The Cause Of This Defect
Season 1, Episode 4
Wolf and Cheryl at Billys wake.
Air date August 2, 2005
Written by James Griffin
Directed by Mark Beesley
Episode guide
A Little More Than Kin
The Infants Of Spring

The Cause Of This Defect is the fourth episode of Series 1.


Wolf comes home. Just for a day. But a lot can happen in a day.


A young guy runs from the police. He hides in a wheelie bin. Bad move, as the rubbish truck comes along, picks up the bin and tosses it into the back. Thus ends the short, tragic like of Billy (The Kid) Grady West. He may have been Eric’s son, but the Wests were his true family – to the extent that he added their last name to his.

It’s the day of the funeral and the wake is to be held at the West house. Cheryl comforts Eric; Van is stricken by guilt; Pascalle turns her grief at Billy’s death on her little sister, accusing Loretta of being uptight, repressed, and most probably the oldest virgin in West Auckland; Jethro worries about his Mum and the inevitable return of….Wolf.

He arrives in a prison van at the cemetery; late, like a rock-star, distracting all the mourners and interrupting Jethro’s graveside eulogy. The son is forced to step aside as the father finishes the speech, recalling Billy’s obsession with yellow diggers and the time Billy and Van broke into Hirepool, in the middle of the night, to steal one. Wolf is back where he belongs, at the head of this family.

The wake. Wolf manages to talk his young prison guard into letting him attend – ‘just for half an hour’. It’s a triumphant return. Triumphant for everyone but Cheryl, that is. She escapes to the bathroom to get away from him. It doesn’t work. Wolf follows her there and in about two seconds flat he’s charmed her way his way past her objections. That resolve not to let him get to her dissolves under his caresses. Next thing, it’s all on; frantic sex on the vanity unit.

Which is when Jethro walks in on his worst Freudian nightmare. He beats a hasty retreat.

Meanwhile, Loretta spies Paul the prison guard. He will, she decides, suit her purposes perfectly. So she invites him back to her room to watch a DVD. Once in the room, she changes the offer to wondering if he’d like to have sex with her. He says yes. So she locks her bedroom door.

Over the course of the day, the wake morphs into a cracking good West family party – with many little undercurrents and mini-dramas.

Wolf asserts his role as master of the barbecue, from where he can counsel Van, who is convinced if he’d been with Billy that day, doing the crime with him, like Billy asked him, that he could have saved Billy’s life. But he said no, on account of Mum’s thing about them going straight – and Billy died.

Pascalle and her best friend/rival, Draska, reminisce about Billy and the pity roots they bestowed upon him. Eric is intrigued by the concept of the pity root – and suddenly feels much sadder at the death of his estranged son.

Loretta, meanwhile, is under-whelmed by her first taste of sex. Paul decides he has to ‘do it better’. Loretta goes along with it – but a tad reluctantly.

Cheryl’s attempts to keep Wolf at bay – to punish him for trying to undermine her decision to get the family out of the crime business – are being undermined by her love for him. Wolf, literally, sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, dancing with her like they never had a worry in the world.

This is all too much for Van. Fuelled by guilt and anger that the family won’t be appealing Wolf’s conviction due to lack of money, he takes off from the party, crossing with…

Allen Markham – who marches through the party, straight up to Eric (who is working on scoring a pity root from Cheryl’s friend, Rochelle) and decks him. That’s for dobbing me in to the police, you bastard. Eric, for once in his life, is innocent and has no idea what Allen’s smacking him round for.

So Wolf has to take Allen aside and set him straight: he told the police. He knew how Allen felt about Cheryl, was burning with jealousy, and did what he could to keep her. Allen, in his own way guilty in that he did try to nail Cheryl, can see Wolf’s side of things. With a few promises to sweeten the deal, the two men make peace.

Cheryl watches this, marveling at Wolf’s ability to twist everyone who comes into contact with him round his little finger. She looks at the party, swirling around her. This may be fun – but it’s the life she’s trying to leave behind. It’s the life that comes with having Wolf in her life. Cheryl has the hardest decision of her life to make.

Van, meanwhile, has gone on a one man crime spree. Part of it’s an act of atonement for Billy; part of it’s trying to get some money together to pay for Dad’s appeal. But he’s not alone, because Jethro has followed him, tries to convince him to stop being an idiot – ending up in prison like Dad or dead like Billy.

It’s really not what Van wants to hear and it all ends with the two brothers fighting like big kids. As so often in their lives, Jethro comes out on top – and leaves Van to determine his own fate. Of course, as fate would have it, they’ve been fighting outside an equipment hire yard; one with a big yellow digger, just sitting there, for the taking.

Jethro arrives back at the party, which is winding down now, in time to have his father tell him how disappointed he is in him, before going off to join Cheryl in the bedroom. Daddy’s home – and Jethro has got enough Freudian shit to work through to last him two lifetimes.

Cheryl tries, one last time, to get Wolf to respect her choice for the family. When he gets out, they can’t go back to the old ways. His glib reassurances and avoidance are like a dagger to her heart. She has to make that decision.

They are interrupted by Paul (who has just found out he’s been having sex with a 15-year old) – they have to leave now.

So Wolf says goodbye to his family, gets in the prison van and departs.

But not so far down the road, the van is intercepted by another Van, driving a big yellow digger. Run, Dad! Get away while you can! Wolf hugs his son, thanks him for the attempted jailbreak, then tells Van to go home and look after Cheryl.

Cheryl is with Jethro. She starts talking about Wolf – and once she starts talking she can’t stop. She remembers why she fell in love with him in the first place. And she faces up to the fact that if she wants her family to survive, she can’t be with him any more. Her marriage is, in effect, over. So the best thing that can possibly happen is that Wolf stays in prison for as long as possible – because she can’t bear to tell him.