The jury don’t seem to be working too hard in the deliberation room. There’s lots of chat about family and moaning about being denied internet access. There’s one smart bloke and one overbearing woman. “I just got so confused,” says one of the jurors. The posh bloke (a housing association chief exec) puts himself forward as chairman. The overbearing woman tries to thwart him. It seems to take ages. Get on with it!!!

    Outside the court… “Tony, are you going to sit down?” “I don’t think I can.” Tony and Pat are fretting. Optimistically, he’s worried about the baby seat for the car.

    Back in the jury room, there’s no real consensus. Not so much twelve angry men as eleven confused yokels. The overbearing woman seems to be on Helen’s side. Loads of others aren’t. There’s a juror who sounds awfully familiar, somehow… It’s a very fractured debate, until finally they start to go through the evidence piece by piece. ‘The familiar juror’ may have some hidden agenda as he definitely sounds familiar. Maybe if he emitted a long, long scream, it would help me remember who he really is. Denis, a juror, explodes in a rage of weird Brexit-inspired fury – “Surely, we’re not going to let her get away with this?”

    Back in the cells, Helen is cuddling Jack and seems calm. Anna is worried “Helen, I’ve done my best for you, you know that.” Helen is savouring every moment with Jack, in case he’s taken away.

    The jury room is still in a ferment. No real decision has been made. There are rows and a Muslim woman juror is given some vaguely racist abuse from juror Lisa. “Just a sort of bigoted woman,” says another juror, perhaps a former Prime Minister. The overbearing woman hints that she makes hash cookies. Groovy. After more aimless chat, there’s still no consensus. They call the judge for help, who says that the court will accept a ten to one majority verdict. They return to the jury room and one of the jurors tells a story about a friend who escaped an abusive relationship which he feels mirrors the Helen/Dark Lord marriage. It seems to be key to their discussions and focuses them all a little. The overbearing woman tries to bring them all together, but it ends in a huge fight. Juror Lisa explodes again and gets very upset. It gets aimless again and there doesn’t seem to be any way that these divisive and angry people will ever reach a verdict. It becomes a babble of voices, rising in anger and frustration. Jackie, the overbearing woman, cuts through the bullshit and brings them into focus about the facts about the Evil One. “No one else is being fooled by this, are they?” scoffs Tristan. “You just want to blame him because he’s a man,” says a bitter divorcee. On and on. On and on.

    The jury are recalled, finally, with a verdict. Helen is cleared of all charges. “Not guilty.” “Not guilty.” Helen is discharged. Pat and Tony are overjoyed. “Thank you, Anna.” “I just hope she can forgive me,” worries Pat. The Dark Lord and Cruella scarper. Helen arrives, clutching the Half-Dark Child. “Hi, Dad – how are you? Say hello to your granddad, Jack. Jack, this is granny.” “This is a fresh start for all of us.” There are a lot of tears (including mine). The Dark Lord materialises from nowhere and harasses Helen when she is alone. She is strong and resolute. “The whole world knows what you are now, I’m free.” He slithers away. Pat and Tony arrive back. ‘Take me home.”

    The next morning, at Bridge Farm, Kirsty is with Helen and Jack. Helen is waiting for the Synthetic Child to return from the clutches of the Evil One. What will happen to THAT arrangement? It’s very quiet and calm at Bridge Farm. “Jack’s about to meet his brother.”

    In his lair, The Dark Lord is reviewing the online coverage of the case. He’s not painted in a good light at all. “Now my good name is being dragged through the mud.” He keeps talking about “my boys”. Surely, he can’t stay in Ambridge.

    Henry arrives at the farm and Helen is overjoyed. Rob wants to see the baby. Pat shuts the door in his face. The Pyrex Kid is ushered shyly into Helen’s room. “Why are you crying? You’re hair is different, you look like a boy.” “This is your brother.” “ I know, he’s called Gideon.” Hmmmm. Maybe a bit of work is needed to undo Rob’s indoctrination.

    Kirsty and Tom are huddled in the tomatoes, worried about the Family Court custody hearing. Back at Blossom Hill, Rob tells Cruella that he couldn’t see ‘Gideon’. “I keep imagining what he looks like. Little Gideon will always be a Titchner.” Don’t bank on that.

