So we've heard His Side and Her Side on Come Home, now we'll find out what happens now in the finale. I've found this show impossible to stop watching, you'll know why as you read it. Rolling S1:E03 after the break.
We see how estranged couple Marie (Paula Malcomson) and Greg Farrell (Christopher Eccleston) met (in a loo at a pub) and married, a lovely affair with nary a whisker to be seen. Ah they look so happy. That first kiss.
We switch back to the present where young Laura Farrell (Lola Petticrew) and her injuries are being photographed by the police to support her claim of assault. Her dad's new live-in girlfriend Brenna (Kerri Quinn) has an extremely violent and unstable ex-husband that has been terrorizing them.
The police detective gently interviews Laura until Greg and Brenna show up. Brenna goes on the offensive immediately: "It's not my fault." Marie asks her if she means "sorry"? Brenna's not taking that, but the police intervene, they want to talk to her about Garry. Thank you policeperson, for using Brenna's last name: it's Doyle! Not Coyle and Boyle as previously listed in IMDb!
Greg runs to Laura, Garry's already in jail but Marie can't believe Greg didn't report him hanging around the house. Greg argues that he went to see Garry, man to man, and Garry agreed not to come around again. For reference, this is Garry "agreeing."
Side note: you can't really report someone hanging around your house. Say they have a friend in the neighbourhood or a store they like to visit, they can walk by and drive by your house slowly as many times as they like and the police will do nothing. Even if it's several times a day and the other parts of the day involves them staring at the house: the police can't do anything.
Marie doesn't care who Greg sees, but he can't be having dangerous people around their children. He thinks that's a bit rich since she walked out on all of them a year ago, but that doesn't excuse your new girlfriend not dealing properly with her husband (not allowing him access to his kiddo) and exposing your family to grievous bodily harm.
And here comes the hardest part for Greg. He's been taking care of all three kids on his own since their mum walked out.
Marie wants them back.
Greg's worst nightmare. He handles with about as much understanding as you could honestly expect, no way, no how, you're not getting them. You left them, they're mine, screw you.
I don't think that's how courts tend to see custody, unfortunately. She'll be seeing a solicitor, but I really think she should have let Laura spend the night at least.
Solicitors break it down for Marie and Greg and us; Marie's challenges involve her leaving and Liam. Liam is 17 and able to choose on his own, so if he doesn't choose her the court hates to break up sibling groups.
Greg's got the problem with Garry to contend with. Not only did he bring Brenna and Davey into their lives super fast, Garry didn't sit and wait in jail, he's absconded so still a threat to everyone in that blended family.
I still can't believe a grown man flat-out beat up a 14-year-old girl but that just tells me I've gone far from my roots. And thank god for that.
Wow, they really are going deep here, Greg brings up Marie's post-partum/post-natal depression after Molly (Darcey McNeeley) was born, can you really hold someone responsible for the things people say while in the grip of that? I sure hope not.
Marie gets to the bottom line; 5000 pounds to go to court if everything is fully contested. And it will take a few months besides.
She and Greg come out of their respective appointments looking as though the world has shifted on its axis.
Marie calls her mum and swings around to get that money, but her mum isn't so willing to hand over the cheque without getting some barbs in. You know, she's not wrong, Marie asking for the kids now is going to be disruptive, but ALL studies show that shared custody is best for the kids, if not the parents.
Her mom Niamh Keening (Brid Brennan - any relation to the actress who plays Janet?) is a stonecold betch, though, seriously.
Marie fights back, at least she didn't share every sordid detail of her father's indiscretions as she did. No 12 year old girl or teenager needs to hear any of that, that's strictly Parental Alienation 101. Niamh isn't having any of Marie's judgement, she's known Marie since before she knew herself.
Marie has always ran when things got hard, since she was a toddler. Her mother thinks she tried to tame herself with a marriage and children and respectability, but a few years ago: the affair with Billy (Edward MacLiam) that produced Laura and now she's run again.
Marie thinks she'll take that drink now.
That's the thing about people who've known us our whole lives, they knew us before we knew to cover up the spiky bits, smooth over the more unlikable bits of our personalities. However, they also only know us as dependents, as children they are responsible for and they lock into ideas about our nature in a way that does not reflect adulthood or growth. It seems Niamh is of the school of Being Your Child's First Bully, to toughen them up. Or she might just think the truth is more important. Niamh tells Marie to come clean or leave the kids with Greg.
Greg's received her solicitor's letter requesting access to the kids, he tears it up and thinks that's all he has to do to deny access.
He asks Liam (Anthony Boyle) to come home again, Liam had run up against Brenna and has been staying with friend Dex (Rhys Dunlop). But it's not about sides!
Liam won't come home unless Brenna goes and that's totally fair! Because Brenna is NOT good for that family, I understand she might care for Greg and even the girls, but her methods are suspect and she's kind of an arsehole. She sent nasty texts to Marie from Laura's phone which is really beyond the pale.
Marie and Laura have lunch, she just needs to know that is what Laura really wants. Ohhhh and the texts come up and maybe that's what was holding Marie back a bit! She thought Laura hated her! Laura wants to leave and come with her right NOW. They can't, they have to go through the courts properly. The text conversation derailed the "Greg is not your dad" talk, that'll be another day.
Laura confronts Brenna immediately on getting home, Greg is starting to get a sense of what he's signed up for.
