier. Colonel Lee talked about his family but seemed like he has been told to do a job and nothing will stop him doing it.

As I said in the last episode the series has departed enough from the book that I do not know what is going to happen next or who we could lose in the next episode. It was a shattering finale and hopefully the show will get a wide audience so the story can continue onto the second book and the scope will widen with New Zealand joining the war.

I am not a real big follower of TV series' but find myself having to watch this show every week as soon as possible. I would like to see films and TV that the actors are involved in the future and even asked Fantine about her experience on the upcoming movie about the bushranger Ben Hall:


Copyright © 1998-2016 Tim Chmielewski