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Episode 5: The Whirlwind and the Storm
Foxtel  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: September 30, 2014

Directed by: Tony Krawitz  |  Written by: Cate Shortland

Official synopsis: In the wake of the investigation, Tom discovers his own past is also under public scrutiny and his life is being threatened from unknown quarters. Bishop Quaid reveals the results of his own investigation to Margaret, and Alice learns the truth.

Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Nikole Gunn for TV Blackbox, September 30, 2014

Devil’s Playground may be a ‘made for TV’ drama, but this is a story rooted in heart-breaking reality. And it’s made very clear in the opening minutes of episode 5. We are presented with the standard disclaimer that “all names, characters and events are fictional”. It’s goes without saying that in this episode we’re presented with a very big “but” as we stray from fiction into the real world. The walls are closing in on Father Andrassi and the facade of affable priest is slipping, revealing a remorseless and opportunistic pedophile priest. But, it’s not just Dr Tom Allen (Simon Bourke) who is asking questions. He may not yet know of Andrassi and his abuses, Bishop Quade (Don Hany) is questioning the church itself. A high-ranking member of the establishment, questioning that very establishment. The pugilistic defender of the faith, who is now questioning that very faith.

Episode 5 begins with Quade visiting Kyrie House, where all the ‘obscene priests’ are sent. And it’s clear it’s treating a number of men and not just for alcoholism or gambling. He’s confronted by the harsh realities facing the Church. With fewer men entering the priesthood, it can’t afford to kick out every offending priest. 25 per cent of all clergymen will be treated for a psychosexual disorder at some point in their career. Under pressure from the Church and Bishop McNally, they’re moved to another diocese, where it’s hoped they won’t re-offend. It’s a false hope.

He takes his concerns to the Papal Nuncio, who is less than sympathetic and at one point blames ‘homos’, the child and their families. He also urges Quade to go very quietly, write a report for Rome and leave it for the Vatican to deal with it. Quade discovers the full extent of the crimes against children and at this point, fiction becomes reality as his assistant reads the names of real-life priests, many of whom have been prosecuted and jailed. But rather forcing the Church to take action, his report is sent to Rome and he’s warned to keep quiet or every family will demand compensation and the Church can’t have that. It prompts a crisis of faith in Quade, who approaches his one-time adversary Margaret Wallace MP, passing on to her the report that the Church wants buried and forgotten.

In the meantime, Andrassi’s crimes are revealed as Tom first confronts the priest, Bishop McNally and finally the mother of the boy who drowned and whose death has underpinned this story. It sets off a chain of guilt and recrimination. Andrassi is warned not to approach another child, but threatens to implicate Bishop McNally who is banishing. McNally then tries to buy Tom’s silence, as he coolly sacks him. Alice, Tom’s one-time lover, then turns up during a church service to point the finger of blame at Andrassi, before being ignored by police, who won’t act on her son’s death. As they try to make sense of events, Tom and his family are forced to flee as McNally’s henchmen try to threaten and intimidate them. The church is flexing its muscle as it tries to cover up a scandal that could mortally wound it. And amongst all this chaos, Andrassi’s latest victim runs away rather than being sent on retreat by his unsuspecting parents.

Elliot is eventually tracked down at a shelter run by the Sisters of Mercy. He wets himself in fear as Andrassi threatens him and his family, warning his father will go to jail if Elliott breathes a word of his abuse. A nun sees what has happened and refuses to allow the boy to her care, instead calling Tom and Brother Warner from his school. He’s taken home where Tom informs Elliot’s disbelieving parents that he too has been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of their trusted family priest. There’s just one more episode to air in this excellent Foxtel production. One episode to complete the story arc and hopefully hold the church to account in the fictional world of Devil’s Playground. Whether it makes any difference in he ‘real world’ has yet to be seen. But it certainly sheds some light on how these things were hushed up and perhaps explains how the Church managed to keep it all ‘in-house’ for so many, many years.

Devil’s Playground hasn’t been ‘easy’ to watch or particularly ‘entertaining’ to watch. There is no Hollywood sugar-coating and for that, the producers should be congratulated.

Guest Cast: Alan Fowler (Lawn Mower Man), Don Hany (Bishop Quaid), David Roberts (Father Peterson), Simon Burke (Tom Allen), Andrew McFarlane (Father Andrassi), John Noble (Bishop McNally), Joe Petruzzi (Bishop Mafucci), Jason Klarwein (Matthew Darcy), Jessica Donoghue (Catherine Darcy), Jarin Towney (Elliot Darcy), Anna Lise Phillips (Alice Kelly), Ben Hall (Finton Kelly), Amy Kersey (Cheryl), Cody Ettinghausen (Altar Boy), Alice Livingstone (Margery), Uli Latukefu (Father Matteo), James Fraser (David Allen), Morgana Davies (Bridie Allen), Emily Stewart (Constable), Leon Ford (Brother Warner), Rory Potter (Cavangh), Valerie Bader (Sister Mary), Coco Jack Gillies (Megan Darcy), Avani Farriss (Rachel Darcy), Michela Noonan (Nun), Matt Levett (Brendon Mahony), Toni Collette (Margaret Wallace), Radek Jonak (Police Officer), Darren Gilshenan (Father Lenken)