Thirteen : Episode 1

Another random programme from the BBC that I never knew existed till I scrolled down iPlayer.

Thirteen is a story about Ivy Moxam, a girl who has been missing for Thirteen years. We join her right at the beginning of her escape and see how she not only readjusts to life on the outside but how her family and friends from 13 years ago adjust to having her back and how the police handle her case.

I don’t think its based on any true story but its worth the look.

I think what hit me so much in the first episode was the two police officers. Usually we are force fed the story that male officers have no empathy and even less empathy towards female victims and that female officers are the only type that can be trusted in situations like this. Or at least that is how I’ve always felt. This time out it is the female detective who is a cold bitch towards Ivy Moxam and the male one who isn’t, then again you get the faint feeling that the male detective has a bit of a crush on Ivy for some strange reason.

In fact the weakest part of this story are the police. They don’t make them look nice, they don’t make them look bad. They just exist to throw all the different feelings at the wall. That isn’t to say the two actors, Richard Rankin and Valene Kane, are bad. In fact I’d say it was the complete opposite. The writing of their characters make them extremely unlikeable and sometimes outrageously stupid but the actors themselves rise above it and give both of the characters, well, character.

D.S. Lisa Merchant is such a hard character to like. Seriously hard to understand too. For me the moment we met her it felt like she was doubted Ivy purely because the police sketch of what she COULD look like 13 years on didn’t look like the girl sat in front of her. Even though the photo of Ivy 13 years back was the spitting image of the girl sat in front of them. She goes into interviewing Ivy with the mindset that she’s guilty or lying. You see a small amount of evidence gathering being performed on Ivy but no psychiatrist or proper medical examination to determine just WHAT she’d go through. Merchant spouts things off easily enough but has no empathy or even attempts to look at Ivy like she’s anything but suspicious.

On the flip side D.I. Elliot Carne only looks at her like a victim. He doesn’t want to push her because he doesn’t want her to mentally break down. He’ll come up with any excuse for her behaviour and tries to see the world through the eyes of a 26 year old who has spent the last 13 years held prisoner.

The problem is that there is no inbetween with them. Its all or nothing on two separate ends of the line.

For the story to really work we need them two to look between their two points of interest and investigate the murky inbetween world. Ivy might be 26 now but she’s been locked up for 13 years. They keep asking her what day you were taken like 13 years means nothing.

As a viewer we then get the problem that we see the state Ivy is in when she leaves so it is extremely easy for us to instantly take Ivy’s side. Ivy herself isn’t talking though. She wants her life back and she’s doing everything to ignore that 13 years have passed. You aren’t going to find out anything about what happened from her willingly so Carne and Merchant are the two people who have to investigate what happened and break open the seal in Ivy to let the audience know what happened.

It is just so hard to watch that though when the two officers are trying to force it from two different angles. They don’t work together and all you get is the picture of two people saying they are trying to help whilst in fact they are torturing someone.

With all that being said it was still a interesting show.

Because you don’t know. They keep coming up with things that make what Ivy says look bad. Ivy acts weird, not that I’d be able to tell what weird is for someone who has been locked away for 13 years. In all though there are just moments that make you shake your head. She was talking to the lady who they have stationed with her about having to eat fish when you are pregnant, the whole conversation was loaded with the question “was Ivy pregnant once? Did she have a baby?” but was just kind of left. There doesn’t seem to be anyone actually looking after Ivy, they’ve just kind of left her to herself to get on with it.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next (episode 2’s review will be out later tonight!)

One really cool thing that the BBC have on their website is a app where if you log in with Facebook (I think there is a option not too) it’ll show you what you’d miss if you were abducted 13 years ago. From photos of my friends to films that I didn’t see and music that I wouldn’t have heard. Its interesting just how much there is that I’d have missed out on and makes you think.

ESPECIALLY if like me you ARE 26. I am, like Ivy, a millennial. We’re known as being a messed up bunch anyway because of the extremely fast development of technology during our upbringing, the changes in the economical world and so on and changing of values. BUT at least WE grew up with it. We went from brick mobile phones to miniature computers that do everything for us. We went from writing notes to e-mailing. We went from being told “just put hard work in and you’ll go wherever you want” to seeing the reality of being stuck in between a generation who already have work experience so get picked and a generation below us who are being prepped to work through schemes brought behind us.

Ivy hasn’t had any of that.

2003 was a long time ago and the world would look so different from what it is now.

I do think Jodie Comer does a wonderful job as Ivy to show that she’s kind of stuck in time. The show hangs on her being able to portray that and I think she does it well. As I said you never know how someone like that will react to being freed, you just could never put yourself in those shoes and to make it so believable when no one really knows how someone would react is hard. I have a feeling her performance is going to be extremely under looked because already I’m 100% behind her character.



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