Welcome to new BBC One series The Nest starring two of my favourites, Sophie Rundle of my adored Gentleman Jack and Martin Compston from Line of Duty and late of Traces. From what I’ve read, it’s a thriller about surrogacy, which sounds interesting, right?? Join me in starting The Nest S1:E1.1 after the break!
We open with couple Emily (Sophie Rundle) and Dan (Martin Compston) joking about baby names while Emily drives around in the dark looking for…we don’t know because she instead drives into teenager Kaya (Mirren Mack) in the middle of a standoff with someone I think might be James (James Harkness). Emily frantically offers to take Kaya to a hospital (and away from James), Kaya tears off her necklace while locking eyes with James in an unmistakable but unclear act of defiance.
Is that defiance against the church? Does he represent the religion? Is that just a pretty necklace he’s given her and she no longer wants? He looks WAY older than her, so maybe not a romantic relationship?
Kaya steals Emily’s purse/wallet/portfolio with Emily’s name and place of work on it? while they’re driving, you know what they say about no good deed. She jumps out in the middle of the road, Emily scrambles to follow and hands over a lot of money so maybe that wasn’t her wallet that Kaya stole.
Ah! It was Emily’s business card! This is a weird form of networking, but whatever works. Kaya gets home to her sick granny (?), in walks James, the dude from the parking lot. He’s her social worker and he’s brought back her necklace. He expects to see her once a week, she really should get that knee checked out too.
He brought them a number of articles, toaster, kettle, etc, and she throw them off the roof later.
Switch to a whole other world where Emily and Dan are getting their morning started in THIS.
Lookit that VIEW!
She’s obsessing about the accident the night before, staring out as he leaves. Wait. Are they this isolated? Beautiful view but do they have to travel by boat?
Dan picks up his nephews Jack (Samuel Paul Small) and Sam, but they don’t go to rugby as planned, rather to meet with Souter (David Hayman) for the opening of a gorgeous sporting facility Dan’s financially supporting.
Emily is the most enthusiastic and gorgeous music teacher ever; ten bucks says a full half of her class is in love with her. Kaya watches from a bit back, a dark presence in a room formerly full of light and joy.
Emily brings Kaya into her office, discussing with colleague Zoe (Christine Bottomley) whether or not the accident was a scam.
*I’m with Zoe, Kaya is out for whatever she can grift off of Emily. That doesn’t mean I don’t have sympathy for Kaya who is coming from a much different position from Emily. This is best demonstrated by Kaya stroking the soft leather of Emily’s carseats.
Emily drives Kaya to the hospital, but doesn’t come in, referring her to nurse Hilary Rankin (Fiona Bell) who chides her for not coming in the night of, until Kaya staring at the blood dripping from between her legs distracts her into running off.
We know that Hilary is Emily’s sister-in-law, what could be happening to her that she’d be bleeding through her scrubs like that?
Kaya stares at the blood drops on the floor that remain a lot longer than you’d expect in a hospital, but so does Kaya as they have a health care system like Canada. Included with our taxes, but you must wait your turn, so long that Kaya sees Emily and Dan come into the hospital all dressed up.
Ah, Hillary is not just Dan’s sister, she’s also his and Emily’s surrogate. They look terrified that she’s losing the baby.
Kaya follows the devastated couple down the hospital corridor, she watches as Hilary informs the couple that she has lost the baby.
It’s a somber morning at Hilary’s house, she comforts Sam and Jack while her husband (Bailey Patrick) listens silently.
Emily swims in the ocean, burying herself in the water until she drags herself home to see Hilary and Dan at the table. Hilary will not be trying again for the couple, it was too hard to explain to her children.
Alone late at night, Dan prints off photos of potential overseas surrogate mothers, seemingly focused on a brunette woman named Svetlana.
Kaya has a quiet evening on the roof as well, sitting watching the city after she repaired her broken pendant. A neighbour and convicted felon Doddy (Paul Brannigan) introduces himself, Kaya shares what she wants to be when she grows up.
