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Episode 6: Matthew 18:6
Foxtel  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: October 08, 2014

Directed by: Tony Krawitz  |  Written by: Blake Ayshford & Tommy Murphy

Official synopsis: Tom confronts Bishop McNally and threatens to leak the results of his investigation beyond the confines of the institutional church. Margaret, Tom and Quaid attempt to end the Church’s corruption and internal concealment of it, but they could risk their personal relationships and professional careers as they do so.

Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Nikole Gunn for TV Blackbox, October 07, 2014

In the Bible, the Gospel of Matthew has a central theme of ‘salvation through faith’. In particular, Matthew 18:6 urges those who cause children to stumble to be cast into the sea to drown. Retribution runs through the final episode of Devil’s Playground. But, it’s not the neat ‘tied-in-a-bow’ kind of retribution. What we see is a demand for justice, a fight for faith and a battle with conscience. In this final chapter, it’s Bishop Quade who dominates the story line. It is he who has a crisis of faith, demanding God speak to him and provide him answers. It’s Bishop Quade, who ultimately returns to being the defender of the faith. He may be horrified by what has been done to countless children by a pedophile priest or brother; however, he can only go so far in ‘betraying’ his Church.

While Margaret Wallace pleads for his help in exposing the true horror, he can no further than handing over a list of names, not when he faces excommunication by revealing this dark secret. Instead, Mother Church offers him the chance to protect her by taking over ‘one day’ as Archbishop and ultimately as Cardinal. His elevation comes at the expense of Bishop McNally, who is to be banished. As a true son of the Church, and no matter how distressed he is by the systemic abuse of children, Bishop Quade chooses not to act. In some ways, it’s a further betrayal of the victims and even though he knows the church will try to bury the truth, he’s willing to let the church deal with it.

Perhaps, his one last act of rebellion is to ignore the Church’s legal team and offer his apologies to the families of Elliot and Peter, promising his door will always be open to them. Tom has also come a full circle. After giving up life in a seminary to become a psychiatrist, marry and have a family, he rediscovers his faith with a promise to fight for his church to cleanse it of the scourge of pedophilia. As for Father Andrassi, there’s one last confrontation with Brendan: his abuse victim from Colleton. After hearing that Andrassi is not being sent overseas, but to a retreat in Sydney, Brendan comes after him with a shotgun. He shoots him in the leg and is about to open fire a second time, when Andrassi tells him ‘I loved you. I loved you’. And it reinforces a comment by Brendan earlier in the episode that ‘the only prick that cared for him, was that priest’.

The story closes with Father Andrassi moving to a new Parish. As he unpacks his car and moves into his new home, he watches as group of young boys rides by, calling out ‘hello, Father’. One of them looks remarkably like Peter, whose death was the catalyst for this story. It’s clear that we still have some years to wait before he is (if ever) brought to justice. As a TV audience, we probably expected the ‘happy ending’ with a trial and sentence. But, this ending is more reflective of reality. Priests were moved from parish to parish as their abuse was revealed. Families were ‘bought off’ and victims did take their lives in despair.

It’s only now, some 30 years after events in Devil’s Playground, that the truth of institutional abuse is being exposed. Devil’s Playground is a remarkable piece of TV and not because it’s ‘entertainment’. It’s anything but entertaining and doesn’t really lend itself to ‘enjoyment’. But it is a story well told and well made. It’s also confronting, compelling, brave and truthful. For all these reasons, it’s remarkable and deserving of praise. Much like HBO and NETFLIX, who’ve funded some amazingly creative TV, Foxtel has recognised that there is an adult audience that wants to watch high quality drama with an Australian focus. Bravo, Foxtel, for being brave enough to produce and air this series! May you continue to take a risk on home grown work of an international standard.

Guest Cast: Don Hany (Bishop Quaid), Toni Collette (Margaret Wallace), Simon Burke (Tom Allen), Morgana Davies (Bridie Allen), James Fraser (David Allen), Uli Latukefu (Father Matteo), John Noble (Bishop McNally), Darren Gilshenan (Father Lenken), Christopher Stollery (Justice Minister), Jarin Towney (Jessica Donoghue), Jessica Donoghue (Catherine Darcy), Anna Lise Phillips (Alice Kelly), Jason Klarwein (Matthew Darcy), Pip Miller (Brother Cosgrove), Ben Hall (Finton Kelly), James Chan (Father Nguyen), Leon Ford (Brother Warner), Matt Levett (Brendan Mahony), Ray O’Donoghue (Parliamentarian), Simon Harvey (Reporter), Max Cullen (Father Joyce), Jack Thompson (Cardinal Neville), Joe Petruzzi (Bishop Mafucci), Andrew McFarlane (Father Andrassi), Fletcher Watson (Peter Kelly), Cooper Sipos Moore (Riding boy)