New challenges arise for docs in a lather
THE good news about this episode, Sins of the Past , is that it is a great deal better than last week’s, in which not even the very talented John Waters could look convinced about as phony a cliff-side rescue as viewers could have witnessed. Yes, we understand that All Saints now has a medical response unit, and with it apparently unlimited use of a helicopter as well as a wisecracking, heart-ofgold paramedic, Jo ( Mirrah Foulkes). But let’s keep it real. At least they didn’t lower Waters’s Dr Mike Vlasek over the side, which would have been the dizzy limit for everyone.
This week Vlasek, recently dumped by his girlfriend, is very grumpy. But his Billy Goat Gruff routine is entirely eclipsed by the show returning to what it does so well — dishing up gripping drama. Called to a farm, the team finds a young man with his arm caught in machinery. Nothing unbelievable in that accident; you should avert your gaze.
Complications arise when it transpires the lad is chief nurse Gabrielle Jaeger’s young brother Ben, tended by his shocked father, Russell ( John Sheerin). Russell literally goes for the throat when he spies chopper team member Dr Steve Taylor ( Jack Campbell), the cad who broke his daughter’s heart. With Ben on the way to hospital, Steve elects to stay with the furious father, who has developed angina.
At the hospital, the others grapple with unexplained kidney damage and back pain in a woman whose husband seems very edgy. Absurdity is provided by Bart ( Andrew Supanz) who, although a genius in matters medical, is bafflingly unaware that he fancies nurse Amy Fielding ( Alix Bidstrup) something rotten.
A dose of heartache: John Waters plays Dr Mike Vlasek in sharper, although clearly it is not going to be plain sailing, especially because she is Dr Frank Campion’s niece. John Howard’s Campion is as watchable as ever, even when he is only lumbering through the background. Tonight he crops up in each of the storylines as a binding element.
If All Saints is one of those good things that must come to an end, we must hope that there is more for him to do sometime soon, because he is without doubt its most accomplished actor, which is saying something, given the calibre of the cast.
Judith McGrath as Yvonne Ryan is always good and Virginia Gay as Gabrielle is gaining depth and interest. Final plaudits go to her on-screen father in this episode, who, between gritted teeth and worsening chest pain, spells out for Steve what parents go through when romance fails. ‘‘ You took away my bright, shining girl and sent her back different.’’