As the episode begins, we see John Grant (Sean Keenan) running down the dirt road with a rifle in his hands. A truck follows closely behind him. Then, we jump back in time and see Grant finishing his last day at the local school. He tells the students that they deserve a nice Christmas holiday. When he leaves, one of the girls gives him a drawing. John hops into his vehicle and drives away from the town. John runs off of the road and hits a kangaroo. A taxi driver pulls up and finishes off the roo. John is told that it will cost 400 bucks to get him to his desired location. Instead, he is driven to Bundanyabba. The taxi driver praises the town and insists it is one of the best places in the world. Moments later, John is introduced to Janette Hynes (Caren Pistorius). Janette takes John to the clinic and patches up his wound.
Afterwards, John checks into the local motel. He finds that the mini-fridge is loaded with alcohol. He heads outside and spots a man using a metal detector. John heads to the local pub and is quickly introduced to Sergeant Jock Crawford (David Wenham). John is given several drinks. While drinking, he has flashbacks of his girlfriend, Robyn (Hannah Fredericksen). John is once again told that Yabba is the best town on earth. He is taken to the local two-up center. While the mine is in maintenance mode, the workers use gambling to blow off steam. Jock tells John all about the gambling. After Jock leaves, John enjoys his food. Then, he heads back to the two-up center. He runs into Doc Tydon (Alex Dimitriades), who tries to sell him some sausage. John turns him down. Then, Mick Jaffries (Anna Samson) takes John’s money and places his bet. He wins. At first, it looks like Mick has disappeared. She returns with John’s money.
John continues gambling. He returns to the motel and discovers that he has won 4,100 dollars. He looks at his girlfriend’s engagement ring and thinks about taking Robyn on an expensive vacation. He decides to gamble again. This time, things go awry. John loses all of his money. He heads to an ATM and withdraws 1,000 bucks. He loses that as well. Mick lets him borrow 500 bucks. He loses that too. Mick meets with John outside. She tells him that his debt will double with each day. Then, he discovers that his wallet has gone missing. The next day, John is woken up by the motel clerk. He gets a shower and finds a little bit of money on the bed. Again, his wallet is nowhere to be found. He calls and cancels his bank card. The motel clerk refuses to let John stay until he can get a replacement card or emergency money. John heads outside and finds his vehicle hooked to a tow truck. He learns that the bus to Sydney has already gone and won’t be back for several days.
John contemplates junking the car for money. He is told that they’ll find out the repair costs soon enough. He heads to the pub and asks Joyce (Di Adams) for water. Moments later, Jock enters. Jock gets John alcohol. Mick and Joe (Lee Jones) enter a few minutes later. John is asked about his wallet. Jock and the others do not like John accusing the locals of stealing his wallet. It is returned seconds later. The cop insists it was found near the ATM machine that John used the previous night. Once Jock leaves, John is reminded that he owes money. John prepares to get Mick’s money from the ATM. When he remembers that he canceled his ATM card, he tries to flee the building. He makes it outside, but gets caught by Joe. Before we know it, Tim Hynes (Gary Sweet) arrives. Mick and Joe leave. Tim takes John inside and gets him a drink. The young girl from the mechanic’s shop arrives and tells John that it’ll cost $1,800 to get his vehicle fixed.
Tim takes John for a ride. John tries to ask him for work or money, but never gets around to it. Instead, Tim tries to convince John to buy property in Yabba. Tim takes John home and introduces him to his wife, Ursula (Robyn Malcolm). They share a couple of drinks. John steps outside and runs into Janette. He learns that Janette is Tim’s daughter. John stays for dinner. Doc arrives and joins them. John heads to the bathroom. Once he calms himself, he opens the door to find Janette outside. She takes him outside to see the roses. John sleeps with her outside and immediately vomits nearby. He returns inside and tries to borrow money from Tim. Doc tells Tim about John’s gambling. Tim finds out that John isn’t going to buy a house and he becomes angry. Next, John wakes up in Doc’s house. John is told that he slept with Doc the night before.
John heads outside and Doc returns his items. Again, John is given alcohol. He is told that nothing changes out there on its own. John suggests that the whole place is nuts. John takes a shower. Janette arrives seconds later and ridicules John for asking her parents for money. Then, John sees the metal detector guy again. Mick and Joe arrive. They tell John that he can work for his money. Doc tells him that he put in a good word for him. They drive the couple to a scrapyard. John and Doc are told to stay put. Doc gets up and enters a small door. John follows. He finds what appears to be a makeshift grave stone. He also finds a meth lab or something similar. Mick catches him snooping around. Doc blames John for everything. John is given some type of drug to snort. Then, Mick is injected with something as well.
John is asked if he has been shot before. Then, he is asked if he has shot before. John is forced into Mick’s truck as the episode ends.
Wake In Fright Review
Having never seen the original Wake in Fright and having never read the novel, I’ll admit that I enjoyed the opener. I found it to be odd, unique and very interesting. On top of that, the cast is truly topnotch. It is impossible to go wrong with David Wenham, Gary Sweet and Alex Dimitriades. I have also taken a liking to Sean Keenan. The series is very bizarre, making it difficult to look away. The sheer absurdity of it has me perplexed and wanting to find out what happens next.
Wake In Fright is one of the best shows I have watched in a long time. I can’t wait to see how things play out. The opener scores an 8 out of 10.