Review: The Nest

Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston in The Nest

The Nest, from the BBC, is a five part mini series streaming on Acorn TV. Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston star as a Glasgow couple desperate to have a child.

The Nest begins with a chance encounter between Emily (Sophie Rundle) and 18 year old Kaya (Mirren Mack). On a dark night, Emily bumps Kaya with her car. Kaya’s in the middle of an argument with James (James Harkness) and is threatening him with a broken bottle. This threat doesn’t seem to register with Emily, who wants to take Kaya to the hospital for her injured knee.

Mirren Mack and Sophie Rundle in The Nest

It’s the next day before Emily gets Kaya to the hospital. Emily tells her to ask for the nurse Hilary (Fiona Bell), who is her sister-in-law. While Hilary is caring for her knee, Kaya witnesses Hilary have a miscarriage.

Emily and her husband Dan (Martin Compston) arrive at the hospital. Kaya realizes that Hilary was a surrogate for them. Later, Kaya stops Emily on the street and tells her she’ll be a surrogate.

With that beginning, The Nest takes us through moral dilemmas, explorations of class and privilege, secrets held by every character, and many twists and turns in regard to the question of what makes a good parent.

Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston in The Nest

Emily and Dan really know nothing about Kaya. The man she was threatening, James, turns out to be her caseworker. He and his partner Janis (Liz Ewing) must visit her every week. But why? What’s in her background?

Emily wants her as surrogate anyway. They have one embryo left after years of fertility treatments and now surrogacy. Emily convinces Dan to use Kaya as their last chance. Of course, there are all kinds of problems following this impulsive decision. Several unrealistic choices pepper this drama and drive it forward, keeping viewers hooked despite the improbable nature of some of what happens.

Their approach to the surrogacy isn’t strictly legal in Scotland, especially since they agree to pay Kaya £50,000. This sum tangles up the narrative about who is using whom. There are other moral and legal questions, too. The arrival of Kaya’s mother, Siobhan (Shirley Henderson), from her home on the Isle of Lewis sets off a battery of problems.

The series is set in Glasgow, Scotland. Loving drone shots of the city are stunning. Emily and Dan live in a magnificent house set in the woods next to a river.

The series was created and written by Nicole Taylor. She brings interesting depth to the three main characters, and reveals their secrets slowly as the plot twists toward the end. The acting was top notch, as you would expect from this excellent cast. Shirley Henderson was exceptional, even among this stellar ensemble.

The series will be released in stages by Acorn TV. Two episodes will begin streaming on July 13, The remaining 3 episodes will air each Monday until the entire series is available.

Poster for The Nest

Take a look at the trailer.

What do you think? Are you going to give The Nest a chance?

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