Monday, February 4, 2008

Welcome Home – McLeod’s Daughters Episode Summary 1.1

The women of Drover's RunSynopsis: After her father’s death, Claire McLeod is left to manage Drover’s Run all by herself not knowing that her father had left half of it to her estranged half-sister, Tess Silverman. Only a day had gone by and already Tess unwittingly causes trouble when her simple mistake puts Drover’s Run in a whole lot of mess.

Episode Summary: Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) is mustering cattle with the male farmhands when a helicopter hovers above them. She looks up, smiles and waves at the pilot. As soon as the chopper flies away, she resumes her work and shows off her brilliant horse-riding skills when one of the cattle tries to break off from the herd. By noon, they finish gathering the livestock and successfully lead them back in the pen. Claire walks back to the house and finds the housekeeper Meg Fountain (Sonia Todd) happily chatting with her secret lover, Terry Dodge. Their relationship is probably the worst kept secret, since everybody knows about it except for the one that matters, her daughter Jodi.  Continue reading...

After her father’s death, Tess Silverman (Bridie Carter) learns that Jack McLeod had left her half of his farm. Thinking that she struck rich, Tess drives all the way from Melbourne to the outback in her old, beat-up Volkswagen. She smiles as she first catches sight of her old home, Drover’s Run.

Claire has still not gotten used to Jack being gone as she spends her lunch break alone in the big dining room. She catches herself unconsciously turning to the place where her father used to sit to ask for help on a crossword puzzle, an activity they used to do to pass time. The sound of a car running close by breaks the awkward moment. By the window, she watches as a young woman hops off her car and makes her way to the front door. Claire is completely annoyed as she tries to open the unused main door for the stranger. After failing to pry it open, Claire runs out the side door to meet the unexpected visitor. Tess manages to push the door halfway, but her sister had already made her way out the side. The two sisters meet.

After having properly introduced herself, Tess expects a warm welcome from Claire, but all she got was a cold shoulder. Claire’s demeanor worsens upon learning that Jack had left half of Drover’s Run to her sister. The warm welcome she did not receive from her sister, she got from Meg, who immediately recognized her as Tess, Jack’s daughter from her second wife Ruth. Tess breaks the news that her mother had also recently died. In fact, she passed away from cancer a week before Jack. The sad news seemed to have reduced Claire’s indifference towards her, but Tess’ wanting to discuss the property had quickly made her revert back to her cold behavior and made it even more difficult to bring herself to welcome her sister back home. She flees having to deal with Tess by returning back to work even though that’s hardly an escape, since the farmhands have trouble taking orders from her. Their reluctance forces Claire to remind them ever so often that she is now their new boss.

Tess looks around the house to reminisce good, old memories of her childhood. She meets Jodi (Rachael Carpani), Meg’s daughter who has come back from boarding school awaiting the results of her exam. The realization that she does not belong in Drover’s Run first hits when she discovers that her old room had been turned into a storage area.

Alex Ryan, Claire’s close friend lands his chopper on Drover’s Run. The two make a bet on who tops the market on tomorrow’s cattle sales. It is the first time Claire displays a happy disposition since Tess’ arrival, but it is cut short when her sister comes out to meet Alex and he begins flirting with Tess. He offers her a place to stay, something her own sister could not bring herself to do. By now, there is no doubt in Tess’ mind that Claire does not want her around, and her assumption is confirmed when it is Meg who invites her to stay.

It was an uncomfortable dinner with the estranged sisters by themselves sitting face-to-face. Tess attempts to break the ice by talking about how closely her mother and their father died, implying that Ruth’s death might have caused Jack’s passing. Claire rebuffs her theory and almost blurts out what really happened, but she catches herself. By dessert, Tess had mustered the courage to confront Claire about her intentions. She tells her sister the three options the solicitor had given her on how to go about the property. One is to sell the land and split the fortune. Another is to divide the property in two and lastly is for Claire to buy her share. Finally, Claire foregoes her reticence and uncovers the real reason for her unpleasant reception. She could not believe that Jack left Tess half of the farm after she and Ruth ran out on them twenty years ago. Upset, Claire heads to sleep in Jack’s room so Tess could have her room. As Tess unpacks her bag, she finds an old picture of her and Claire. What she does not know is that her sister has kept the same picture with her. Claire watches Tess from the window as she takes a night stroll around the farm. When Tess returns from her walk, she acts out the warm welcome she imagined she would receive.

A commotion wakes Tess at five in the morning and learns that the cattle had escaped from the corral. The farmhands could not figure out how they could have broken out, but Tess confesses that she had opened the gate. Although she closed it on her way back, she forgot to return the snap hook thus allowing the cattle to break free. Immediately, Claire leads the round up and hopes to make the truck for the sales. Tess rides in the Ute with Meg and discovers that the farm has financial troubles and that Claire was really counting on the money from the cattle sales. As they were driving, they spot an explosion. Ian, one of the farmhands who had gone out to town was on his way back to Drover’s when he runs over some of the cows that got out. The petrol drums at the back of his truck caused the huge explosion, luckily he escapes with minor injuries. The Ryan’s come to help with the rescue and containment of the fire.

Tess is overcome with guilt after seeing the cost of her simple mistake - a man is injured, cows lie dead, and Claire will not make the sale. Back at the house, she takes her frustration out on the jammed main door and fixes it. Meanwhile, Claire discovers that Ian had been stealing fuel from Drover’s, but learns from Tess that all of the farmhands were in on it after she saw them filling up the drums last night. Claire confronts the men and fires them.

What felt right now seems wrong. Claire realizes that she could not run the farm without help. She decides to take out her frustration on the jammed door not knowing that her sister had already fixed it. Tess approaches her to apologize for the mess she had caused, but Claire appears to be grateful stating that if Tess had not left the gate open, the cattle would not have gotten out and she wouldn’t have learned that the men were stealing from her. Tess is becoming less and less of an annoyance. To add, she even managed to fix the door. Tess recalls what their father used to always say – things don’t get done just by looking at them. For the first time Claire realizes that the woman in front of her is actually her sister.

Later, Claire decides to consider the solicitor’s advice thinking that Tess must be anxious to go back home only to learn that she doesn’t really have a home. Claire, in her own awkward way, invites Tess to stay while she sorts out the mess Drover’s Run is in. She starts by rounding-up the cattle by herself, but the women of the farm including Becky Howard (Jessica Napier), who has come to deliver groceries, offer to help. Becky is Gungellan’s town slut and her reputation precedes her, which she validated the other day when she pulled up her shirt and exposed her breast at the request of the male farmhands.

Terry informs the men of Killarney about Claire’s situation, though Harry Ryan sympathizes for her, he sees an opportunity to buy Drover’s Run. What he doesn’t know is that Claire might manage without the men. In fact, the women are already preparing to do the mustering on their own. Tess, hasn’t ridden a horse in a while, she talks to Oscar, a big, old, white horse. Meg and Claire laugh as Tess runs away with Oscar pony club style. The women reach a hill overlooking Drover’s Run and they marvel at the rolling hills. Claire finally accepts that her sister Tess owns half of it.


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