Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Long Goodbye – McLeod’s Daughters Episode Summary 3.29

Claire Mcleod begs Tess to let her move onSynopsis: Claire McLeod returns to Drovers Run as a ghost to help her sister deal with her untimely death. Meanwhile, Alex Ryan who is unable to grieve for the death of his beloved mate takes on a futile quest of taking the life of the white stallion that he believes caused Claire’s life. Alex fails in his pursuit, but comes to a realization, and he painfully bids her partner farewell. Though it took a while, Tess McLeod finally understands that she has to let go, and she bids her sister a long goodbye.

Episode Summary: Tess McLeod (Bridie Carter) dreams about the tragic accident that cost the life of her sister. She wakes up from her nightmare calling for Claire. Imagine her surprise to find Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) alive and well standing by her window pointing at their stars. Claire reckons that they ought to pick one for Charlotte and they do so choosing a bright star between theirs. Seeing and talking to her sister, Tess is certain that all that had happened was just a terrible dream and begins to tell her sister about it. Claire tells Tess that it is about time that she stops having those nightmares. She then leaves the room to go check on her daughter to show the baby her star that way they will always be together. Tess tries to follow her sister, but she is nowhere to be seen. She runs downstairs to the dining room only to find her sister’s coffin. Tess is mournfully reminded of the sad truth that Claire McLeod is truly dead.  Continue reading...

Another person whom Claire had left in shambles is Alex Ryan (Aaron Jeffrey). Convinced that the white brumby had caused the death of his beloved mate, Alex had taken it upon himself to go after the wild horse with the full intention of killing it. Knowing full well that the white stallion did not cause the accident, Nick Ryan tries to put some sense to his brother. Hoping to dissuade his brother from his futile quest, Nick informs him that Claire’s body is already back at Drovers Run. However, it proved to be a failure. Unable to grieve, Alex is clearly not ready to be reminded that her beloved mate is dead much more to see her in a coffin.

Like all who hold Claire dear, all in their own way mourn her death including her beloved dog, Roy. Ever faithful to his master, the dog would not even let anyone near her horse, which makes Jodi’s task harder given that Eagle needs grooming for the funeral procession. Gloom casts over Drovers Run and to hide from it, Tess busies herself with the wake and burial arrangements though clearly is unprepared to receive commiseration from friends and neighbors as she subconsciously ignores the incessant ringing of the phone. There is one thing she could not ignore and that is Claire’s ghost. On her way to meet with Harry Ryan who had dropped by to pay his respects, Claire’s ghost once again appears to her, but only to her.

Tess enters the room where they are holding her sister’s body to find Harry and Claire’s ghost who seems to be much less uptight dead than when she was alive. In fact, she wasted no time to comment on the flowers that Harry had brought stating that beer would have been a better offering. Awkward as she already is, Tess starts to act even more strange when she instinctively disagrees with her sister’s remark forgetting that she is the only one who sees and hears her. Though appearing jovial than she normally was, Claire’s distrust about Harry’s real intention of taking over Drovers Run remains intact. Following her sister’s suspicion, Tess blurts out to Harry that Drovers Run is not for sale much to the old man’s surprise who had in all honesty visited only to pay his respects to Claire. Hard as it is to believe, Harry truly has high regard for Claire despite their differences.

Harry and Claire might have had their own share of disagreements, but there is one thing they both agreed on and that is that the accident report is hardly worth reading. Claire even after death could not stress further that there are far more important things like farm work than trying to find answers from an accident report. However, Tess is too stubborn to listen to anybody not even to her sister who had come back from the dead to give her advice.

The same could be said about Alex whose determination to take out his anger on an innocent horse could not be deterred. Having been alone for too long pursuing a lost cause and without Claire’s ghost to straighten him out, Stevie Hall might just be the one person to shake Alex out of his vain pursuit. Overcome with anger for having lost his loved one, he had convinced himself that it was the brumby that killed Claire McLeod despite knowing that it was a pothole that really caused the fatal accident.

Tess has a lost cause of her own and had decided to return to the scene of the accident in an attempt to learn what she could have done to save her sister. Now, even without Claire’s ghost Tess is acting really strange as she desperately finds reason to her sister’s untimely death. Like a good friend that he truly is, Nick stays with her and does his best to get into her head that she had done all that she could, but just like his attempt to put some sense on his brother he too fails with Tess. She returns to Drovers still convinced that there must have been some tool at the back of the Ute that she could have used to break open her sister’s door to safely get her out of the slipping truck.

Claire’s ghost tries her best to help her sister forget about the accident more so to steer her away from the pointless search for answers to her tragic death. Her plan is to cheer her sister up with jokes even a bad one and to distract her with talk about raising BOM. However, Tess sees her haunting as an indication that Claire had not accepted her untimely death. On the contrary, Claire McLeod had never appeared happier and free than she is now. She continues with her blissful haunting upstairs in her bedroom where she starts getting rid of her clothes and even offers Tess the maternity dress she wore at Jodi’s wedding. Tess still in despair, but unable to grieve becomes annoyed with the ghost of Claire whose attempt to help her move on causes more trouble than aid. Tess’ irritation becomes even more obvious when she yells at her sister for pushing her to revive her relationship with Nick. Unlucky for her, Meg hears her talking to herself unaware of the presence of Claire’s ghost. Despite Tess’ unhappiness, Claire continues to act unlike herself as she playfully dances around the room.

