1.2: Ducks on the Pond
It's shearing time! And in typical Drovers Run fashion they aren't exactly on the ball. Claire et al have a weekend to shear all the sheep on the station or they'll miss the truck or sale or whatever. In order to get the sheep sheared they've hired a few professionals, headed up by Marty, who has a history of sorts with Claire.
Marty doesn't exactly have what one would call strict hiring practices, and he's hired on an ex-con that has all of the girls afraid when they hear the rumor at the ex-con's family has reportedly disappeared. Not unexpectedly, everyone starts making up stories about how the guy killed his family while they all stare at him as he dutifully goes about shearing and minding his own business. Seriously, Drovers Run girls, top acting like twelve year olds.
This is sort of a silly pseudo thriller episode, which in my opinion is not a good choice for second episode of the series. You should still be establishing characters and story at this point, not throwing everyone into a mock horror movie. Anyway, because the ex-con is out there being an ex-con who may or may not have killed his family, Tess gets into a conversation with Claire about defending themselves and what constitutes the use of defense. Claire feels it's necessary to shoot anyone who happens to walk into her house uninvited, and Tess isn't exactly on board with that line of thought, but I guess she has no room to argue what with the ex-con and all.
During the night, Tess does another accidental viewing of things she shouldn't be viewing, seeing the ex-con getting into a fight with one of the other shearers. The other shearer doesn't appear for work in the morning, giving everyone reason to believe that he's dead in a ditch somewhere. Then Claire and Marty get into a sheep shearing contest, and Claire wins, which is sort of like a kick to the balls for Marty. In retaliation, Marty insists that Claire take him on as manager for Drovers Run and Claire insists that she's in no position to hire him (seeing as how she has no money to really pay him) and Marty goes balistic and hauls ass out of there, taking the shearers with them. So now the girls don't have to worry about the ex-con and having to go through more slowmo sequences involving the shearers ogling them. Now they just have to work around the clock to shear the rest of the sheep by themselves.
Only then the ex-con returns, scaring everyone out of their little minds. But he insists that Marty was wrong to just leave, and he wants to help finish with the sheep, i.e. he does not want to murder them. Everyone is relieved, and then the ex-con reveals his deep secret to Tess, head author of all the crazy stories we've been hearing about him since the beginning of the episode. The ex-con is GAY, you guys. That is why his family left him. Apparently he'd be more accepted in the city, but what would he do? Gayness is not a profession, after all. So there you have it. Maybe it's just me, but from this episode I got the distinct impression that being gay is the same as being a nice possible murderer in Australia.
Oh, and the other shearer isn't dead in a ditch. They just got into an argument. One immediately wonders what their argument was about, as it's suggested this guy is off running through the hills screaming about how gay the ex-con is...so...yeah.
Also, Tess has dreams, you guys. She wants to own a cafe, and considers selling off a bit of Drovers Run to do it before Claire finds out and hacks her dream to bits by guilt tripping her during a lovely gallop over the property. Claire had her first kiss by this stream, Tess. How can you not think that's important? Tess dutifully calls her lawyer and tells him to hold off on her dreams for a bit longer. Claire's dreams are more important for the time being, and Tess still has to prove herself worthy of being Claire's long lost sister.
And then Claire realizes that the sale/truck/whatever isn't until next week, making all their hard work pointless. Go Claire!
Next up on McLeod's Daughters: a good old fashioned, Australianized rodeo in which Australians line dance! And they wear those crazy western shirts and everything.