Sunday, January 11, 2009

Playing to Win – McLeod's Daughters Episode Summary 1.16

Claire McLeod wins the hay bale raceSynopsis: Claire McLeod joins the late Max Martin’s annual hay bale race, and wins over undefeated champion Alex Ryan. Meanwhile, Harry Ryan who worries of his own demise after the sudden death of their healthy neighbor Max makes it his mission to seize the day, and do as much work as he could in Killarney. Unfortunately, in his zeal, Harry meets an accident, and becomes stuck under a heavy tractor. This ordeal opened a can of worms as his wife Liz Ryan divulged to Tess McLeod the truth about Nick’s rodeo accident. Meanwhile, Meg Fountain breaks off her relationship with Terry Dodge after finding the prized rooster she inherited from Max dead.

Episode Summary: Max Martin was a man who neither smoked nor had a sip of alcohol, which is why his sudden death was a bit of a shock to the whole neighborhood. Everybody turned up at his funeral including Harry Ryan (Marshall Napier) who given the recent event had started worrying about his own demise. Meanwhile, Jodi Fountain’s concern is whether the annual hay bale race that benefits the Miss Gungellan quest would be canceled given the death of Max Martin who was the person who founded it. It is a race whose beginnings is rooted from an actual incident where the men in the neighborhood came together to help Max transport a thousand bales under the pouring rain. Soon after that, the men spurred on by their bravado had started arguing who carried the most bales, and so the conception of the hay bale race where men would run from the bottom paddock to the top, and back again carrying a heavy bale of hay. Continue reading...

The day of the race has arrived, and Tess McLeod (Bridie Carter) has a plan. Annoyed with the undefeated winner Alex’ chauvinist remark about how women should not even bother joining the race, Tess schemed with the other women to prove him wrong. Her plan is for her sister, who still had joined the race despite having no chance of winning it, to carry a hollowed out bale of hay. Now, knowing that righteous Claire would not approve of cheating, their only obstacle is getting the tampered bale into the mix, and leaving it to chance that her sister would be the one who would pick it. To increase the chances of Claire choosing the light bale, the women would have to put it way at the back given that she would probably be the last person who’d reach the top of the paddock. With that plan squared away, the only thing they have to do is to replace one of the heavy bales with the hollow one passed Craig Woodland who was tasked to look after the pick-up point. Luckily, the young man is fond of Jodi who now has the unfortunate job of distracting him so that Becky and Tess could sneak in the fake bale unnoticed.

The race has started, but Jodi is still unsuccessful at luring Craig away from the pick-up point. With the runners fast approaching, Jodi is left with no other choice, but to flash her boobs at the young man. To her embarrassment, she ends up just flashing her undershirt, but it was good enough as Tess and Becky managed to successfully replace one of the heavy bales with the light one. Soon after, the runners arrive, and just as they planned Claire who was the last person who turned up picked the hollowed out bale. She runs past the other runners, and then past Alex Ryan who struggles to catch up with her. Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) wins the race. Alex calls her a cheat, and Nick who suspected what the women were up to earlier on picks up Claire’s bale as if it weighed a ton.

Meanwhile, Harry Ryan who has come to the alarming realization that life is too short busies himself with unfinished work on Killarney. Unfortunately, his zeal turned against him as he now finds himself stuck under a heavy tractor. With everybody out watching the race, and his satellite phone inches away from his grasp, he is left with no other choice, but to wait for someone to find him by accident. Luckily, the McLeod’s has returned from the race, and are out and about checking fences. The two sisters spot the upturned tractor, and finds Harry lying underneath it. With the satellite phone busted, Tess McLeod rides to Killarney to get help, while Claire stays with the injured man. Thanks to Tess, the Ryan brothers with Terry soon arrive. When the three are busy trying to find a way to lift the tractor, Harry tells his son Alex that he will get Killarney if he somehow does not survive the ordeal. However, later when only Nick and Claire are present, he changes his mind. With Claire as his witness, he tells them that he wants both sons to get Killarney. Meanwhile, Tess is still in the house with Liz who appears to be so distraught, and is on the verge of losing her mind. The recent incident reminded her of the past when Nick had his accident. She inadvertently tells Tess that Harry could have prevented the accident, since somebody from the rodeo had called to inform him that his under-aged sons had signed-up for the bull riding competition. In fact, he could have told the rodeo that his sons did not have his permission, but Harry who wanted to teach his sons a lesson decided to see for themselves the consequences of their actions. However, it was a lesson that the Ryan’s painfully learned, and where all of them had to suffer especially Nick who almost lost his life.

