The day arrived – Joe Grundy is dead. Joe finally met the maker at the ripe old age of 98 across two emotional episodes when Eddie Grundy came across his lifeless body in bed after a night at the Cider Club’s pressing party.
Joe had slipped off from the party early – ‘you knew, didn’t you?’ says Eddie, in an emotional speech to Joe in the moments after his death.
He plants a kiss on Joe’s forehead, telling him he hopes he doesn’t mind – and shares feelings and memories, lamenting the fact they weren’t more open with their emotions in life.
Eddie will miss his dad and best friend, he says, that one person he can call whenever he wants to talk about anything at all. Clarrie too, will miss him dearly.
Eddie finds comfort in thinking of Joe reunited with his wife – he replaces the picture on the pillow where Joe had been holding it when he died. If that isn’t enough to melt your cold, dead heart – I don’t know what is.
The episode has been well-received – with fans commending the script writers (namely the talented Adrian Flynn) for the sensitive treatment both of the farewell to a much-loved character and the way Eddie and the family reacted to the death.
While it was some time in the making – Edward Kelsey, who played Joe Grundy in The Archers for 34 years, died in April – the story line has already been used to tie up a host of loose ends and we can expect more to come.
The Grundys have been brought closer together after a difficult period and given a common focus – reunited in grief, they are sharing anecdotes, bonding over memories and working together to plan Joe’s funeral.
Susan and Clarrie have reconciled and are back to being ‘best friends’ after Susan went over to the farm with some red roses ‘Joe loved red,’ Clarrie said, as they hugged and made up.
Emma and Ed met and exchanged fond memories of Joe in a meeting with Keira at the farm – who could forget the time that Joe got a ferret stuck in his pants? – and without getting ahead of ourselves, we suspect this could be the beginnings of a reconciliation there, too.
After all, the break-up should have been no more than a bust-up – cross words and some justified misery and gnashing of teeth over the loss of the home they’d worked so hard for (all those night shifts in the chicken factory gone to waste!) – but in a relationship that has lasted so many years and weathered so many storms, this would have been surmountable.
It was hard to swallow Ed’s immediate dissolution of the relationship – yes, it was an issue that he thought Emma would never be satisfied with him and what he could offer.
But that was not insurmountable. An immediate break-up with no back and forth over that initial rash decision was unsatisfactory. Why was this the final straw?
Now with Joe’s death bringing the two into intimate conversation once more, we could be looking at the beginnings of a reunion.
The other effect Joe’s death has had is that Oliver has given the Grundys a ‘stay of execution’ – allowing them to stay on at Grange Farm for some time while they get the funeral out of the way. Quite why they can’t now stay on in Grange Farm full time now is a mystery.
They initially planned to move out when Emma and Ed were to move to Beechwood with Keira and George. Without their contribution to the rent, they couldn’t afford to stay. Now though, with Joe gone and Will and Ed living in the house – preparing to make money, if not yet raking it in – they could surely make up the deficit?
As Clarrie says, No.1 The Green is half the size of Grange Farm and has onlyh 3 bedrooms – yet it currently has to house Eddie and Clarrie, Will and Parpy and Ed. That’s before George and Keira come over to spend time with their dad.
There aren’t enough rooms to go around, unless Will shares with Ed and Parpy has her own room, or Will and Parpy share.
Ed has said he’ll find a house-share – but that doesn’t give George and Keira anywhere to stay when they visit and is unlikely to gel well with the Emma/Ed reconciliation storyline we are hoping for.
This points at two possible options: The Grundys get to stay in Grange Farm after all, with Emma and the kids moving back in (or just Ed and Will sharing the rent). Or they move to No.1 The Green and Ed moves out, either into a house share or into a place with Emma…
Perhaps the Grundys will get to stay at Grange Farm after all, in part owing to Joe’s death. It would be a benevolent coup de grace from the script writers: we know Joe wanted nothing more than for his family to remain at Grange Farm and said himself he would rather die than leave the farm.
It would certainly be a fitting legacy to Joe Grundy if in death, his family got to keep the home he loved.
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