Thirteen : Episode 2

So we were introduced to the main characters, the man that abducted Ivy (well not introduced but learnt of him) and we found out that he’s taken another little girl.

The race to find Phoebe is on.

This was a extremely hard episode to watch for two reasons.

One was because of the wonderful performance which I can not praise highly enough of Aneurin Barnard as Ivy’s former boyfriend and now married man Tim Hobson and the emotional rollercoaster he and Ivy find themselves on.

The other was because of how horrible and distasteful I find D.S. Merchant at every turn of the investigation and how annoying I found it that even though she’s a total bitch and at some points D.I. Carne looked like he wanted to punch her lights out we still had to watch them angrily snog each other like that is of any importance to the story.

We started with the detectives last time so I think we’ll continue to do so this time.

In episode two the aim shifts. They aren’t just looking for Ivy’s kidnapper any more, they are looking for him to save another little girl. To do this its time to push Ivy a little more. I understood that, I had absolutely no problem with that. AGAIN there was no inbetween though. It wasn’t taking a girl that obviously WAS abused (or has Merchant not seen the damage to the girls body?!) and trying to get her to remember things and talk to them it was about making her into the bad guy. Merchant’s aim stopped being about finding Phoebe or even finding out what happened to Ivy and more about putting Ivy out of the picture completely. Whether its just because she wants to capture this guy and be the good guy or because she doesn’t like how close Carne and Ivy are or just because she doesn’t like Ivy I don’t know but as I said it became very nasty.

They find out, in their investigations, that Ivy lied to them. They didn’t try to put context to it or get someone in to put context to it for them. No specialist in Stockholm syndrome or grooming have been called in. That hasn’t happened and the way these two are going it never will. There is no clear logic from a psychological point of view being put to Ivy and her actions. Merchant has all the right words but she uses them wrong and in the wrong context. Someone suffering from Stockholm syndrome or has been groomed or anything else is someone who needs help. Not a highly strung bitch snarling in their face and making them feel worse then they probably do about something that they haven’t actually done.

If the intention of the show is to make the audience sit in the middle ground between Ivy being innocent and something else then they’ve done a poor job of it. We’ve seen the scars on Ivy and we’ve heard her talk and its obvious she needs to be talking to someone more caring and professional then Merchant and Carne. We’ve never seen her talk to anyone whose actual profession could determine anything about her though. Therefore as far as I have seen most of the audience are either on Ivy’s side or think she’s a liar. They aren’t presenting us with a middle ground or any actual facts.

For example…

I said last time that Ivy talked to the woman who is with her about pregnancy. It rang alarm bells for me about her once being pregnant or having a baby. They also in that episode said she’d have a medical examination. Us as a audience haven’t seen that happen and not only that if it has happened we know nothing about it. That whole conversation is left up in the air. We know she’s had sex, we don’t need to second guess that, she even says it in this episode, but everything else?

When Carne and Merchant take her to the basement that she’d been prisoner in for 13 years she acts “strangely” according to Merchant. Carne is the voice of reason but again no middle ground is sought. For me it looked like someone going back to the one place they understood. 13 years of living in that room and you’d wonder why someone would return? When she says that the basement, the basement that was bleached and completely gutted, and says it was “our” place Merchant automatically jumps to “well she can’t be too upset about it” whilst Carne jumps to “its all she knew.”

Neither of them question the OUR.

Mix these two things together. OUR place? Does it have to be hers and her kidnappers? There is a whole house including a bedroom that they know that Ivy slept in at some points especially for sex that could indicate it being THEIR place. So why would the basement be their place? So who is this OUR? Was there other girls? Did they look at the examination Ivy apparently had and see whether or not she’d ever been pregnant? Was the baby alive? Did she live down there with a baby? Or did she lose the baby? Could her being angry about it all changing have something to do with the baby? Maybe she was left there with the dead baby?

Why would detectives jump to one conclusion and completely ignore any others?

Its hard to swallow that.

