If there was a subtitle to this week’s episode of “Single Father”, it would be “The week where reality hit Dave and he got to get mad.” Because it seemed that, beyond the initial shock of Rita’s death, of dealing with multiple grieving kids and meddling people, and finding Lucy’s probable bio father, this episode was where Dave realized how many things were properly messed up, most of all the possibility that not just one of the children he and Rita had raised wasn’t his, but all four.
The episode began where last week’s ended – Dave’s youngest daughter Evie, who had come home ill and was supposed to be asleep when Sarah showed up, walked in on the two of them as they were in bed together for the first time. Definitely a buzzkill for the two of them and probably the sharpest return to reality possible for them. There was a lot of worry about what Evie saw and if she would tell everyone else, although in one of the multiple scenes where it looked like it was about to come out she seemed to just indicate that Sarah liked to “get cuddles”, which is about as much as any parent would want their kid to think about sex at that age, I suspect. So that particular batch of drama was saved for next week, we can presume.
Despite the continued growing of Dave and Sarah’s relationship (more on that in a moment) this week the focus was squarely on Dave’s growing suspicions about Rita’s discovered relationship with Stuart, who had some sort of friends-with-benefits-that-might-include-babymaking relationship with Rita before she met Dave but then started meeting her again periodically some years later.
The second time that Dave met Stuart, it was clear that Dave was very distrustful of both Stuart and what his relationship with Rita actually was. That probably wasn’t helped at all by the fact that as Dave met Stuart’s picture-perfect family (who even had a lovely photo album made to send to Lucy) Stuart, a solicitor, suddenly veered into random nosiness by asking about the compensation proposal by the police for the accident that killed Rita. He suddenly wanted to take over negotiations for a bigger package and subsequently contacted Dave’s present solicitor, Rita’s brother-in-law and Anna’s husband Robin, to kind of strong-arm his way in. It was something that Dave was very opposed to and is yet another hint that Stuart has an agenda beyond knowing his probable kid.
After dealing with another dose of reality – Dave discovers he’s basically broke and that the compensation is something he’s going to have to deal with – he sits down again, cracks open Rita’s diaries and starts comparing dates with entries. Later, after he and Lucy travel to Edinburgh for her to meet Stuart, Sarah pops up and they finally have their proper passionate tumble in a hotel. Afterward Sarah presses him to talk to her about what he’s learned about Stuart and Rita, leading Dave to finally spill forth all of the information he’s learned about them as well as what he believes from reading Rita’s diary – that since Rita had told him Lucy was the result of a one-night-stand and never even hinted at remaining in contact with Stuart, she had continued a sexual relationship with him and possibly others, and that Dave is not actually the father of her other three children. Apparently the children’s probable conception dates line up with diary entries where Dave was out of town and Rita mentioned seeing Stuart.
Hearing this upset Sarah and resulted in her fleeing, but not necessarily because of Dave’s anger or her disbelieving him. It was more of a situation where her feelings mirrored mine of last week’s to an extent – Dave met Stuart, found out that Rita had possibly been cheating on him and then immediately jumped into bed with Sarah. She felt that Dave’s feelings were less genuine passion towards her than belated revenge against Rita.
After everyone returned to Glasgow, Sarah’s partner Matt – who always seemed slightly ambivalent about Sarah’s closeness to Dave, Rita and their kids even from the beginning – surprised her with a plan to move away from Glasgow. She then proceeds to dump him. This should probably elicit some pity for clueless Matt, but he honestly only seemed to be a written-in plot point more than someone to care about.
After that she meets Dave, who had met her in the schoolyard telling her that he loved her and to meet him in a pub that night, and says that she doesn’t believe Rita cheated on him, he should get DNA testing on his kids to put all of his anger and suspicions to rest, and that the only way that the two of them could be together is to go public with a clean slate. Go, Sarah. As much as she loves Rita (and openly talks about her guilt concerning her relationship with her best friend’s partner) she doesn’t want to be a replacement but loved on new terms.
As much as I felt their relationship was rushed last week, it’s clear that the reality of Sarah is truly the glue holding Dave together in a world that doesn’t seem quite true to him otherwise right now. It would be hard not to root for them in the end. And with another shock at the end – that Dave’s new Stuart-arranged solicitor says he has no claim to the other three children because Rita and Dave never married. Do they not have civil partnerships in Scotland? Any solicitors want to step in and clarify what this means for how the compensation is distributed and if this is possibly the angle that Stuart was going for all along?
From the preview of next week, Dave has to deal with the prospect of Lucy being adopted by Stuart and also the results of DNA tests on the other three children. And it also looks like Sarah and Dave’s relationship will become known (I’ve read a preview on all of that, but I don’t want to spoil anyone.) It’s certainly going to be a great end to the show, and it’s a shame that they only did four weeks. I can’t say this is the easiest show to watch, but it’s certainly realistic and gripping drama.