1.08 Sins of the Fathers by Peter Pinney
Summary: Violet's organising a fancy dress party. A woman with airs shows up at a clinic with her pregnant niece, but something seems fishy. As it turns out, the pregnant young woman isn't a niece at all, but a woman who has got paid to be a surrogate mother to a childless couple. The would-be father actually did the deed himself, rather than insemanating her. They didn't go for an adoption because "people would talk". In Coopers Crossing, a mum with a whole horde of unruly children has come to give birth to yet another one, and the townsfolk have to look after the five kids she's brought with her. When babysitting, Ron shows them his own special crackers, and in a bid to save the youngest child from getting blown up by one, he throws himself over the home-made bomb as it explodes, rendering him unconscious and badly injured. After giving birth, the surrogate mum decides to take the baby and run, but eventually is persuaded to see reason and hand the baby over to his father. The fancy dress party goes ahead like planned, and everyone says good-bye to Ron, who is flown to Sydney for special treatment.
Recurring characters: Gibbo, Tom, Chris, Violet, Jack, Joe, Ron, Sharon, Hurtle, Kate, Vic and Nance, Frank, Matron Ingrid Fisher.
My first thought when seeing the "niece" here is to exclaim "OMG it's Paula!" because the part is played by Vikki Blanche, who'll come back in a few series' time.
The whole idea of how the surrogate pregnancy comes about is squicky, because the wife told her husband to go have sex with some other woman in order to bring about a baby that would be his biologically. What's wrong with turkey basters? How would it make you feel to have sex with some random bloke just to get pregnant with his wife's baby? It would creep me out completely.
For that matter, they're afraid people would talk if they adopted? Like they're not going to talk about THIS?! Especially since it comes out, like secrets have a tendency to do in Coopers Crossing. Some people.
As a counterpoint to the desperate barren woman, there's the woman who keeps breeding like a rabbit. I personally don't have an opinion on people having nine children, as long as it's of their own choice and because they love children (as opposed to "yay, more benefits for us!"), and they have time, love and money to look after them all properly. I might find it odd to want to have that many, but I won't argue. The thing is, the kids she's got are all ill-mannered brats! They might be okay to have running amok out on a homestead somewhere, but in town, they stick out like a sore thumb and are a nuisance to everyone.
When they're left to their own devices in the garage and told they can put on a film, of course they go for the top shelf, hidden-away stuff kids aren't supposed to watch ... and have a good giggle about it too.
Ron, bless him, is really not a good babysitter. Because the kids insist on setting off firecrackers, he has the brilliant idea to show them his own homemade firecrackers ... or "bombs", rather. You can sense it ending badly as soon as he mentions it. And, of course, he lights the fuse and tells the kids to back away - without first having counted to make sure they were all there. What happens? The youngest is idly walking by and when told to run, just stops and looks like a deer in headlights. "Whu?" And, of course, Ron leaps over, shoves the kid to one side and gets hit full blast. Well done, Ron. At least you were a hero for saving a child, but you're still an idiot for putting them (and yourself) in harms way to begin with.
The really touching thing is how Hurtle is by Ron's side at the hospital, while Ron's in a coma. He even talks Violet into going ahead with the fancy dress party, as it's what Ron would've wanted if he was awake. Those two blokes are great mates, even if they're not always good at displaying it.
The fancy dress party has a prize for best costume, and who wins? Anthony and Cleopatra ... or rather, Tom and Chris. After their victory kiss, if they weren't talking already, they sure as hell will now!