Friday, April 8, 2016

Thirteen Thoughts on Thirteen.

Contains spoilers across the season. It’s all up on iplayer so why not go binge – the (only) advantage to BBC3 being online is that content stays up a lot longer!


Jodie Comer as Ivy Moxam

  1. The actress who plays Ivy (Jodie Comer) is really great at showing her both broken but hopeful of what her new world might bring. She’s mesmerising and her performance carries the show. The way she is 13 and 26 at the same time is so moving and seeing her grow into a new sense of herself is fascinating.
  1. Ditto her sister. What a great performance and character. And Ivy’s best friends Tim and Eloise. You really feel their loss and how their worlds are wrenched back into realignment when Ivy comes home. There is a great supporting cast of young actors here. Ticking the BBC3 box there!
  1. Five episodes was a brave decision – that mostly paid off. The entire show didn’t really stick to a narrative that paced predictably so it worked, even though it felt a bit clipped – it doesn’t feel cut short. We saw a situation for a period of time and that’s that. Apparently there isn’t likely to be a sequel and for the most part I think the arcs were resolved enough that the narrative wasn’t left hanging but it still felt real.
  1. The police procedural side of this show feels way off the mark. There is no way any police investigation would be run like it is run in the program. There is next to know psychological support for Ivy; she is returned home very quickly – without in house protection; the fact she has clearly been recently physically assaulted is ignored and OH MY GOODNESS SHE IS A VICTIM, STOP IMPLYING SHE IS COMPLICIT WITH HER ABSUSE. WTF? Also getting the female cop to say all this shit about Ivy choosing to be with her abuser does not make it an acceptable point of view. I actually think the whole cop side of the show was the weakest element – it actually often made me furious while I was watching. That I stuck with Thirteen is testament to Ivy and really great performances.
  1. It was a good choice to keep the Scottish accent. Always keep a Scottish accent!
  1. The situation that Phoebe is abducted is completely different to what happened to Ivy so why everyone is so fixated on working out how it happened is such a waste of time. Obviously Mark White has only kidnapped another girl because Ivy escaped. Why isn’t there any decent psychological profiling going on in this police department?
  1. Thank goodness the other little girl was ok. Poor little Phoebe getting dragged into Ivy’s nightmare. That scene where she steps out of the lift was such a relief and a really nice shot of what we are feeling as an audience in the cop’s face. (Incidentally a cop that has barely said two words in the show before gives great face here).
  1. The writer of the show (Marnie Dickens) has been quoted saying she wasn’t interested in exploring the pathology of the villain – but it would have been nice to have had a little more explanation of his behaviour. Crackpots don’t just come out of nowhere – they are made. It would have been nice to have a smidge more exploring the lines of the abuser/captive relationship grey area explored – especially as we have the cops bashing around like idiots proclaiming ‘YOU CHOSE TO GO BACK TO YOU ABUSER THAT ONE TIME HE LET YOU OUT SO IT’S YOUR FAULT.’
  1. Any other policemen in this department do anything useful? One flirts badly. Another doesn’t have an active role until he saves Phoebe. No, because unlike every other police drama ever these people don’t actually work a case and evidence they just seem obsessively nasty and obsessed with Ivy. Oh I’m sorry she lied about things – she’s been locked up since she was 13; witnessed her captor/lover murder her only friend and had a miscarriage – woo! But really she’s just lying to annoy you. Take it personally! Asshats.
  1. Man, Tim’s wife comes off like such a bitch about the entire situation – and so does Craig. These “other halves” who cannot deal with the return of a lost loves come across as so petty in comparison to what Ivy and the people close to her have endured. I’m sorry, but get a grip.
  1. Ivy’s parents were beautifully written and performed. Their relationship with each other and their children and the pain and anger they have nurtured over the years she was away was really heartbreaking and rewarding to watch. What was one of great things about this was how Ivy tore them down from their pedestal from when she was a child and forged a new stronger relationship with them.
  1. The costume styling of this show was very real. I liked how the costuming reflected character and felt personal to each person. The moment where Ivy is given a piece of clothing early on is really nice – it’s a shame it isn’t followed through with more – but it did make me smile every time she wore the item throughout. For someone so disconnected from the world it gift many times over.  
  1. I want the Moxham kitchen. #kitchenenvy
 I know half of this list is singing the praises of the performances and the other half is bagging out the procedural – it is the major problem of the show, but I do feel it is worth watching and at 5eps, well, it’s no 5 season commitment.

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