    The Synthetic Child wants to play Snakes and Ladders. “I can’t wait to tell Daddy about Jack.” At least he’s getting the name right. Helen is very worried about the custody hearing.

    Ian and Adam are in a very frosty place – Rob’s evil work is still working its way through the village as Adam’s successful attempt at improving Eastern European relations was revealed in court.

    Joe is moping about, still upset about leaving the farm. Eddie is packing, which upsets Joe even more. “It ain’t right to chop down a grand old tree.” William turns up to try and cheer Joe up. “This is the end, I can feel it.” Joe isn’t too cheery, then. William finds out that Eddie took George ‘foraging’ – “It was great we gave the pheasants whiskey.” Exit William in a rage. He finds Eddie in the pub. “I was just teaching him about the old ways.” “It’s criminal, that’s what it is.”

    Justin and Lillian are having lunch (not sex) and Justin is mulling over his decision to hire Rob Titchner, the rapist and abuser. Caroline and Oliver turn up and are mulling over their move to Tuscany and the sale of Grange Farm. Oliver feels that maybe selling the farm is “the wrong move.” Caroline is worried “please don’t tell me you are having second thoughts about Tuscany.”

    Iain and Adam have a big row about Pavel and Charlie. “I’m not even sure he’s gay,” says Adam of the latter. This doesn’t impress Iain.

    The Family Court hearing is on. “I couldn’t care less about Rob and Ursula,” says strong Helen. Anna is confident and Pat is her usual fretting self. It’s the same judge as the trial. Good. The Dark Lord’s brief sounds like he’s going through the motions and the judge isn’t convinced by his arguments. Pat finally gets her moment in court and Anna does a wonderful job of cross-examining her calmly. “Henry is the centre of Helen’s world. She’s always puts Henry first.” Rob’s brief gamely brings up the bull goring and the anorexia whilst questioning Helen. She is brilliant. She bravely speaks, denouncing the scalding bath incident. “It was Rob, it was ALWAYS Rob.”

    Josh bursts in to Deep Pip’s place to find Toby Fairbrother having a naked breakfast alone. Ouch. Later, he tells Ruth that Pip and Toby are together. She questions Pip who is obviously pissed off that her secret is out. She heads out and Ruth tells David about Toby boffing Pip. “Seriously??!?? Toby???!??” David calls him “that idiot’” “It’s Jude all over again.” Please, no. David immediately starts to see if there’s a way to kick the Fairbrother brothers off the farm. He quads off to find Pip and confronts her about Toby. “Why has everyone got it in for him?” Deep Pip defends her (casual) paramour.

    At Grange Farm, Joe appears to be on hunger strike. Oliver calls – he wants to come and see Eddie. “I hope he doesn’t want us out any earlier.” Oliver turns up to the gloomy Grundys. He tells them that they aren’t going to sell Grange Farm and that he will continue to rent it to the Grundys at “below market rent”. Joe is overjoyed. “This is our home and we’re staying!!!” The whole family is ecstatic.

    Back at the Family Court, the judge is clearly on the side of the Archers. “These children should live with their mother.” He calls Rob a “risk of harm” and limits the Dark Lord’s contact to supervised visits with Jack only as he feels unsupervised visits will be “unsafe”. There will be no contact with the Synthetic Child at all. The Evil One explodes. “You’re wrong – you’re all wrong.” After the trial, Cruella and her Dark Spawn are upset. Justin wants to talk to him, ominously. “What did I ever do to deserve this?” Pat confronts Cruella ‘’How dare you – your son is a disgusting human being.” “Don’t you speak to me like that.” “I’ve finished, actually.” Helen has a gift for Anna. “Thanks again Anna, you’re a good woman.”

    Back at Bridge Farm, there’s champagne – “Welcome home Helen, Henry and Jack. I want you to know that I’m very proud of you because you’re brave and strong,” weeps Tony. Helen thanks everyone.

    Tom drives Kirsty home. “You’ve been such a good friend to Helen.” “Anyone would have done the same.” Tom, at the end of the journey, says “Kirsty, I don’t want you to go.” He kisses her and she kisses him back. “It’s only for now,” says Kirsty, but I don’t think she means it. “Don’t you want me to come in?” Oh, yesssss, yes I do.”


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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I am a new listener to The Archers - my Mother started me at birth, so I have only been listening for 46 years. Apologies if I get things wrong.

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