The final seven episodes of the second series of The Secret Life of Us has arrived on another finely tuned DVD, hosting seven superb episodes, as well as an added bonus! Like the final episodes of the first series, the tears will come -so keep the Kleenex handy. These episodes deal with some of the more sensitive issues about relationships including friendships, lovers and ex-lover’s brothers.
For those of you who have just joined us, who wants to see what happened in the first 15 episodes? Thought so, so here we go:
Will’s (Joel Edgerton) departure has left an empty room in Miranda’s apartment which is filled by newcomer Christian (Michael Dorman); Kelly (Deborah Mailman) and Nathan (Todd MacDonald) are facing religious issues in their relationship as things start to become serious; Alex (Claudia Karvan) had an abortion after becoming pregnant with Rex (Vince Colosimo); Gab (Sybilla Budd) and Dominic (Jacek Koman) are still at it, yet Gab is sick of being the “other woman”; Evan (Samuel Johnson) is going for it with journalist Jemima (Diana Glenn); Ritchie (Spencer McLaren) is starting to explore the gay world and realises its more than he bargained for; Jason (Damian De Montemas) is still coming to terms with Caitlin’s departure with baby Angus; and Simon (David Tredinnick) is still in charge of the Fu bar. Yes, this still hasn’t changed...
Just for those who haven’t seen the series before, the following plot synopses do contain slight plot spoilers so, read on at your own risk...
Episode 16: The Great Divide
"The great divide" is formed between the different couples of the series, including an encounter with Alex and Christian. Evan, being the arsehole that he is, decides to break up with Jemima the only way he knows how – by sleeping with another woman and making it the woman's job to break it off. Gab and Dom finally reach the point of no return, and realise it's not as perfect as they thought it was. Kelly and Nathan have the pleasure of meeting the parents which then causes further strain on their relationship.
Episode 17: Sweet Revenge
Ah, revenge, the most entertaining thing that on-lookers can watch. A series of vengeful acts occur, with interesting consequences and many “why didn’t I think of that?” moments. Various acts occur between Evan and Jemima, Gab and Dom, Miranda and the film industry plus Alex and the Creepy Guy.
Episode 18: Signs of Life
This episode is scary for a few reasons. Number one, it is talking about looking out for signs in your every day life that alter the way things happen (fate if you like). OK, "where’s the scary part in that?" you say. Well, this episode is a sign of life for me. I was at my partner’s parents place watching the first 20 minutes at which time we had to leave without seeing the ending. Later that evening he was no longer my partner, as I had been let go. OK, again, you say “so what?” Well, this episode focuses on Kelly, and the signs in her life. Nathan and Kelly’s relationship finally reaches its climax which still makes some of us reach for the tissue box even after so many months. All the emotions, feelings, thoughts and actions that Kelly goes through many of us will be able to relate to. How freaky is that? OK well that’s the scary reason but it’s pretty freaky – talking about signs of life with an episode about breaking up and then low and behold, it happens to me! But anyway... Other signs throughout this episode include Simon and Dermot, the Irish guy, who falls for Simon but pushes strain on Ritchie and Simon as Dermot is fixated on Ritchie as he is the TV soap actor. Do you get that? Well, watch the episode and it will make sense. Evan needs inspiration for his next novel, and what better place than Alcoholics Anonymous?
Episode 19: The Searchers
We see Evan in a mysterious world where he is bumping into all of his old flames, including Carmen from Series 1, Jemima and Lauren as well as a host of others whom he can’t even remember. Again, it is all about signs.
Episode 20: Walpurgisnacht
This is the party to end all parties, and looks more like a rave. Sadly, no one can handle the rave experience like Doug Liman in Go, but director Daniel Nettheim still gives it a bloody good shot. Under the influence of many substances including alcohol, drugs and of course that magical natural drug called lurve, something is bound to happen to everyone. Christian has had one too many and starts to wander around St. Kilda in the middle of the night to find golf balls, and Kelly and Miranda molest (hey, it’s the best word) Will upon his temporary return in a threesome. Alex is being hit upon by sleaze and jailbird Hoop. Jason is the only one still with it (well partially at least), and he confesses his love to Gab. Ritchie and Nick (he’s the really sweet guy who is destined to be with super cool guy Ritchie) hit it off but never actually make it home as this evil jealous brother is here to rear his ugly head and beats (and kicks) the living shit out of Ritchie for being gay. Miranda finally has some success in her life and Nathan is seen by Alex getting sucked off by another woman. This is one hell of a party that leaves an impression on everyone.
Episode 21: Do the Right Thing
Alex and Evan’s flirtation continues with secrets being revealed, as well as Nathan’s encounter at the party. Dom is back once again with Gab, and she suddenly remembers what Jason said to her at the party. But the divorce papers have come through and it’s official. They have decided to do the right thing.
Episode 22: “Truth Is Beautiful, Without Doubt; So Are Lies” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The grand finale of the second series is studded with special cast members including Jane Hall (from All Together Now) and the return of Vince Colosimo (Hall's real life partner). The truth is revealed about many of the characters including Christian’s medical history, Rex’s love, Rex’s return, Evan’s life, Ritchie’s life, Miranda’s farewell and Will’s feelings about Ritchie. This finale wraps up the second series, brings these nine friends together and completes another chapter about the secret lives of us.
Presented in the anamorphically enhanced aspect of 1.78:1, the original televised ratio, The Secret Life Of Us unfolds beautifully on screen.
Colours are rich and vibrant, with a lifelike appearance to the skin tones. As with the previous discs in the series, the colours can be slightly over-saturated at times, but this set of discs is by far the nicest. Blacks are solid and deep, and shadow detail is adequate. Episode 20, Walpurgisnacht, tackles the difficult filming conditions of low light, flashing lights and smoky interiors, and the transfer flies boldly through all of these obstacles.
The odd compression artefact can be seen, most notably during Episode 20, with one or two smaller sightings through the other episodes. The opening credits still suffer from fine compression-related artefacts, and a heavy wash of grain. Grain is also visible throughout all the episodes, with the darker scenes taking a larger serve. The odd one or two film artefacts whiz past and are not a distraction at all, showing the high quality of film stock.
Once again, for the third time, posterisation is the most common of artefacts, with one or two cases being fairly ‘out-there.’ Generally this isn’t a problem, but the cases that stand out really do scream at you.
Both discs are dual layered, with the layer change on the first being well hidden between episodes, while disc two’s is 35 seconds into Episode 20. Subtitles are not included on the disc, but would have been a handy addition during some of the more muffled dialogue.