Well, I'd have to say I fall neither into the unconditional love nor the relative indifference bracket. I did like that TJ got a little more to do, I always adore it when he is out in the field anyway; his unbridled enthusiasm is so cute! I also liked the fresh scenario. So often the murders are in sleazy and unprepossessing surroundings. It was bizarrely reassuring to examine the dark undercurrents we all know exist beneath the bright, clipped-lawn, image-conscious face of suburbia. It makes a change that everybody had some small (or huge) secret to hide, and the fact that this particular secret had been holed up in a luau pit underneath a slowly roasting pig reminded me of the metaphor of Lord of the Flies - telling us that our savage natures are just a little bit below the surface. Interesting also that while ostensibly adopting a positive attitude towards the environment, these people could not accept the reality and the sacrifice involved in caring for it.
That said, yes, Jade, it was thoroughly confusing. In fact I can't recall a non-political one that confused me more. I couldn't remember who was meant to be related to whom or sort out the wildly varying motives!
As far as the subplots were concerned, yes, Parker was cute and all, and the final scene indeed effectively projected a lovely family image, but the find-dad-a-girlfriend theme seemed a little forced to me. And whatever point they were trying to make with Arastoo's small deception escaped me completely, though it did fit in with the general theme of concealment and underlying reasons for certain behaviours. I don't see why his religion needs to be such a big deal. It would never occur to me to ask a practising Muslim why exactly he practised, whatever accent he might profess! I just thought that was weird. Unless the actor was just fed up with putting on an accent and felt he was presenting a stereotype, of course!!
I see where you're coming from, Jude, with the extended family ensemble work. It is definitely improving the ambiance of the show that the BB emphasis has become more subtle and that we are seeing more of the group, their mutual acceptance, banter and so on. I too hope that it continues to develop.
word count: 398
"We make our lives out of chaos and hope. And love." - Angela Montenegro