Monday, January 3, 2011

AUS Television: Rake, Episode 1.8 "R vs. Corella"

Season One, Episode Eight, R vs. Corella
Original Air Date:  December 23, 2010

When the body of a murdered man is discovered in a construction area thanks to a blown water main, Mick Corella is arrested and charged with the murder.  Mick wants Cleaver to defend him and sweetens the pot for Cleave by offering to make his $80,000 worth of gambling debts disappear and even give him a $25,000 line of credit.  Missy confesses her past to David with disastrous results.  Barney and Scarlett come to an understanding.  It's time for Cleaver to pay the piper in his tax case but things take a surprising twist.

The action (no pun intended) starts at "a social gathering" seven months ago.  Mick Corella (Richard Carter) is holding a swingers party.  At the party, his wife, Kirsty (Robyn Malcolm) sees an old acquaintance, Nigel Turner (Paul Gleeson).  The two strike up a casual  conversation (while still seeing to their current partners, of course).  It's clear Kirsty has had feelings for Nigel in the past, and still does.  Kirsty introduces Nigel to Mick and the two men even shake hands.  Nigel suggests he and Kirsty might be able to get together later to catch up on old times but she declines.  Later, in the kitchen, once they are no longer attending to anyone at the party, Kirsty and Nigel again meet and continue talking.  Nigel notices that Mick has an eye on them and the two old friends stop talking until he leaves.  Kirsty then tells Nigel she would like to catch up and gives him a number where he can reach her.

Fast forward seven months later.  A water main blows up in the area where a car park is being extended and a body is found.  The body of Nigel Turner.  A shopping receipt was left in a bag found with the body giving the police a time and date when the body was buried. 

Cleaver, in dire straits over his tax issues, is rushing to prepare documents (with a fudged number and bit of information here and there) for his next court date with the help of Fuzz and Nicole.  Fuzz is still a bit down over his break up with Fiona.  Wendy arrives to pick him up and Cleaver takes the opportunity to ask her for money because he's pretty sure, in the range of 100% and upward, that they will be finding against him in his tax case.  He wants a second mortgage for the house Wendy lives in and says he will pay the bill for it.  Wendy is against this vehemently and is outraged when he tells her he's already spoken to the bank.  She accuses him of being the "original butterfly that is the cause of every bit of chaos on the planet".

David speaks before the citizens of Huntley with Missy looking on.  He gives a positive political speech promising to do everything in his power for them and expressing his excitement and gratitude for their support.  Once everyone has gone, he tells Missy he's ruined and has destroyed his life.  He's given up 70% of his income, Joe is dead, the Premiere is gone and he has no supporters inside the party.  He will be a back-bencher in state Parliament until he dies.  When he tells her all he has left to hold onto his her, she is quiet for a moment then tells him the complete truth about herself including her real name and that she used to be a prostitute.  He isn't nearly as understanding as she would have hoped and tells her he'd like her to go.

Mick denies knowing Nigel Tanner when he is questioned by the police.  Barney arrives a bit late and tells Mick he isn't obliged to answer any questions but Mick dryly says he's just having a friendly conversation with Bill Maraco (Damon Herriman) and introduces the two.  Mick admits his company poured concrete at the location Nigel's body was found but denies the murder.  Bill informs him they found traces of his DNA on Nigel's body and that he is being arrested on murder charges.  Mick requests a private word with Barney.  Once alone, he orders Barney to get him Cleaver and to get him out of the mess he's in.  Barney tells Mick he doesn't work with Cleaver anymore as a matter of principal.  Mick reminds him how much business he steered his way last year and Barney backs down.

Missy arrives at David's to pick up a few things and they end up arguing about her past.  He ends up putting two and two together about Missy and Joe Sandilands and even Missy and Cleaver.  He's probably most angry about her involvement with Cleaver.

The next morning, at the tax hearing, David tells Cleaver that "it ends today".  David pulls out all the stops against Cleaver.  He brings in a witness with evidence that Cleaver cannot stumble up in her testimony or cast doubt upon.  Throughout the testimony, David stares at Cleaver with daggers in his eyes.  The judge isn't nearly as lenient with Cleaver as he has been in the past.  Things are looking very grim for our hero, indeed.  The agitated judge isn't pleased with Cleaver and is ready to hand down a judgment against him when he has a heart attack and dies there at the bench.  As David and Cleave are watching the judge's body being wheeled out of the courtroom, David says he knows Cleaver caused the judge's death.  David vows to thrash Cleaver but Cleave shrugs it off saying he has his work cut out for him to do that from the Parliament back-benches.

