Not that I have any personal experience with abduction cases, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Ivy’s adjustment is not going well. After the disastrous encounter with her former boyfriend Tim (and his wife, doh!) at the end of the last episode, Ivy is grabbed outside of her house. It turns out to be something of an anticlimactic cliffhanger, though. Ivy is rescued from her attacker by her sister and father. The culprit (in this case) turns out to be the father of the still-missing Phoebe, who was abducted shortly after Ivy’s return. This is all blown off rather quickly, but as the episode plays out, it grows harder to accept Ivy as the innocent victim. Maybe Phoebe’s aggrieved father isn’t as far off base as we think.
The entire Moxam family is slowly disintegrating before our eyes. Emma’s preoccupation with her sister is taking a disastrous toll on her engagement. I can’t help but feel bad for Craig. Never mind the coitus interruptus and being forced out to sleep on the sofa, he can’t even properly vent his frustration without looking like a complete dick. How would that work, anyway? “I realize your eldest daughter has just been returned after being locked up in a basement and probably sexually abused for the past thirteen years, but your other daughter is being sort of insensitive to my feelings. Can you do something about that?” Poor Craig. He’s just in a really unfortunate spot here. No wonder he spends family movie night making pootie faces into his beer.
And then there’s Dear Old Dad. After Emma drops the parental gossip bomb about his affair on Ivy, Angus suddenly becomes persona non grata and is ordered out of the house. The tragedy here is that he claims to have seen his side dish earlier in the day to cut her loose and return to his family full time. Did anyone else catch the secret flash of smug satisfaction on Ivy’s face when Angus bent to pick up his rucksack? It flashed like a lens flare and was gone, and was even more subtle than Sansa Stark leaving the dog kennel, but it was there. I didn’t imagine it. Right?
Poor, luckless Tim barely makes it through the front door. Not that he deserves much after leading her on like a doofus. We’ve all been there at some point, dude. But you still have to wallow in it if you’re going to learn your lesson.
Even DI Elliot is unable to escape the curse of the suddenly poison Ivy (heh… poison Ivy… I made a funny). His attempt to interview her without his partner present in order to get her to open up backfires miserably on him. The biggest development in the mystery this episode is the discovery of the existence of Mark White’s mentally challenged brother. While being questioned on the topic, Ivy resolutely clams up. In fact, one could say she aggressively avoids the line of questioning with an angry tirade aimed squarely at Elliot. His interview doesn’t go sour so much as it shrivels, falls from the vine, and bursts into dust when it hits the ground. Poison Ivy (yep, I’m running with it) cops all the attitude, causing Elliot to tuck his tail and run.
There seems to be a pattern developing here. But Ivy wouldn’t be purposely driving every male from the household, would she? That would be either really crazy or really sinister. Considering the discovery of a body bag in Smith’s basement, my vote would be both. My general assumption is that Smith’s brother will be the occupant of the body bag, but we’ll have to wait until next episode to find out. Grr. Why didn’t I wait and binge watch this thing? It’s really not doing my blood pressure any favors.
Can we take a moment to discuss the performance of Jodie Comer? To call her portrayal of Ivy Moxam textured is an understatement. Sure, the writing and direction is purposeful and driven, but you really need the actor to step up and sell this story. And she is selling the hell out of it. While it is possible to dismiss Ivy as a wounded bird on the surface, Comer’s subtleties seem to betray a much more sinister agenda. DS Merchant’s discovery in the basement at the end of the episode confirms at least that much. Playing the role of someone who is putting on a performance of deceit is a mine field of overcompensation and stretched believability. Comer, however, seems to be performing effortless grande jetes back and forth across that mine field. It’s the oh-so-subtle hint of a smile during her father’s departure. It’s the shifting in her eyes from doe-eyed victim to complicit sympathizer to calculating criminal. It’s the way she is manipulating every single person around her by playing her victim card. Or maybe this is all part of her readjustment after the trauma she claims to have faced.
Nah, I don’t buy it, either. Is it time for the next episode yet?