She looks so hopeful and that touching combination of youthful swagger and misplaced confidence. Doddy wants to be a chef, he invites her in for food but not tonight.
Kaya heads to where Emily teaches, then follows her until she sneaks up and freaks her out by pretending to grab her bag.
*ha ha ha ha. So funny.
Emily is not amused either, but she does laugh when Kaya offers to carry their baby. Scottish must be like Canadian, she answers with a “No.” then a “thank you” almost as an afterthought in response to this absurd suggestion.
Kaya presses her case, why did they meet? Why did her car hit her knee? There’s a reason they met! Emily is angry and a little hurt now, she tried to do right by Kaya and now she’d like her to stop coming by her work, please.
Emily’s still thinking about it when she gets home, but she doesn’t tell Dan about the strange offer. She wakes up to texts from Kaya in the middle of the night and stands alone, staring out into the ocean.
She meets Kaya.
Emily doesn’t understand what Kaya is after, she can’t legally be paid for surrogacy in Scotland. But all her life, Kaya has had to be beholden to others, to be grateful for whatever scraps she got off their tables.
I can understand that.
Dan wants to go ahead with paying someone overseas instead, this reminds me of some guys I used to work with.
*Tangent! I worked with several engineers from other countries, three of them married women from third world countries. I now know that the women they married are called bar girls, but I always found it difficult to reconcile with the essential natures of these men. In particular, all three would lament the materialism of the North American and Australian women they dated, but then they went to these other countries and literally paid thousands for these women to join their lives. I wondered if it wasn’t that they minded the price tag for companionship, maybe they just wanted to shop around? Perhaps they just wanted to see the sticker up front. It ended poorly for all three men, but at least two of them went on to marry other women from those same countries (in one case, from the exact.same.bar), so I guess that’s some measure of happiness?
Dan agrees to meet Kaya, wasting no time in asking her what she gets out of it. She asks how much they’d pay an overseas surrogate and thinks 50k would suit her just fine. Dan and Emily are wealthy, but they only have one frozen embryo left.
Dan is frustrated and dismissive, but Emily wants to make this work. She suggests they give Kaya the 50k as a reasonable expense, an investment in her own business. Dan snorts and Kaya leaves, embarrassed and angry at being belittled.
Dan’s not only suspicious of Kaya’s motives, the fact that she’s just now come out of a Children’s Home means she’s unfit in general. Whoa. Yes, being in care sucks and is nobody’s preferred life, but are you really suggesting that everyone who’s been in care is unfit due to mental illness, Dan? This is why he won’t adopt, and I’m starting to get a sense for his arrogance and unawareness of his own privilege.
Kaya gets back to her place to find a welcoming Doddy with chicken cooked.
The social workers in charge of Kaya’s case discuss her potential, seems it’s not just Emily that Kaya’s gotten inappropriately attached to. She tried to move in with James of the parking lot fight and his Frankie, which would never have happened. There is one small problem in that Kaya is in breach of her license, not showing up for her appointment with James, that will have to be reported but James tries to be kind and give her more time.
That will probably not be a good choice.
Dan talks to his sister about the situation with Emily and Kaya, Hillary calls it grief. I’d call it a form of mutual obsession, as Dan finds out when he gets home to find a happy Emily with nails painted the same as Kaya and a phone full of texts from the same.
Dan goes to Kaya’s apartment and drops off a wad of cash to get rid of her, but Kaya knows her irregularly painted nails are sunk deep in Emily and she declines. Doddy steps out to make sure Kaya’s alright and recognises Dan, fawning all over him until Dan tells him to feck off.
Doddy’s face in that moment was just. I want to see what else this young Paul Brannigan has been in.
Dan asks if he and Kaya can speak alone, but he wants the door to her apartment left open. Kaya does not comply, Dan has no power here. He’s swimming against the inexorable tide of his wife’s need for a baby and the tempting offer by this enigmatic young woman.
Kaya wants a life, of her own making and she wants to do this. He questions her about the basics but he already knows he’s lost.