Again later on they find out she lied completely about the one day she was allowed out, after knowing she’d lied when she said she was never let out. I think this one day that they can prove she left the house was back in 2003 or 2005, those two dates are stuck in my head and I don’t know why. If its 2003 then it would be the year she was abducted.

Merchant see’s the tape and automatically basically assumes that Ivy was there on her own free will. She doesn’t get someone in to assess Ivy, nor does she try to understand why Ivy would happily run around after her kidnapper. At this point to Merchant he isn’t even a kidnapper. To Merchant Ivy wanted this. She’s not going to put any of the other evidence together and look at all possibilities. She even pretty much screams in Ivy’s face that if anything happens to Phoebe it’ll be her fault and plays Carne and Ivy off of each other in some sick fashion knowing that he feels for her and that she trusts him.

Again if this is the shows attempt at saying, actually Ivy might not be the best witness, it doesn’t do that. It’ll either make you up in arms about her being a liar or make you dig in deeper to defend her.

Personally I think Jodie Comer plays the part perfectly. The story isn’t really being told through Ivy its being told around her. Its like a mystery that we have to solve and Ivy ISN’T the one that will solve it for us. That is why I love it so much. Comer doesn’t give anything away. The way she moves, the way she acts, the way she just generally is makes you think so much. I personally have no doubts that she’s been abused and that she needs help. None whatsoever. I also have no doubts that she isn’t the most reliable witness and that she is suffering from something that would hinder her helping any other cases. Unlike the so called professionals in the TV show though it would also be my clue to get her help and leave her the hell alone. Comer plays it perfectly.

That is only one half of the story though.

Whilst the investigations are ongoing the other part of the episodes are about Ivy getting back to having a life. Its where Comer really shines and where you really do lose any chance of people not wanting to get behind her as a victim.

Episode 2 stood out more then episode 1 because of the presence of Tim.

Tim was Ivy’s boyfriend at the time of the abduction and obviously there would be scars still left on people close to her. He came back into her life in episode 1 but his presence was felt much more in this one as Ivy clings to what she remembers about her old life. 13 years ago as a 13 year old it was all about her feelings for Tim. 13 years down the line and Tim is married, he’s grown up, he’s obviously in shock and has a lot of feelings surrounding all this and finds it hard to juggle reality with what his heart wants. At no point do you get angry or upset with Tim though. He lies to his wife and kind of to Ivy, he leads Ivy on unintentionally and makes the situation worse but Barnard is able to portray that Tim is also a victim. As does Katherine Rose Morley as Ivy’s baby sister Emma. More so then the parents do.

13 is such a strange time in your life. He possibly had the love of his life torn from him. No body was ever found and he had to just give up on someone that he loved. It isn’t like a adult or even a small child. That love would have been tangled with so many hormones and changes in his life. Teenage years are hard enough but to add something like that to it would be such a torment.

The same for her little sister but even more so. Emma demands to be part of her parents conversations because she didn’t want to be locked out of it all like she was as a kid. When these things happen it tears families apart and its obvious that the parents never really thought about how Emma felt or what Emma went through.

The scenes between Emma and Ivy make me cry. When Ivy asked Emma to do her makeup the look on Emma’s face just broke me.

It was 13 years of their lives with Ivy taken from them too and I think as much as they’ve gotten the investigation wrong they’ve gotten these two characters right.

The scenes between them and Ivy work so well because they act like humans. Because they are victims and they, like Ivy, need to heal. The two Detectives are too busy with their own agendas that they don’t really see any of these people as people any more. None of the other adults are look at Ivy through the lenses of a 13 year old. She isn’t a grown up. “I’m a grown up you know, I’ve had sex” does that sound like a grown up? She’s 26 and regardless of anything else has obviously been kept in the mind frame of a 13 year old all these years. Emma and Tim, because they need to heal, act both as a grown up and as the child they were 13 years ago when someone that meant the world to them disappeared without a trace.

If anything I say puts you off watching it just watch it for those two. Some of the most heartbreaking scenes on TV so far this year. Lovely pair them.


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