As we reached the halfway point in The Syndicate’s tense first season, Bob’s ongoing health issues proved one of the themes resting just below the surface of the program’s unfolding drama. Like Denise in last week’s episode, Bob was forced to deal with family looking to benefit from his lottery winnings. However, those expectations were tempered, and ultimately took a backseat, when it became clear that the kindly Right Buy U manager was running short on one of the few things that a few million pounds can’t buy – time.
Need to catch up on watching this episode first before you read on? The Syndicate S1E3 is available to stream here until July 2, 2014.
A few days after leaving the hospital, Bob’s symptoms continued to become more pronounced. Despite the ominous dizziness and numbed limbs, both he and his longtime partner Annie were quick to chalk his state up to the blow to the head and were confident that his next appointment at the hospital would be his last for quite some time. One thing they weren’t expecting though, was the sudden appearance of his two sons, Peter and Matthew, on the day of the appointment, both claiming to be there in support of their ailing father. Although their concern smacked of opportunism, neither asked for cash (at least not outright).
Unfortunately, as suspicious as Bob and Annie might’ve been, the doctor’s words distracted from family matters in the waiting room. All four of them were forced to come to terms with a startling diagnosis, as they learned the small mass found in Bob’s brain was an aggressive and growing tumor – one that couldn’t be operated upon. With a bleak prognosis to mull over, Bob left the hospital in a daze, but determined to hide the truth from the rest of his acquaintances.
Although he needed some time away from his sons after the appointment, Bob welcomed a conversation with Stuart when he dropped by to check on his former boss. Hiding the seriousness of his condition, Bob listened as Stuart told him about the police presence at the shop and the stress that he’d been under during interrogation. Ever the fatherly figure, Bob was quick to point out that the fidgety Stuart wasn’t quite himself. When Stuart explained that he had told the burglar to get down in the CCTV footage, his boss revealed that he had known all along why that was, but that he had no intention of telling the police that the robbery was the work of the two brothers.
Knowing that the operation must’ve been Jamie’s idea, he also advises that Stuart not get involved in any more of his brother’s doing, lest he land in real trouble himself. Taking Bob’s advice in stride, Stuart made his way back out to his car, but on his way out, learned from Annie that Bob’s brave front was an act. The news that Bob might only have a few weeks or months to live struck him deeply, and rather than go home to relay the news to his own family, Stuart went straight to Leanne to tell her. After talking it over, however, he was surprised to learn that she was considering moving away, leaving him with one less real friend.
Meanwhile, Bob made up for some lost time with his sons, and attempted to make peace with his ex-wife (although he didn’t tell her about his illness). He did, however, get the chance to talk to his younger, and somewhat less successful son Matthew who, in the face of his father’s illness, was unwilling to ask for money. Appreciative of Matt’s kind words, and wanting to encourage his son’s creative potential, Bob went ahead cut him a cheque anyway, telling him to put it towards the record label he dreamed of starting.
Peter however, wasn’t impressed later on, when he learned that his share of their father’s winnings would be less than his younger brother’s. When Bob explained that he made the decision remembering a loan he had made to Peter years before, it only served to emphasize the value of time – he may have plenty of money now, but the years and opportunities he lost with that loan can’t be bought back. It didn’t seem like there was too much bitterness between them, though, as Bob put Peter in charge of planning a party for all of his friends and family, although he wasn’t anticipating the kind of expense that his son (and his “posh wife”) would eventually come up with.
Before the celebration could begin, Bob still had some unfinished medical business. On the eve of an appointment with a private physician, the other members of the syndicate went to Bob’s home to tell him about a doctor they’d found in South Africa, whose innovative cancer treatment had met with some shocking success. Although he was hesitant to take their research seriously, the appointment the next day did a bit to sway him, as the private doctor told him that, in his position, she’d take her chances with the treatment.
Things finally came to a head at the glamourous party planned by his son, as his friends descended on a chic hotel for a night of bittersweet celebration. Not willing to believe Stuart when told him that Bob knew the truth about the burglary, Jamie came to the party anyway – despite the fact that he was almost certainly unwelcome. Still, Bob managed to handle the presence of his assailant with grace and was far more focused on addressing his guests. On stage, he took the chance to, after over a decade, ask Annie to marry him and she in turn put the spotlight back on him by asking him to book a flight to South Africa.
Of course, Bob couldn’t say no, so it looks as though he may yet get a few more years with his bride-to-be. Perhaps his winnings will be able to buy him a new lease on life, but in the meantime, we’ve got a feeling that things will be no less challenging for Leanne next week, as her murky past comes to the fore.