Funny thing about final seasons. Here you have a show that’s about to come to an end and all anyone wants to talk about is the future. A Place to Call Home is no different, and in season six a big priority is making sure its characters aren’t just in “a place to call home,” but in a position to live their best lives.
Standing in the way of that in the past was the fact that everyone would end up cooped up at Ash Park, bickering and getting on each other’s nerves. Then (as now) there were other places they could go, like Carolyn’s apartment instead of the Goddard residence or Prudence’s house (both of which shoulder the foot traffic this season). The difference is more people are willing to take advantage of that option this year, and while the result is characters bouncing back and forth, between Sydney and Inverness, it also leaves time for the soul searching that goes on, with everyone from Elizabeth Bligh to Sarah getting in on the introspection.
Having been dealt the heavy blow of her husband’s death last season, Elizabeth is especially lost and unsure of herself and even regresses a little after learning Sarah and George (newly returned from Israel with their son, David) have gotten married, making Sarah the new mistress of Ash Park. Old Elizabeth would’ve never been able to apprehend she might be wrong to feel this way, though, and her journey this year is one of realizing change doesn’t happen in a day but can be done, if she’s committed to the task.
Episode one suffers from showing the show at its two extremes – treacly to begin with, then tragic at the end. You especially have to wonder about the need for tragedy, and putting the character involved through so much heartache. The fact that it happens in the first episode tells you it was intentional. Just as the introduction of Carolyn’s ex-girlfriend is a ticking time bomb, the show has to see the tragedy through, but it doesn’t feel as necessary as some of the other storylines this season, including A Place to Call Home facing its biggest jump the shark moment – how Olivia became the mother of her son, Georgie.
A moment like that is never going to be completely smoothed over, but at least it ends with triumph for Olivia and her personal growth. Sarah has an interesting character arc this season, too, because it’s born from stability. It’s like the cliché about it being too hard to write for a happily, married couple, so you have them get pregnant or get a divorce, or that’s when the show ends. Sarah and George are essentially a happily, married couple but while the show doesn’t center around them until midseason, Sarah gets to deal with some personal problems that have nothing to do with marital issues.
The finale, like the first episode, goes a little too far (telling us what happened to the characters up to their deaths, with exact years) but the season’s focus on going deep rather than starting fires is a commendable one, making A Place to Call Home a show that will be remembered for going out well, not overstaying its welcome.
A Place to Call Home Season 6 is currently streaming on Acorn TV and available on DVD.