Harry’s condition worsens, and he loses consciousness. Luckily, Terry arrives with the tractor, and Alex in his chopper with the doctor. The physician informs them that Harry is only suffering from a broken leg, and a deflated lung due to a broken rib -- all of which are not fatal. Upon receiving the call updating her that Harry is out of danger, Liz Ryan regains her composure, and warns Tess to keep their previous conversation among themselves. Tess agrees, and drives Liz to the scene of the accident where the paramedics have arrived, and are preparing to bring him to the hospital.

It is not only Liz who was reminded of a terrible past incident, as Claire too had painfully recalled the time his father suffered a heart attack, and she was not there to come to his aid. Tess finds her by their father’s grave where she tells to her sister the truth about the rodeo accident. Claire McLeod is in utter disbelief to learn that Harry Ryan was really to blame for Nick’s accident, and not Alex. Having promised Liz Ryan to keep the secret between them, Tess begs her sister not to let the Ryan brothers learn of the despicable truth, but Claire believes that Alex who has been taking the blame all these years has the right to know. She rushes to Killarney when she meets Alex by the road. However, seeing that the ordeal had softened his heart in a way that Alex now sees his father at a better light, Claire could not bring herself to divulge to him the awful truth.

Meanwhile, news about Max Martin leaving Meg Fountain his prized rooster came buzzing around town. The reason why the man would name her in his will escapes them, but everybody has their own theory. One of which, is that Meg had an affair with the man. Having heard the gossip about his lover, Terry Dodge becomes upset, and confronts Meg in an attempt to confirm the rumors. However, Meg has become equally upset at him for his lack of trust. Her fury reaches its height when she finds the prized rooster lying dead on the veggie patch. After hearing Terry threaten the rooster after it attacked him on his last visit to Meg, she is convinced that only he could do such a thing. Wasting no time, Meg arranges to meet Terry by the fence that divides Killarney from Drovers Run, and accuses him of taking his jealous rage on a poor defenseless rooster. Terry denies killing the rooster, which by the way attacked him first, but Meg hears nothing of it, and she breaks off her relationship with him. The poor man tries to woo her back, but she is unyielding given her utter dislike at his dishonesty. However, Jodi made her realize that Terry might just be telling the truth, and she was right. The person who strangled the prized rooster is in fact Max Martin’s widow -- Beth. Outraged at the rumors she heard about Meg having a fling with her husband, Beth confessed to taking out her rage at the poor animal. Meg makes it clear to the jealous, grieving widow that she did not have an affair with Max, and that the only probable reason why he left him the rooster is because she at one point had helped him choose the winning numbers for the chook raffle. Max Martin never won anything aside from the frozen chook he won at the raffle, and the blue ribbons for his prized rooster. Meg reckons that Max had never forgotten that one time she had helped him win that the man had generously decided to leave her something. With the real chook killer unmasked, Meg and Terry are back together, and what better way to celebrate, but to have the dead rooster for dinner. Terry squirms in disgust upon learning this, but Meg laughs as she tells him that it’s really rabbit.

With Harry Ryan back in Killarney, Claire McLeod forces her sister to do what good neighbors are supposed to. Tess who after learning of the man’s secret hesitantly accompanies her sister to visit Harry. Claire is reminded all too soon what a bastard Harry Ryan is. This when Harry tells her that he had once again changed his mind, and has decided to revert back to his original plan to leave all of Killarney only to Alex. Acting like a good friend, Claire confronts Nick of the news that his father is not keeping his word, and that he once again is not leaving him half of Killarney. This is devastating news for Nick who has changed his plans of going out on his own to help run his family’s farm. Apparently, his father knew of the job that was offered to him. Harry only told Nick that he would inherit part of Killarney to keep him from leaving. Embarrassed at having been fooled by his own father, Nick assures Claire that his father’s plan is what it should be. However, his actions proved otherwise. Thanks to his friend, Nick once again takes control of his life, since he sure cannot count on his father’s inheritance. He leaves Killarney for the city to take care of some business.

Learning the lies, and the family problems the Ryan’s face, Claire comes to a realization that the McLeods are a lot better than other people. She confesses to her sister of her outrage at finding out that their father had left half of Drovers Run to Tess who has not set foot, and had nothing to do with the farm for years. However, now she understands that her father’s wish is fair and just. Given this insight, Claire pulls out the ill-gotten trophy she won from the hay bale race, and puts it alongside the other trophies she rightfully won. She reckons that cheating at a silly game does not amount to the devious things other people have done.


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