Hi everyone and welcome back to the new drama Kiri staring (the amazing and brilliant) Sarah Lancashire. It also is chockful of other large talents, like (excellent) Claire Rushbrook from Homefires and (apparently very popular, definitely lovely) Cara Theobold. Let's roll the second installment without further ado, shall we?
We open on that fateful day when Kiri Akindele (Felicia Mukasa) went missing from the home of her grandparents, later turning up as a victim of murder.
Kiri's hiding in the posh bathroom of her grandparent's house, the whole point of the visit was to get to know her roots, but not the really close ones like her reprobate, criminal father. Kiri's grandad Tobi (Lucian Msamati) pokes his head round the door, can he come in? Kiri's crying because her father showed up and it was awful, I am confused as to why she didn't text her social worker Miriam Grayson (Sarah Lancashire) from the bathroom as she was directed at drop off.
See, Miriam arranged this visit as Kiri is about to be adopted by another family, a white family which seems to matter to all sorts of people as Kiri is black.
Tobi does what good parents and grandparents do: distracts the distraught kiddo in front of him with elbow humour.
In comes Rochelle (Andi Osho), followed closely by totally-not-estranged Nate Akindele (Paapa Essiedu) who was supposed to stay downstairs until Kiri made up her mind but has apparently decided that all important decisions must be made en masse under duress in posh bathrooms.
Tobi protects Kiri from Nate, who does not understand his daughter's reluctance to get to know his pushy, angry arse.
We're back in the now, with Tobi searching one of Nate's crashpads, where Sam (Mat Fraser from an unfortunate series of American Horror Story) saw Nate, but wouldn't let him in. He remembered Kiri, see, Nate called her Bunches and would bring her by. He wouldn't betray her memory by harbouring Nate.
The Warners are going on TV to appeal for the public's assistance, Alice (Lia Williams) and Jim Warner (Steve MacKenzie) tell how they met Kiri. Kiri's mum was a drug addict who died, they started fostering her when she was four. They wanted a sibling for their son Simon (Finn Bennett) whom they call a fantastic older brother. Si's watching the interview, as is a crying Miriam.
Miriam has been accused of forcing the Warners into the unsupervised visit with Kiri's grandparents and failing to recognise the dangers Kiri was (presumably) exposed to. She's not handling Kiri's death or her suspension well, drinking to cope.
The Warners are asked about Miriam even, but don't bite. This isn't about Miriam, it's about finding Nate Akindele.
We're back to Kiri's visit, where she's agreed to come downstairs and try talking to her dad and is met with a Barbie. She's 9, that's not too young for Barbie dolls izzit? Nate picked it because the doll is black, like Kiri, which he mentions more than once. This is super hard.
Nate talks his dad into not watching him, he sits with Rochelle and guess what? Nate and Kiri are in the wind. Jaysus.
Back in the present, Tobi is at the home of Bimpe (Sharon D. Clark), who hasn't seen Nate and wouldn't tell him if she had: they are not friends. This isn't the first time Nate has let everyone down, Bimpe had already given up on Nate after he killed the first time.
WHAT?? All I remember hearing about was drugs and GBH! I don't remember them saying he was a murderer! Who did he kill??
AND: Rochelle isn't even Nate's mum, she's Tobi's second wife so what the Sam Hill was she thinking letting Nate in like that?? I thought it was some maternal bond thing (MY SON IS JUST MISUNDERSTOOD) but she's a stepmum and a relatively new one at that.
Ahhhh, Bimpe is the mother of Kiri's mum, so her other grandmother. Tobi thinks she can't come to the funeral because she voluntarily stopped visits but that is very much not your call, Tobes. She has as much right to be there as you do.
Ohh but there is tragedy and heartbreak and it hurt Bimpe to the bone. She watched her daughter be destroyed by the drugs peddled by Tobi's son, she didn't even know there was a Kiri. And when she did, all she could see was what she lost.
Is that who she means when she said Nate killed before?
