1.13 A Choice of Enemies by Judy Colquhoun
Summary: Adrian Bailey, the hippie-type son of successful (read: rich) businessman Rex Bailey, is travelling the Outback on a bicycle. He eats some red berries, and lands himself in hospital, from which he soon checks himself out and heads off again, despite being urged not to. A journalist (a friend of Chris's) is in the area, interviewing George Baxter, a couple of sheep station owners and the doctors. The farmers are on the verge of needing to sell up because of the economic climate. Adrian falls down a slope, and because his battery wasn't charged up whilst in town (it was nearly flat to begin with), his call isn't picked up. When he's found, Tom has to decide whether to save the reckless rich boy or a 7-year-old boy with severe burns. Tom saves the boy and Adrian dies. The journalist writes a negatively slanted article, prompting an angry Rex Bailey to show up. Sharon tells him she would have done the same, because Adrian chose to be where he was, and he had been warned not to go out there. Bailey relents.
Recurring characters: George, Chris, Joe, Tom, Gibbo, Sharon, Kate, Emma, Frank, Ingrid, Vic, Nancy, Jack, Ron.
Going on a very long bicycle ride can be a good thing. However, going on a long bicycle ride through the Australian Outback sounds like a stupid idea. I don't understand why Adrian didn't sort out the battery before heading off, even if he wanted to check himself out of the hospital. He knew the battery was low, and yet he decides to head off anyway. If anyone wants to say "I told you so", it would have been perfectly valid.
One of the things I like about this show is that it doesn't romanticise Outback living. Okay, we probably get a rose-tinted view of it most of the time, but here we get the harsh reality of the economic hardship you might endure when running a station. There might not always be a big wig Baxter type who can bail you out - or in this case, mortgage the property - and there's certainly no guarantee that you life's work will be a lasting legacy for your family.
There's also the moral dilemma of who to save when two lives are on the line and you can only get to one of them in time. Like Chris pointed out to the journalist, in no uncertain terms, the boy had trouble breathing and the nurse attending him had only qualified a month previous. It also goes to show how media doesn't necessarily tell the truth, but only tell half-truths (or less), whatever will make the biggest headline.
In this case, it's a problem because the RFDS isn't a publicly funded organisation, but rather one that relies on donations, if I've understood it correctly. If they get bad press, what are they to do? They're there to do a job, but doing a job requires money (sadly).
Good episode, lots of things to think about, even if the beginning was a little too hippie-like.