As Cleaver is looking over the court transcripts of his tax case and wondering about a three week law trip to Bermagui with a deduction of $3,120 he knows he didn't claim, Missy walks up and sits down next to him.  He finds other deductions in Bermagui that are a mystery to him as he's never even been to Bermagui.  He called her for a meeting to tell her he can't stay mad at her and he wants the healing to begin.  He can overlook every single thing except why she felt she needed to lie to him of all people.  She wanted to come from someplace other than where she did but he insists she should live an authentic life, as he does, for good or bad.  He tells her she should have given him a chance because he would have loved her with all the feebleness of his heart and he still does.  She tells him that she told David the truth and they split because of it.  She leaves him with a kiss telling him to call her when it's "bin night".

Cleave arrives at the office to find Nicole pushing boxes of papers to their new temporary office and asks her why she embezzled around $90,000 from him over the course of eight years.  She doesn't deny in the least that she took money from him arguing that he would have just wasted the money anyway and she did something good with it.  She saved some and used the rest to build a house for her and her fiance, Bevan, in Bermagui.

Barney and Scarlett meet with their lawyers regarding their divorce.  Barney will be expected to compensate Scarlett for any interest she has in their home, the figures of which Barney isn't pleased about and offers to give Scarlett the house and let her pay him the amount instead.  She can't do that because as of twenty minutes past nine that morning she had been suspended for a year because of her breaking the rule against cross-examining a friend (Cleaver).  While both Barney and Scarlett are focusing on Scarlett's current situation, their lawyers are simply interested in how the case changes now that Scarlett has no income. 

Cleaver informs Mick of the reality of the situation he's facing and Mick, in turn, offers to make Cleave's gambling debts disappear and even float him a line of credit if he gets him off the murder charges.  Both Barney and Cleaver agree that the DNA evidence is so strong that even Cleaver, in all his glory and brilliance as a defense attorney, will have trouble getting him clear of that, if he even can.  When asked by Barney where he was when the concrete was being poured, Mick reluctantly tells them he and Kirsty were hosting a "lifestyle party" at his place.  He tells them about Nigel meeting Kirsty then proceeds to tell them how he doesn't do three-ways with another bloke unless his Mrs is filming.  He says Nigel showed up pissed and dangerous at their place and he threw him out.  Nigel came back later when everyone was gone and pulled a knife against him and Kirsty.  They struggled and Nigel fell on his own knife.  He was scared and panicked and didn't want to embarrass Kirsty so he hid the body.  He's certain Kirsty will testify in his behalf as she knew what happened.

Cleaver and Barney can talk amiably about the case but when it goes beyond that, Barney is distant.  He informs Cleaver he and Scarlett are getting a divorce, their house in on the market and that she hasn't got a job thanks to him.  Barney wants to deal directly with Nicole on the case but he can't as Cleaver has sacked her for stealing from him.  Nicole, who is out walking, sees a shadow on the sidewalk and, when she looks up, is struck by a falling gargoyle.

Barney pays a visit or Kirstie Corella who confirms Mick's story.  She's clearly angry.  Barney asks her to tell him how the swinger scene works and she does.  She lists the different kinds of sex that can be had a the swingers parties saying it's "just sex".  Barney doesn't understand how "just sex" can work once two people have invested everything into their marriage and made a commitment to one another.  Surely, having sex with someone else ruins that.  Kirsty softens her attitude a bit and tells him there's one rule that can't be broken:  never get involved.  He asks if she's confident to testify and she once again relates the facts of the case as Mick had told them to Barney and Cleaver.  Barney notices she called Nigel by his first name.

At trial, the jury hears from Bill Maraco and an employee of Nigel Tanner's.  Cleaver is able to establish with Tanner's employee that he was a very different man than the one she claimed to have known because of his swinging lifestyle. 