So another way Miriam's dealt with her grief and horror is to not take as close care of her dog Jesse. She left him in the car while hiding at a client's house and drinking but now he's at the vet. He needs x-rays, which makes Miriam and I fear the worst. She's wrecked, but he is kind, the vet would absolutely leave a child in her care before anyone else.
She leaves Jesse at the vet's office and without preamble is attacked by a violent young woman, punched right in the face and left on the ground.
Side note: I am very glad that they shot that from the perspective of the young woman facing us because I'm afraid if I saw anyone realistically paste Sarah Lancashire in the face I would have to dedicate an unfortunate amount of time hunting them down.
Who would kick such a non-aggressive whipped dog as our Miriam? She's clearly in the worst kind of agony already. She drinks in the alley.
Alice is preparing her face for another TV appearance, this time with Victoria Derbyshire (who is a person and not an actor, it seems) when Si walks in and says a bunch of inappropriate stuff before asking a bunch of inappropriate questions about viewing Kiri's tiny body.
He keeps talking about how Kiri must have been crying when she died; creepy son is creepy. Alice is still, Si sarcastic and Jim pretending everything is normal.
Why does it feel like Jim is everyone's punching bag?
Miriam's at a meeting with her lawyer Georgie (Natalie Dew), she doesn't want to hear any bull, she wants her job back, fanks, and it is so good to hear Miriam stand up for herself!
After the young lawyer stops chewing her gum, Miriam is persuaded to return to the table. Georgie has difficult news for our Miriam, her recommendation is that Miriam resign, take her part of the blame and leave before they pull her license to practice.
Riddle me this, young lawyer, what good is a license to practice if nobody will hire you as you've admitted you were partially culpable in the death of a child in your care?
Miriam does not want to leave her job. She's going to need another baby lawyer.
DI Vanessa Mercer (Wunmi Mosaku) briefs the Warners on the case, no real updates except that they are checking out sexual predators in the neighbourhood. Strangely physically affectionate in a way we haven't seen before, the Warners express shock as Kiri hadn't been touched. They're just clearing it away, though, which is what the police say when they ask a prime suspect for his DNA, to "exclude."
Alice does not understand why they're wasting time asking about pedophiles when they know who had Kiri? And what are all these questions about the family whereabouts? Hm, Jim's in the clear but Alice was home from work due to a stress condition and Si wasn't at school as he said. Hm.
Alice is angry now, what the FCK are the police doing wasting their time on this shite, why can't they find ONE GUY with his face on every paper in the nation? They must not be looking properly, she decides, since they're asking about her and Simon and sex offenders.
Grief and stress do things to people. So do bad marriages.
Tobi goes to a brothel (when asked if he'd been there before, he says "yes" slowly, as though it hurts), asking for Greg and the use of a bathroom. Is this some complicated code talk? Ahhhh he gains entrance then checks every single door until he finds Nate at the end of the hallway.
Nate is surprised, surprised and tired. Everyone is looking but Tobi found him. Nate calls him "the man who keeps remaking himself", like Madonna but with boxing and a doctorate. Well. Madonna probably has a doctorate, too. ANYWAY, the point is, he's hidden all who he was and now he's scared.
So why didn't Tobi tell the police where he was instead of looking himself? And suddenly it's a brawl then they're both crying.
When Nate's mum died, Tobi focused all his attention on the one thing good left in his life: Nate, who soon became angry and aggressive. Nate blames his dad for not taking Kiri, Tobi accepts that.
Nate offers that he didn't kill Kiri, she was alive when he left her. When he lost her. Kiri became upset when Nate started talking about stopping the adoption and ran away.
Nate tends to his suddenly ailing dad and tentatively asks how Kiri was killed. She was strangled, how could Tobi believe his own son could do that with his own hands?
Oh Tobi wasn't always the upstanding person he seems to be, he had affairs and visited prostitutes while he was married and was cruel to his child and wife.
Nate wants to turn himself in to the police so they can look for whomever really killed Kiri and I will just say he seems much more reasonable now then he did when he was scaring the shite out of Kiri. Or when he was allegedly selling drugs and committing Grievous Bodily Harm. He seems like a whole other reasonable person!
