Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ducks on the Pond – McLeod’s Daughters Episode Summary 1.2

Tess, Claire, Jodi, Meg and Becky watch the shearers leaveSynopsis: Four male shearers headed by Marty arrive at Drover’s Run to do the shearing for Claire’s contracted wool delivery. One of the shearer’s reputation as a murderer becomes a concern when the men had to spend the night to resume the job the next day. However, Claire is more alarmed by Tess’ plan to sell bits of Drover’s Run in order to fulfill her dream, but none of this matters when the men leave without finishing their job and the shearing is left to the ducks on the pond.

Episode Summary: At 5:30am Tess’ (Bridie Carter) alarm goes off. She looks out the window and finds Claire (Lisa Chappell) up and about. In fact, everybody is already dressed and busy with farm work, while she is still in her pajamas. On her way to talk to her sister, she bumps into a tall, muscular stranger and learns that he is one of the four shearers whom Claire hired.  Continue reading...

The women of Drover’s run and the shearers are having breakfast at the tool shed when Luke arrives on his motorcycle with Becky (Jessica Napier) riding with him. Meg (Sonia Todd) is the least bit happy with her arrival, but Claire accepts Becky’s offer to help with the shearing. Jodi (Rachael Carpani), on the other hand, seems to idolize the young woman who despite her reputation is a hard worker. In fact, Becky even brought the mail, which includes a letter for Tess. Much to Claire’s chagrin, Tess announces to everybody that it is a letter from her solicitor. This gives the lead shearer Marty more reason to doubt Claire’s management of Drover’s Run.

Right after breakfast, Meg is washing the dishes when Terry sneaks up on her. Afraid of being caught, she quickly reminds him about Jodi who enters the kitchen just as they finished cuddling. Terry learns that Vernon, the tall, muscular stranger that Tess bumped into earlier, is working for Marty. He tells Meg and Jodi about his imprisonment, and the supposed disappearance of his children and wife who was thought of having an affair with another man. Jodi is quick to spread the rumor that Vernon chopped his wife and children into pieces.

The time has finally come to do actual shearing, and the women do their best to help with the task. They are ducks on the pond, a term used to describe women in a shearing shed, and Jodi who had a change of clothing seems to be the duck with the skimpiest and shortest outfit, while Tess takes the throne for the most inept. As if she needs any more distraction, Tess becomes troubled upon hearing the rumor about Vernon, but thanks to Luke’s display of his well-sculpted body her fear was momentarily swept away.

The day’s work is finished, and the fear of having a murderer in their property creeps back into Tess’ mind. She confronts her sister about the rumor, and was shocked to learn that she is not the least bit worried about Vernon. As it would seem, Claire is more troubled with the letter from the solicitor, and her concerns increase upon overhearing Tess’ phone conversation with the lawyer where she seems to have found a buyer for her share of the property. If this pulls through, she would finally fulfill her dream of buying Café Bila.

After dinner, the women resume their discussion about Vernon’s rumored murder. Claire manages to steer the conversation to drop a hint on Tess that she is aware of her plans about the property. After initiating the talk about murder and adding fire to her fear, Jodi refuses to take the dog food out in the dark. Tess volunteers and catches Vernon and Jason in a heated argument. Her concern might not be unfounded, and she locks the kitchen door that had always been left unlocked. She divulges to her sister the scene she had just witnessed to justify her display of paranoia. Claire dismisses Tess’ concern, unlocks the door and even quips that only those who just had sex ends up the victim. If this were true then Becky is in a whole lot of trouble, since she had just slept with Luke at the back of the Ute. Tess’ paranoia seemed to have rubbed on to Claire as she kept the rifle beside her bed. Later that night, a rustling downstairs wakes her. She takes the rifle and slowly makes her way down only to find Tess in the kitchen. Tess takes this opportunity to reveal her plan of selling a bit of Drover’s Run in order to fulfill her dream.

Claire stays up all night pondering about Tess’ plan. By morning, she has come up with a plan to dissuade her sister from selling bits of Drover’s Run. She drags Tess out of bed and shows her the lay of the land starting with the creak where she learned to swim and had her first kiss. Next, she brings her to the shed her great, great grandfather built, which is also the site where Jack died. Lastly, Claire leads Tess to the graves of her father, mother and her stillborn brother.

The two sisters return from their guilt trip to find Vernon nursing a cut on his bloody hand. Moreover, he reveals that Jason took off to be with his wife who has gone into labor. Suspicions surround him when Becky discloses that Jason does not have a wife. However, the need to finish the shearing surpasses the concern of having a murderer among them. With one man down, the men struggle to finish the job, and Marty demands a higher wage for his men. When Claire refuses, stating that she could shear faster than them, he dares her to put her money where her mouth is. A competition begins between Claire and Marty where she agrees to pay an additional twenty cents per sheep if she loses, while he and his men would spend the whole night shearing if she wins. Claire trails Marty by six sheep and he decides to take a break, while she narrows the gap to three. With only one minute left, the women start to cheer for Claire, but Marty still ends up as the winner.

The healthy competition turns sour when Claire turns down Marty’s offer of becoming her station manager, and he retaliates by suggesting that she could not handle Drover’s Run. He takes his men with him and leaves. As if she does not have enough trouble on her hands, Claire is reminded of Tess’ plan to sell off parts of Drover’s Run when she catches sight of the flyer containing the café that her sister dreams of owning. It is the place Tess and Ruth used to go to and had always been the driving force of her life. However, there are matters more pressing than their conflicting plans, and that is the shearing. If Claire does not deliver the wool the next day, none of their plans would matter.

Unable to get replacements, Claire and Becky do the shearing themselves. To add to their dilemma, rain starts to pour and some of the sheep got wet. Good thing, Vernon had the good sense of returning to help get the job done, though his entrance spooked the ducks on the pond. All, except for Jodi who had fallen asleep, toil all night. Morning came and they get to the last sheep, thanks to Vernon. They toast in his name, which leads him to confess lying about Jason who took off because of their heated argument. Tess courageously confronts Vernon to get the truth about the rumors, and discovers that his wife and kids had left him and had gone to Queensland, all because he is gay. Jason knew the truth about him and threatened to do what Vernon feared the most and that is, spread his secret all over town. Tess learns that in the country, a mass murderer gains more respect than a homosexual. All are shocked to hear the truth though there is still one that remains a secret, at least to Jodi, and that is Meg’s relationship with Terry. In fact, Jodi thought that her mother was interested with Vernon.

Tess postpones her plan and calls her solicitor to inform him of her decision to stay and work things out with her sister. Although, she senses another problem when she sees her sister in the study all worried. She prepares herself for the worst. Claire reveals that she had messed up the delivery dates and that they toiled all night for nothing, since their delivery is not expected until the next week. Tess could not help but laugh. Claire begs her to keep their discovery a secret only to realize that there’s no hiding the heaps of wool in the shed. They end up laughing their hearts out at Claire’s blunder.

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