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Series 1, Episode 6 (S01E06) - 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

As there are a lot of things that happen in this episode that depart from what you would expect in the book I feel like it would be cheating the viewer if I explained everything so I will just give a brief rundown and then do a wrap up of the series by talking about each actor and what I enjoyed about them during the series.

The story begins with Homer already in town checking out the situation and finding out the parents of the group who have not been cooperating are going to be relocated. Fi's dad knows enough about war to know what this means but is at a loss what to do. In the meantime the people who have been doing what they are told are supposedly meant to be allowed to go back home.

Back at the hospital Corrie's mum begs to see her daughter but is not allowed to by the doctor and also the attempted breakout of her by her friends has raised security. Homer arrives back in Hell and tells the group what is going on and says he is going to come up with something to prevent their parents being moved.

Unbeknownst to the group, the soldier who deserted and who turned out was the one who shot Corrie is being interrogated. He tries to lessen is punishment by saying where he shot her and the Sergeant has found a map from the fire station that has the location of the "Hell" valley written on it.

While Homer is gone, Ellie gets very agitated and decides to go after him as he does not trust he will not try to act alone. On the way out they almost run straight into an enemy kill squad who was on the way to get them, but manage to hide in time due to Ellie's bush skills and luck.

Homer and Fi have found the petrol tanker, but everything does not work out for them leading to them having to change the plan. Ellie and the others arrive at the fuel depot and decide to act sooner rather than later and things start going into action.

It was a great episode and an excellent conclusion to the series in keeping with the tone of the books it does end up being a pyrrhic victory as the group is no longer safe in the one place they considered to be out of reach and are down two friends.

There is a significant change to one of the major events but I will leave it to the viewer to work out what it is. It does seem more realistic that the group would not be able to get access to something so big to blow up and it was a plan made up on the spot due to the raised stakes and having to act immediately.

I have been watching the behind the scenes features after each episode and the production and stunt work on the series has been handled very well. Especially with the four wheeler motorbikes as they are not very stable to begin with and cause a lot of accidents on farms.

As I have said before this series is more of a story inspired by the book that develops the story further especially the characters as it is able to be told from more than one point of view.

Molly Daniels as Ellie was great in this series and very believable. She is the voice of the novels so it would be big role to take on and she did it very well. I have read the entire series of books several times and also the Ellie Chronicles and can say that the actor captured how I thought of Ellie very well. It seems unfair to compare her to the previous actress that played the role as this adaptation had a lot more characterisation in it due to being longer.

Narek Arman as Homer was excellent and made me forget the previous version of the character I had seen in the movie adaptation also. He seems to have a lot more emotional depth in this version of the story and gets to explain his feelings toward Fi. The lifelong friendship between Ellie and Homer does also seem believable and it looks like the actors got on well together.

Madeleine Madden as Corrie played her part very well. In the series of books we only get to see her in book one and two but hopefully she will get to appear in flashbacks in later stories. I thought all her scenes felt believable and as with Homer you did feel like she had been friends with Ellie for a long time. The scenes with Corrie and her mum were especially powerful and one of the better things added in this adaptation of the story.

Andrew Creer as Kevin was interesting as in the original books he goes away in the first book and gets rescued in the third book. In this adaptation there was also a lot more depth to his character and he showed something new that wasn't in the books as we never found out what happened to Kevin after he took Corrie to the hospital in detail, just that he was never the same afterwards.

Fantine Banulski as Robyn was a surprise as she is more prevalent in the first three books of the series, but they never quite go as deep into her character in this series. The religious aspect to her character was handled well and not treated like a joke as it seems to be in a lot of stories, even getting her out of trouble at one point. The Robyn in this version of the story is very brave and not afraid to stand up for her convictions and the performance reflects that.

Madeleine Clunies-Ross as Fi was much more developed than in the books even hinting that she may have already had some mental health issues that she was dealing with. I did enjoy her having the serious conversation with Homer and "I need to go be awesome someplace else" line. In the final episode she takes on a lot in the group's action, something that you would never thought she would do when you see her at the start of the series.

Jon Prasida as Lee was also a lot more developed and conflicted in this version of the story. In the books he seems to be like the Terminator in regards to killing people or as Ellie says it he does what needs to be done. I could imagine this version of the character just straight up murdering someone with a knife who was struggling to breathe after being hit with a rock (which does happen in the second book.) The scenes with him refusing to snipe the enemy soldier and the one where he does back to meet his dad where the best ones he was in I thought. Lee and Ellie's relationship in this adaptation was handled well and even the part where Ellie is still trying to work out her feelings towards him.

This adaptation introduces or expands a lot of characters that were only mentioned in the books or where very far away or not heard of. I will talk about the more stand out ones.

Keith Purcell as Chris Maxwell/Fi's brother was different in this version as Chris was in the story but was not related to any of the other characters and they only find him by chance. He does fit in well with the story and even though he spends most of his time imprisoned in the showground he does get to do some dramatic scenes with the interrogation and also the dancing which caused much amusement on the Twitter session the actor was participating in during the screening of one of the episodes.

Deborah Mailman as Kath McKenzie/Corrie's mum was my favourite of actors playing the parents and gets several dramatic scenes where she steals the show. I particularly enjoyed the scene of her slapping the solider as it showed how much she was willing to risk to get to see her daughter and also the scene of her finally getting to be with her was one of the best in the entire series.

James Stewart as Colonel Lee was a new addition to the series as there is no real enemy character (not counting Major Harvey) until the very last book. Having him actively seeking the group from the very start of the story raises the stakes and his own duty as a soldier seems to be conflicted with his own desires as he seems to quite like Fi's mum but has to do what he is told by his superiors. I am not sure if he will even make it to the next series as I won't say what actually happened to him but it looked doubtful.

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