'Home Fires' Recap: Hanging off a Cliff

Daniel Hautzinger
MIKE NOBLE as Spencer and OLIVER NELSON as Noah Lakin in 'Home Fires.' Photo: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECE
Photo: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECE

Previous episodes of Home Fires can be streamed here.

Like any episodic drama, Home Fires loves its cliffhangers. This is a problem when a show is abruptly cancelled after a season has already been filmed, as Home Fires was. It means the hanger is left dangling on a cliff, never to fall or be rescued, in unresolved limbo forever.

But first the events that led to this climax. Sarah is continuing to house the deserter she stumbled upon at Steph’s farm. This leads to some awkwardness when Nick comes to ask her for advice about the missing airman, all while the man in question hides upstairs. Sarah assuages Nick’s guilt, learns that it would be best for the soldier to turn himself in, and rushes Nick out of the house so she can go to the Women’s Institute planning committee for the wedding of Teresa and Nick.

Leanne Best as Teresa Fenchurch in 'Home Fires.' Photo: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECEPhoto: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECE At that meeting, doubt’s insidious shadow begins to creep over Teresa as the married women (other than Pat) explain their utmost confidence that their husband was the only partner for them. The marital preparations then place Sarah in a dangerous situation once again, as Steph asks to walk her home and pick up a tablecloth for the ceremony.

When the two women reach the vicarage, Steph spots a movement at the window and Sarah is forced to explain. Astounded by Sarah’s audacity and fearing for her friend’s safety, Steph promptly telephones Nick to inform him of the deserter’s location. Attempting to avoid further exposure, Sarah moves the deserter to the church. But as she leaves, Nick pulls up, outraged by her concealment of the truth and vowing that he will never trust her again. After a tense standoff, the deserter decides to give himself up, thus mitigating the consequences for himself.

Francesca Annis as Joyce Cameron in 'Home Fires.' Photo: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECEPhoto: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECE While the young airman has managed to avoid severe repercussions, the consequences of the Barden factory’s association with the criminal Lyons brothers continue to worsen. Despite her innocence, Frances faults herself and fears imprisonment. Ashamed of her complicity, Alison admits her knowledge of the government investigation to Frances. Frances reprises Nick’s denunciation of Sarah and furiously condemns Alison, blaming the permanent closure of the factory on her. Although Frances has escaped jail, she has lost everything.

Or maybe not quite everything. Peter’s illegitimate son Noah continues to reside at Frances’s home, but she avoids him as much as possible, leaving his care to Claire and Spencer. However, Frances is forced to spend time with the boy when those two leave Great Paxford on a weekend trip. Joyce chooses this weekend to call on Frances with a gift for Noah.

Joyce’s curiosity about the boy was piqued when she learned from Spencer that Frances was neglecting him. Searching for more information, she thumbed through the notebook of overheard conversations that she confiscated from Jenny and discerned the truth about Noah’s parentage. To help the childless Frances, Joyce gives her friend her own son’s tin soldiers for Noah to play with, offering implicit advice regarding the boy. Following this exchange, Frances begins to open her heart to Noah.

Meanwhile, Pat is hardening her heart to Bob. He is becoming ever more tyrannical, dictating what she can read and do with her time. Even worse, he has interrupted communication between her and her lover by snatching Marek’s letter from the couple’s hidden transfer point before Pat is able to get to it. When Pat’s sense of injustice finally boils over and she announces that she is leaving him, Bob reveals the contents of Marek’s last note: the Czechs are deploying.

Claire Rushbrook as Pat Simms in 'Home Fires.' Photo: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECEPhoto: iTV Studios and MASTERPIECE This whole scene goes off at the reception for Teresa’s wedding. Teresa has gone through with the marriage, in spite of a hint-laden warning from a female pilot about searching for normalcy by marrying Nick. Another momentous occurrence happens at the wedding, aside from Teresa’s capitulation to the sexual mores of the time: Miriam goes into labor. (Oh, and her son David gets hit on.)

As Dr. Campbell – who has lately been having problems with his memory – leads Miriam’s birth and Bryn waits in the front room, the butcher spots an ominously low fighter plane heading towards him, spewing flame and smoke. In her first shift as a WAAF radio operator, Jenny frantically tries to establish contact with the pilot. Jenny and David watch the plane drop lower and lower from the observation corps tower. Pat rushes to meet Marek. And the plane crashes into a house as a baby cries. Did it hit the surgery? Do Dr. Campbell, Bryn, Miriam, and her new child survive the accident?

We’ll be on that cliff forever.

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