Alice watches herself on TV, carefully not agreeing that Miriam was anti-white (is that a thing if you are also white?) but managing to shade it all the while non-TV Alice is cleaning tissues out of her son's bed. Oh don't do that, nope, not ever, hard pass. Something gets on her hand (seriously, stahp) so she notes Kiri's bunny shirt in Si's garbage can. For the love of: if those are connected.
Tobi's next stop is to see Alice, who asks him if he came there deliberately to get on the news because people LOVE to see themselves in the middle of a press scrum OVER THE MURDER OF A LITTLE GIRL.
Sorry. She's clearly having trouble dealing and it's made her paranoid and rude and of course it does and I'm sorry for judging, Alice.
She's barely hanging on by a thread when Tobi suggests a joint burial ceremony to recognise his Christian faith. It's also how Kiri was born and he is next of kin, legally. Alice gives him both barrels; he saw Kiri once a month and she saw her every day, loved her every day and it's her loss that we'll be focused on.
Tobi goes to see DI Mercer with the news of his son's desire to come in, I don't know if there is sufficient mutual trust yet. Tobi keeps asking where Vanessa is FROM and he means country but she isn't biting.
Alice puts the bunny shirt back in Kiri's drawer in her pink room, taking it from Si's blue room. First off: really? Secondly, what if that is important for forensics? Is she hiding it?
Miriam has come to see Julie (Claire Rushbrook) at their secret smoke spot, she hasn't smoked for 20 years but she has all kinds of funny things to say. Gallows humour is alive and well and embodied by Miriam in this scene.
There are 3, count them, 3 investigations running concurrently about this case, the rules of adoption might even change as a result, less time for birth families with adoptees. "Unless they're white" finishes Miriam and she's off, she's had it. She's not doing handover, she's not doing anything and boy she'd like to know when all of this, adoption rules, people's fragile lives, when did that all become her responsibility??
There are reporters lying in wait at home for her and is she ever ready to talk to them. She defends, well, you listen. There was too much beauty and truth there to snip or quote.
I wonder at them bringing up her drinking, how could that have been leaked?
Tobi and Nate were planning to bring Nate in to the police station, but before they can DI Mercer and a squad are there to drag him from the house as aggressively as possibly while Tobi screams "WE WERE BRINGING HIM TO YOU,THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!" and we're out.
What a heavy episode. It isn't right, what they did to Nate, but I bet it looks a lot more exciting on the news than him voluntarily surrendering himself. Smivil rights, schmivil rights.
Interesting what Miriam said about knowing your roots and being around people that look like you; especially in teenage years psychologists will tell you that looking like your peers is more important than anything else. I am reminded of another show, This Is Us, which I haven't (shamefully) finished recapping, where they raised one little boy the same as their two other triplets, even though the first two were white and he was black and eventually had different cultural needs. The parents acknowledged it and work was put into it, but I have to wonder if the Warners would have done so.
I read of a study once where white parents in a particular group tested highly for racism, which horrified and confused them as they considered themselves "colourblind" and absolutely not prejudiced in any way against people of different backgrounds. But they didn't talk about race, see. They thought not bringing up race was a way to model "we're all the same!" But kids have eyes and they see we're not all the same and they also have ears; the study found that parents of people of colour were much more likely to have discussed race with their children and explained prevailing theories. The children of the white "colourblind" parents were shown to think that their parents hated people of colour; they NEVER talked about them in terms of what the children themselves saw. So there's that.
Once we met Nate properly, we knew immediately that he wasn't the killer, so who is? Simon, driven by jealousy? Alice, which is why she's acting so oddly now? Although it's not as though there's just one way to react to the loss of a child or family member. Definitely not Jim, so that leaves...random child abductor.
WHY DIDN'T KIRI CALL MIRIAM?? When she was scared and in the washroom? When she ran away from her dad? Oh I wish.
Until next time, cheers everyone.