Doddy is waiting in the parking lot, taking pictures of Dan’s license plate and car. He counsels Dan: he should be more humble. There’s something there…
Dan asks Emily if they can’t focus on anything else, something else? Each other? But Emily can’t see her life without a family, their last embryo is the last piece of them together.
They got married after only knowing each other for three weeks?? Emily takes this as a sign they should jump into this unlikely scenario but neither one is aware that Kaya surely has a completely different motive than she’s told them.
Kaya told Dan and Emily that she wants money, to satisfy Dan’s essential transactional nature, and that it’s to improve her life to fit with Emily’s view of the world. Neither one knows that she’s tried to insert herself into the life of her social worker and that she has a crucial problem with boundaries and inappropriate validation.
Dan makes the deal through his lawyer, who is seriously worried about this choice.
Kaya is checked out medically, then brought to the posh house at the edge of the sea.
There’s a sticky part coming up, once the baby is born regardless of who’s DNA it carries, the birth mum has to sign over parental rights at that time. Kaya plays it well, she doesn’t even want her own child, why would she wants theirs? That will definitely be when any blackmail comes into play, making a note.
The couple will support Kaya financially and non-financially until the baby is born, starting with tonight when Emily invites Kaya to spend the night.
Emily, for her part, is ecstatic to have someone to care for. She offers to have Kaya stay with them until the birth, Kaya demurs but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happens. Emily leaves Kaya in her room with money and some ovulation tests while Doddy crouches and watches from outside in the dark.
All three have appointments with a surrogacy advocate (?), it seems only our Dan has a criminal record from his youth. Much has been made about his making something from nothing, I’m wondering how that will play out.
A panel meets to discuss the case, the surrogacy advocate pointing out all the magical thinking involved in their decision making process. The meaning to have met, meant to be, etc.
Doddy isn’t happy with being kept out of what’s going on, he threatens Kaya to call the papers on Dan but she doesn’t care. What’s he going to do?
Off to a soccer match with Dan, Emily, Hillary and their family. Hillary and Dan watch Emily playing with their boys and the team, looking so happy and carefree. Interestingly enough, Dan does not tell his sister they’re going ahead with the surrogacy with Kaya, Hillary happily assumes they haven’t. She warns him about the surrogacy fraud they surely just dodged.
Dan sets Souter on investigating Kaya.
Kaya isn’t at her apartment when James the social workers stops by, Souter asks him some questions as he’s leaving. James won’t shake Souter’s hand, is he part of Dan’s criminal past?
James is waiting when Kaya gets home, wait. Did he say she’s come from Juvy? That’s not exactly a children’s home and explains why she needs to report in.
Souter’s not found anything useful, which is unfortunate as Dan’s run out of time. Kaya has just sent an ovulation reading saying time is optimal.
Or actually there IS time, the surrogacy clinic has declined to do the implantation due to Kaya’s age. They want her to wait a year, Emily is devastated, Dan is horrifically relieved.
Dan comes home all jaunty with a bouquet of flowers, dismayed to find Kaya in his living room.
Emily wants to wait a year.
Emily wants to wait as long as it takes and she’ll do it alone if she has to.
THIS is the desperation that Kaya is tapping into.
A year with Kaya is a bridge too far for Dan, he leaves, frustrated beyond the pale at his wife putting the chance of a baby ahead of their life together.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? All of life tells you to trust people and mistrust them in equal measure.
James comes by Kaya’s place again, Doddy shares where Kaya is staying these days.
Ahhhhhhhh but noooooooo. Dan and Emily are on their way to Brazil with Kaya, it’s Hilary staying at their posh house who receives James and knows immediately what is going on, even if James doesn’t.
Hilary leaves a message for Dan, this is the worst of choices that will impact them for their lives. Dan also doesn’t take a call from Souter, who’s managed to find out some more information about Kaya’s actual past.
The embryo is implanted as we watch Doddy sink below the surface of the water, much as we watched Emily earlier. Will he come back up? We don’t know yet, because we’re OUT! Cheers, you lot, see you next time.