Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) tries to tackle the disappearance of a local transgender teenager in channel 5’s eight-part series BELLEVUE.
Set in the Blue-collar town of Bellevue, the first episode starts with what can only be described as a confusing sex scene that only makes sense when it ends abruptly some time later. At this point we discover the premise of the series; the disappearance of teen Jesse Sweetland. All that’s left at the crime scene for Annie and her team to grapple with is a denim jacket, a tooth and some x-rated images. Creepy.
It becomes clear as the episode progresses that the teen was troubled, but fellow detective Brady Holt (Billy Maclellan) takes it one step further to say that the teen was “into some weird s***” in response to the boy’s transgender identity. This uncalled for helping of transphobia was little other than completely unnecessary. When Brady gets over his own prejudices and Annie doesn’t get over her past, together they form a confusing coalition to find Jesse.
There are a handful of important characters in this episode with more to come as the series goes on. First and foremost is detective Annie Ryder, our confused and confusing detective. It becomes evident quickly, that Annie will have to battle it out with some of her own demons as the disappearance takes a dark turn.
Then we have her daughter Daisy (Madison Ferguson), whom despite being twelve, engages in some pretty grown up conversations with her Mother.
We also have missing teen Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neill), who is torn between a ‘nature’ and ‘jesus’ dichotomy, and his unstable mother Maggie (Victoria Sanchez). Then there are fellow detectives Brady Holt and Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor).
This might not be a secret but I was not a huge fan of episode one. I liked the way Bellevue town is presented: as an ‘ordinary’ place with nice people and a couple of strange looking mountains. The atmosphere successfully felt eerie.
Overall however, I came away feeling incredibly confused. A Lot of things were not explained to the viewers very well. Watching the episode made me feel like I was stuck in an awkward social situation, where I’m sat with two people who appear to be speaking in code. I had no idea what was going on.
The episode played up to all the cliches: the racy photographs, a dodgy religious institution and a detective who suddenly needs psychological help.
If cliches are your thing then brilliant, but for me personally episode one did not make the cut. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the series pans out, we could also find that things unravel in the next few episodes. Just hopefully not too slowly.
- You can catch up on My5.