I’ve slept on it and I’m still as confused as if I too had swallowed a fistful of pills. I’m referring to BBC’s The Replacement, the three-part drama that concluded last night, and disappointed millions whilst at it.
Let me recap what I did get. Ellen is a successful architect who is pregnant and fast-approaching maternity leave. She employs a temp to oversee the finishing touches of her new library but her overly-friendly Replacement, Paula, begins to seem amiss to Ellen. Paula is very protective towards the unborn baby. Intrusive, even. And they become obsessed with each other. We are left wondering which lady is the mad one. Is Paula trying to take over Ellen’s life, or are Ellen’s motherly instincts turning into paranoia?
The first two episodes were excellent. A delectable psychological drama is totally my thing! Difficulty came with watching the characters -bar Ellen- lapping up Paula’s artificial sweetness.
‘She’s evil!’ we wanted to shout.
So that brings me to the first severed end: Kay. Paula apparently killed Ellen’s best friend and colleague, Kay. But why did Kay phone up Ellen from the new library late on the night of her tragic death? She knew something. Something that had to be said in person at the library – the one place Ellen was banned from entering on risk grounds. Best friend, my arse.
With high expectations, I anticipated it ‘all to fall together at the end’ (as my dad always assures me when I exclaim, ‘I don’t get it’ during every programme). Instead it all fell apart.
Ian left Baby Lia on the balcony of their flat, foreboding her kidnap by Paula. He popped his carbonara in the microwave and the baby, as predicted, had disappeared when he returned. But can someone please explain (1) how Paula knew the baby would be on the balcony and (2) how the psychopath managed to climb up to the balcony and climb back down holding a cradle.
But the bigger question is what compelled Ellen to get into Paula’s car? To willingly be locked in a car alone with a murderous lunatic seems a silly thing to do. And then to take a handful of strange blue tablets under orders of the same lunatic also seems silly. Come on, Ellen. You’re smarter than this!
Upon waking from her heavy sleep (apparently they were sleeping pills?!), architect Ellen turns mechanic. Not being a mechanic myself, I’m unsure as to what exactly she does but it’s something clever with wires. The car flies through the garage door and Ellen hits the road James-Bond-style.
So it turns out that Paula is insane and Ellen was right all along. Woopee! Bathos of the century. I am baffled as to what the critics saw in it. Every respectable newspaper had nothing but praise. At least fellow tweeters saw the light.
Note to the BBC
I think I will forgive you for such a descent because most of your shows are top-notch. Line of Duty, The Missing, Death in Paradise, to name a few. I won’t mention this again to save you the embarrassment.