We're in court briefly then the examination of the kiddos starts. Molly really REALLY misses her mummy, Daddy definitely comes second there. Liam tells the therapist "good luck deciding...whether they live with the bitch who walked out or the bitch who moved in."
Yikes. I am concerned about Liam is taking away from this about women.
ONCE AGAIN: MEN LEAVE ALL THE TIME. PEOPLE DON'T MAKE A THREE PART MINISERIES ABOUT IT. But I'm glad they made this one about Marie walking out.
It's killing Greg, the thought that Marie might get back the children she abandoned, that he can't control that or protect them from what he sees as her capriciousness.
Brenna and Greg bring Molly to see Marie, I sure don't like Brenna bringing up Marie's drinking in front of Molly, especially since Marie's not an alcoholic. I REALLY don't like how Brenna has insinuated herself into this process that has nothing to do with her.
Molly and Marie have a great visit, a couple of hard questions but Marie sidesteps.
The child therapist recommendation comes back: for consistency Molly should stay with Greg and shared for Laura. Marie's solicitor Chris Tomlinson (Rory Keenan) doesn't see that as a barrier, and here's the good news.
Greg's solicitor Carol Simm (Derbhle Crotty) explains the weakness in his case in one sentence: how well do you know your new partner?
Brenna was charged with domestic violence by Garry, which is a bit rich considering all we've seen him do, but still, the court will take that into account. Greg kind of understands that, but the real problem is trust.
You can tell that he really wants the answer to be no, but. Why? She thinks it's obvious and I do too, that's Evil Stepmom 101. Get rid of bio mom. Brenna spins it as getting Marie out of their lives because SHE wants Greg. Carol told Greg he'd have a better chance without Brenna in his life, which he presents rather baldly to her. Nothing means more than her kids to her.
Marie calls her mum and asks for the money and one other thing, can Niamh be there for her in court?
He gets home to find Brenna gone, not left but at her cousin's, giving him some space. He cries as he checks on the girls then calls Brenna and asks her to come home, he needs her. He needs her to put a smile back on his face.
It's time for court, Greg brings Brenna and Niamh is there for Marie. Marie's on the stand first, spiking Greg's guns with admissions about her selfishness (...) and post-natal depression. Her solicitor asks about the trapped feeling, Marie brings up Greg's controlling nature and Greg's head about falls off.
She felt trapped in his "old fashioned" expectations of her, to be the maid and cook and the person who does everything for everyone with no-one asking her what her needs were.
Greg's solicitor Carol brings up all the other things Marie didn't address, the car accidents while schwasted, the post-natal suicide attempt, the online dating.
Now we're to it: Greg lied to her about having a vasectomy and trapped her with another child she said she didn't want. She was furious when she found out, another 15 years of servitude to a man who only wanted one thing.
She tried to tell him over and over how unhappy she was. Now we're to whether she was faithful. Niamh sits right up, waiting for the truth to finally come out, but Marie lies again and Niamh's oot. She yells at Marie to tell the truth or she will and Brenna finds them stomping in and brings Marie to Greg.
Greg knew about the affair, didn't care apparently, but when he understands it concerns Laura.
His shock and anger are in equal parts, Brenna makes a move to protect Marie as Greg stands over her shouting. He calls for an adjournment and walks the street until late at night, coming home to stare at photos of Laura. Looking for resemblance? A clue? Laura find him at it and he explains each picture to her, tears in his eyes. His fear and love are written all over his face.
We're back in court and Marie is answering to Carol's grim assertions of loss over her Marie's deceit. Marie defends herself with "I fell in love" but it's pushed aside with a snort.
Now Greg is on the stand, answering for bringing Brenna into the home so early (to put a smile on his face) and to everything else he tried to cover over. Marie's solicitor Chris calls the texts "a deceitful, manipulative form of control, something not unknown to yourself." Oooooh burn.
Ohhh jaysus, Greg does even more damage to himself when he tries to explain why he lied about getting the vasectomy: he wanted to keep their family together. It was for the children, to keep everyone in those roles they chose, Marie wasn't a slave, they made the choice to have children together. Except for when he lied about this vasectomy.
My god this sum up; I've had chills since they've been in court, but this is a master stroke in taking apart a lie and putting bringing it into the light.
Greg stares at Brenna, who's not meeting his eyes exactly.
Here we go, the court's decision is delivered by the judge (Eleanor Methven) and it's that the children shall reside with...Marie with weekend access given to Greg.
Marie asks to speak to Greg alone and apologizes immediately for not telling him about Laura. He wants to tell Laura himself and she agrees. He never knew how much she hated him, but she did love him once. He probably loved her too, before she became just a symbol to him.
She offers shared custody, which confuses him. She won?
We're out with a heartbreaking montage of their life set to the tune of "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John because apparently THEY JUST WANT ME TO CRY ALL DAY. We're out.
I honestly can't believe how much of this mirrors another situation I am all too familiar with, save paternity woes and getting a 13 month break. It's unreal. Is this really common?? Is this what happens for everyone?
I've been wondering about the relationship between Marie and her mother, Niamh insisting Marie only wants to be a victim. Where do you think Marie learned how difficult it is to challenge people extremely set in their ways and opinions? Perhaps from someone who still holds children accountable for their behaviour at 2 years old? Hard to say.
Wow. Another powerful show from Red Production Company and Danny Brocklehurst, almost unbearably painful but so very well done. I spent the entire time in goosebumps. Cheers.