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The Nest

The Nest is a BBC One five-part TV series which aired in March 2020. I decided to give it a go as I heard good things about it and, okay, I’ll admit, because I saw Sophie Rundle in it. I can’t get enough of the Ann(e)s okay? I’ll take Ann Walker alone! (then be patiently waiting for Gentleman Jack) Anyway, back to the story. The premise looks quite simple: Dan (Martin Compston) and Emily (Sophie Rundle) were a married couple but Emily was unable to get pregnant. Emily met Kaya (Mirren Mack), a 18-year-old girl who offered to be their surrogate mother. Well, if only. This drama managed to reveal the plot with twists after twists, and I definitely did not expect that when I watched the first episode.

Kaya was bad news, that I was quite sure when I watched the first episode. She’s too young, she didn't have anyone and was under the care of social workers, didn’t seem like she’s responsible enough to carry a baby. I was thinking maybe the story will be about how she screwed up the couple’s life. If that’s the case, it’d be only fairly interesting. But the plot is more than that. You’d think Kaya was the villain of the story but no, I think everyone was a bit of a villain, but not on purpose. They all had they own reason to behave the way they did. And even Kaya was not all bad. To be fair I really liked the relationship between Kaya and Emily, and Emily did treat her like a daughter (although in terms of age I guess Emily is more like a sister, anyway). The whole story was a lot of disbelief but I think Emily was genuine towards Kaya, she saw this reckless teenager but she believed she wasn’t all bad, and I think Kaya knew it. She was grateful to Emily too. The whole surrogacy may have worked if it was only Emily and Kaya, but then we had Dan being the strong businessman and always had to be dominant. I get he was trying to protect Emily but that’s not how things work. Yes, Kaya’s true identity may have affected things but there’s always 2 sides of a story. Okay, fine, I had my second thoughts about Kaya too.

I tried not to reveal too much as I think the twists made the story exciting. The first episode was a bit, how can I put it, it’s not bad but didn’t “wow” me. But we started to see twists from episode 2 and I was like, okay, I’m hooked. What I liked about this show is that every character had their history and they all contributed to the plot, in an unexpected way. It’s not straightforward and it’s every tiny things that led up to the disaster. And when things were bad, they’re actually bad. (Reminded me of some scriptwriting rules, “put your characters in the worst situation”, I think the series pulled this off nicely.)

The other thing I wanted to highlight is Katie Leung, who played a journalist called Eleanor. She was after Dan and revealed what he has done. I am very glad that Katie Leung didn’t have to play and stereotypical Chinese character anymore (oh, I did a research project for my master’s degree and she was part of my research). Yes, I was a little upset that they made her a bit “exotic” and had her speak in Cantonese for a bit (although I loved the Cantonese, that’s just because it’s my mother tongue), the character was actually pretty cool. You know when you see most Chinese characters on screen are immigrants, gangster and prostitute, then you see Katie Leung played this journalist who wasn’t afraid that she’s after a powerful millionaire. Her appearance (as in outfit, haircut etc.) is pretty cool too! I wasn’t a big fan of Katie Leung’s Cho Chang but in The Nest, I liked her. And she finally got to speak in her native Scottish accent! It’s still a small role but I think it’s a good first step.

Speaking of Scottish accent, I had to turn on the subtitle in order to understand what they said and some slangs haha! I think The Nest is nicely written, filmed and performed. Characters are distinctive and well developed (good characters are so important). It’s just a five-part series but the subplots are equally interesting. I guess subplot is not the right word as they all contribute to the bigger picture. The plot is unpredictable and definitely isn’t just a thriller about surrogacy. There’s so much more to offer. And the ending, loved it!

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