TV Review: Rake – Season 3, Episode 8 (Australia, 2014)

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This week was the final episode of RAKE Season Three and it is well worth seeing if you suspect, as I do, that a fourth season might not happen. It’s not necessarily that the show should end, but that this finale leaves so few questions unanswered that if it did, nobody would feel cheated. That’s almost the polar opposite to last season’s finale, which left us in a state of complete upheaval. (Were they really going to send Cleaver to gaol? Could they do that? Surely not!)

Things get off to a ridiculous start when Cleaver gets into a tussle with a corporate type over who gets to press the pedestrian crossing button. The outcome is that the corporate type receives a head wound that leaves him with amnesia, which is serious if Cleaver gets caught, but also potentially quite handy, since the victim no longer recognises his assailant.

In legal land, things take an interesting turn in the Wendon/Bligh Phillips slush-fund case, when it is revealed that Wendon’s stepson, Paul, sent a potentially incriminating group email some weeks back. Cleaver and David Potter make peace long enough to use the mysterious email to their own legal and political advantage. Cleaver and Barney make it their mission to bring Tikki and all her minions down.

Cleaver’s personal life reaches a satisfactory, though perhaps not altogether satisfying conclusion in this episode. Stories are wrapped up nicely for most of the characters that we have spent time with throughout Season 3. Any questions we might have about Felicity, Wendy, Fuzz and Missy are adequately handled. And the show really nails a ‘sailing into the sunset’ moment!

How satisfying is this finale to a devoted RAKE fan? Not overly so. Mostly because it’s a little too squeaky clean. Then again, this season has been a lot squeakier, far less wittily risqué than previous seasons. There are probably other storylines that could be created in future seasons, but how much more do we need to know? It seems many of the characters have run their natural course.

If this is the end of RAKE, then it’s very sad and we will miss it. The show has done so much for quality television in Australia. If it’s not the end, then a fourth season would need to do something pretty spectacular. It would require a new set of rules and regulations and a whole new group of characters on the show. Having said that, we shouldn’t underestimate Cleaver’s ability to cock up even the happiest of endings. He reminds Barney (and us): ‘Don’t think for a minute that God wants me to be successful and/or happy mate.’ Maybe, just maybe, the biggest plot twists still lie ahead.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Rake screened Sunday nights at 8.30pm on ABC1 and you can watch the whole season on iView.