David accosts Missy wanting to know about her relationship with Cleaver.  He tells her about knowing since he was fifteen he wanted to make a difference and tried to live his life cleanly without any "blots" on his record.  She has made him look like a fool.  She leaves him with kind words about him deserving things to turn around for him.  David then goes to speak with Cleaver and apologizes for his behavior with him outside the courtroom at the tax trial.  They talk quite calmly about Missy who David admits he loves before David once again vows that he will take Cleaver down.

Barney is almost moved out of the house with Scarlett and he says goodnight to his children.  He and Scarlett engage in a little small talk and she invites him to stay for dinner but he declines saying he's catching up with some old friends.  He goes home to his flat to eat a salad alone.

Barney informs Cleaver that Kirstie knew Nigel Turner and they both agree the prosecution would chew her up in a minute.  Barney doesn't want to become as bad as Mick just because they are being paid to defend him.  In court, Cleave calls several witnesses to the stand to confirm Mick's accounting of Nigel's behaviour the night of the murder.  All of the witnesses are clearly influenced by Mick and some even take cues from him during their testimony.  One of the witnesses is Col, Mick's "former" enforcer.  He testifies he felt frightened for his life by Nigel's behaviour. 

Cleave goes to see Nicole in hospital.  He offers her her job back and, when she declines, offers her a 10% raise.  She admits she will still charge things to him when he's not looking.  He reluctantly tells her she can keep pilfering from him but she must cap it at 5%.  She holds out for at least 10%.

That night, Cleave prepares himself a microwave meal and, as he's staring at it, picks up his phone to call Missy telling her it's "bin night".  She arrives with a few bags of belongings and tells him there's a van coming on Monday.  He meant they should talk but she feels they should move in together and sort through everything as they go along.  She laughs at the now-anxious Cleaver letting him know the moving in was a joke.  She tells him she's leaving to trace the steps of her dead non-parents.  He doesn't want her to leave but it's too late.  She's made the plans and decided.  She's leaving that night.  She tells him she's been in love with him long enough to know a commitment from him isn't going to happen.  He offers to come find her in a couple months and will still love her even if she is a completely different person by then.  He gets up to get them a coffee and when he turns around, Missy is gone.

Before court, Cleave asks Mick if he has any aces up his sleeve as his swinging mates aren't cutting it with the jury.  Mick shrugs the jury off.  Cleaver surprises Barney when he calls Kirsty Corella to the stand.  Kirsty re-tells the same story she told to Barney.  Cleaver presses her stressing how Nigel was a venomous madman and bad person and how she loves and adores Mick.  Kirsty becomes emotional and tells Mick Nigel never did anything to him.  She continues telling him, in court, how good Nigel was to her.  She keeps talking despite Cleave trying to end the testimony.  In private, Mick confesses to Cleave and Barney that he did kill Nigel because of how he was "being intimate" with Kirsty. 

Later, as Barney's belongings are being loaded into a moving truck, he and Scarlett begin arguing about what belongs to who.  Barney smashes dishes and tells her she can have everything.  Overcome with emotion, he sits down and, when she goes to him, he asks her if the divorce is what she really wants.  He admits he loves her and the two embrace.

Wendy calls Cleaver over to speak with Fuzz who is sitting in his cupboard.  Cleaver gets in with Fuzz and talks to him.  He tells his son that he is the most special person he knows. 

That night, Col pays Cleaver a visit wanting the $80,000 he owes Mick.  Now that Mick is in prison for murder, Kirsty has taken over the business and she wants Cleave to pay up.  He's still $38,000 in the hole after all Mick's legal fees were taken out so Col is there to give him a beating for the money.  Barney drops by later to find a beaten Cleaver resting on the couch.  Barney pours them a drink and they play Backgammon.  Cleaver, despite his beating and bleeding, is in an up mood when Barney gets up to leave.

The first season of Rake ends on a good note, I think.  It looks like Barney and Cleaver's friendship is back on the road to repair as is Barney and Scarlett's marriage.  It remains to be seen if things will get back to where they were at the start of the season.  Missy, aka Jane, has left leaving Cleave without the woman he loves and his Backgammon partner.  I don't think she'll be able to stay away from Cleave very long, though, do you?

Rake airs each Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (AUS time) on ABC1.
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