Truth is, Alex is the one who appears as if life was sucked out of him and it seems like the only way to appease his inconsolable heart is to take the life of the white stallion that he deems responsible for Claire’s death. His chance has come when he spots the wild horse standing still in the open. Fully aware that the brumby had nothing to do with the accident, Stevie who decided to accompany the troubled Ryan brother foils his attempt at murdering the innocent horse.

Tess who just like Alex hides her anguish with a pointless quest, and has become unapproachable. This is why Jodi’s attempt to provide some sort of comfort to the surviving McLeod sister passed unnoticed, because Tess is preoccupied with her search for a way that could have saved her sister. Leave it to a ghost to try and convince her that no matter how hard she tries to find reason, the answer will not bring her back from the dead. Unfortunately, Tess is currently as stubborn as Claire was when she was alive.

Meanwhile, Stevie tries to cheer up Alex with the story of the first time she met Claire. According to her, it was in one of the rodeos and Alex was also there. They were still kids, but already Stevie knew that he, as early as then, was in love with Claire. Sadly, he wasted almost a lifetime to realize what was already in front of him. He is not the only one who fails to accept the truth. Late that night, Tess is awakened by the sound of the television. Claire had played the videotape of Charlotte’s naming ceremony. Tess continues to suppose that Claire has come back because of her untimely death, but her sister finally tells her that it is she who needs to move on. In fact, it is Tess who is keeping Claire from crossing over.

The time to put Claire McLeod to rest has come, but Alex is still not ready to bid her goodbye. In spite of Stevie’s urging, Alex could not bring himself to attend the funeral. He explains that the only way to put things right is to take the life of the brumby that he obstinately believes to have caused the fatal accident. He finally gets his chance when he corners the white stallion and it bravely faces its predator. Alex aims his shotgun and prepares to shoot just when the stallion’s family, a mare and a foal join the innocent brumby. Only then did reason come to Alex as he, unable to kill the wild horse, lowers his gun and lets the horses run free. Finally, he is able to grieve.

It was already the day of the funeral when Jodi found the right words to say to Claire, all thanks to Claire’s faithful dog, Roy. The beloved dog had come to pay its respects to its fallen master and through the unlikely creature Jodi was able to bid her a fitting goodbye. Unfortunately, Tess could not do the same. Seeing the carriage that would carry her sister’s coffin, Tess loses control and decides to escape. Thankfully, Nick who is already dressed for the funeral sees her and had the good sense of going with the troubled McLeod sister. After holding back for days what she truly felt, she tells Nick that she does not want to bury her sister. Somehow, he manages to convince Tess to return home. There really isn’t much she could do given that all their friends and neighbors had already arrived for the funeral and that includes Sandra whom Claire even after death loathes. Tess gives a final attempt at foregoing the funeral, but Claire wants it to be done and over it so Tess could get on with her life. All are ready for the burial, all except Tess. Leave it to Nick to finally convince Tess that she has to bury her sister.

Tess with Charlotte in her arms leads the procession that follows the carriage that carries Claire McLeod’s body to its final resting place. With Alex not in sight, Terry asks Vince to take his place in carrying Claire’s coffin. Terry opens the funeral with a heartfelt poem, and just in time Alex arrives to take his rightful place in laying his beloved mate to rest. Meg’s eulogy paints a picture of Claire’s life that is though short is fulfilled. She tells of a lonely child who at the end of her life finally got what she wanted – a man who loved her, a beautiful daughter and a sister. The time has finally come for Tess to say goodbye, and in a moment of agony was brought to the site of the accident where she stands face-to-face with Claire. There she learns that there is no reason for her death, but only acceptance. She finds strength from her dead sister’s wisdom. Claire begs her sister to let go. Only then did she understand and finally she let’s go. She opens her eyes and finds herself still in the middle of a eulogy, but with a renewed strength to go on. She tells of how at first she only wanted to claim an inheritance, but soon realized that the best part of her inheritance is finding her sister, and that it was only then did she feel that she truly belonged somewhere. Tess, though still grief-stricken finds the strength to move on, and she successfully does so. It took her long, but she finally bids Claire goodbye. Tess watches as Claire observes her own funeral from afar and with a smile on her face she walks away. Alex also finds the will to say goodbye as he kneels by her coffin, and for the last time tells Claire that he loves her. He puts the ring he never got the chance to give her on the coffin, and with it they bury Claire McLeod.

Previous episode: My Noon, My Midnight
Next episode: Turbulence
More McLeod's Daughters Episode Summaries

3 Pennies for your thoughts:

banini said...

At long last, I've finally finished writing the summary for this episode. I know. I know. Years and years had passed, since this was first aired, but I still could not help but wonder what if Lisa Chappell had not left the show and Claire McLeod had not died? The show must have been so different.

You have to admit you would sometimes miss the character. I read that even Lisa Chappell misses Claire's character when she gets to watch the show. Well, she didn't have to miss her if she had not left. Hahaha! But who could blame her, I for one, had not lasted more than 2 years in one company, and I don't even have to deal with the cold, hot weather and the flies. But still...I wonder. Don't you?

Anonymous said...

I actually stopped watching after claire died. It wasn't fun anymore. I've tried a couple of times. I really love that character.

Comprehensive Episode Guides said...

Same here. I lost interest when Claire died. There were still good episodes after season 3, but the show is not the same without her.