More than halfway through its five-episode season, THIRTEEN raises the stakes with a series of personal crises for Ivy that we definitely saw coming. Ivy deals with the emotional fallout of learning Tim has a wife, while Carne and Merchant dig deeper into her past relationships to discover exactly what happened the day she was kidnapped.
To clear up the biggest question – who grabbed Ivy in the dark at the end of episode 2 – it’s Robert Tarl, distraught father of Phoebe Tarl, the girl who is currently missing. Robert is tackled by Emma and apprehended by the police outside Ivy’s home. Her family liaison officer Alia is promptly fired and Carne and Merchant step in to clean up the mess. But in the end it’s Emma who is the MVP of the night, first on the scene to rescue Ivy, and later offering up her room for the night.
Tim, meanwhile, (rightfully) feels guilty when he hears about the incident. After all, Ivy only wanted to be alone after she confessed her love to him and then realized he was married. All this begs the question: How in the world did that never come up? Sure it’s great for dramatic effect, but seeing as Ivy’s entirely family knew Tim’s relationship status, it’s high unlikely they wouldn’t have mentioned it.
The next day, Carne and Merchant interview Ivy’s old school friend, Eloise Wye, who was scheduled to meet up with Ivy the day of her kidnapping. Eloise scoffs at the idea that Ivy was romantically involved with Mark White while she was a student, weakening Merchant’s key argument.
Things get creepy when Ivy receives a mysterious love letter from White. Forensics is called in and the letter is analyzed. Merchant is hopeful they can use it to open a line of communication to White, but worried that White’s obsession with Ivy makes Phoebe disposable. At the same time, the detectives scour White’s childhood home and discover that he had a half brother, Dylan Hawthorne.
Though Ivy’s recovery and the investigation make progress, some aspects of the storytelling still feel stagnant. On the one hand, Ivy and Emma grow closer, Angus and Christina call a truce and share a bed for the night, and the detectives reach out to Mark White via press conference. At the same time, Carne and Merchant have the same old argument about Ivy’s motives, and the same old, half-baked, will they/won’t they chemistry. The Tim subplot feels weak as his wife (justly) complains about his lies and his unwelcome house guest from the past, Eloise.
A breakthrough comes after the detectives discover Dylan’s prints all over the house where Ivy was kept. In a private interview with Carne, Ivy doesn’t offer much help, but this time adds a reason: she doesn’t want to. Her admission erodes Carne’s unwavering faith in Ivy’s innocence, as he agrees to go to the dark side with Merchant.
Meanwhile, Ivy’s semi-happy family life crumbles around her ears. Emma unwittingly reveals that their parents are divorced, sending Ivy into a rage. Craig argues with Emma about their engagement and Ivy discovers that Emma didn’t initially believe they were sisters. The thread running through it all is clearly stated by Ivy herself: while she was gone, everyone gave up on her.
Over on the dark side of the moon, Carne breaks into the office of Ivy’s psychiatrist to find transcripts of Ivy’s private sessions – and hopefully clues about White. What he finds instead are the diary-like ramblings of a very lonely girl, which moves him enough to agree to stay the night at her house.
Merchant, on the other hand, discovers a literal skeleton in Ivy’s closet: what is presumably the body of Mark White’s brother, buried in the basement where Ivy was kept. Looks like Ivy has a lot of explaining to do, whether she wants to or not.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Thirteen airs Thursdays at 10PM on BBC America
Heather makes things for TV by day and writes by night (also sometimes by day). She is a fan of all stories that reflect life, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re set on another planet or in another time.
Heather West | Contributor