‘The Replacement’ tapped into every working mum-to-be’s nightmare – what happens when your maternity cover appears to be taking your job, your friends, your life, from under your nose?
Morven Christie and Vicky McClure were well-matched in this slick urban thriller, set in beautifully lit Glasgow, full of pregnant *coughs* pauses, remarks that could be taken two ways and brooding looks as Ellen was first enthralled, then disturbed, then thoroughly suspicious of her maternity replacement Paula.
The skill in the writing meant that we became increasingly suspicious not just of Paula, but also Ellen, especially after we learnt her husband had previously been her psychiatrist. Who’s the real antagonist here?
And other questions…
1. Every sympathetic gesture and inquiry by Paula into Ellen’s wellbeing, even her phone call to Ellen’s husband, made her seem too sympathetic to be true. Was she genuinely concerned, or was it all a ploy to undermine Ellen’s self-esteem?
2. That whole pitch to the client that Paula ended up doing instead of Ellen… never mind her motive, why were they making a grandiose pitch for a library that they were already building?
3. Why did Paula invite everyone to Sunday lunch, and then somehow they all ended up at Kay and David’s? Strange to arrange a gathering at someone else’s house.
4. What is behind the aggro in Paula’s family life – visibly seething with her husband, shouting at her daughter – and the silent, separated lives?
5. Did Ellen’s bosses really want her to start her maternity early out of concern for her, or because they wanted Paula to take her place?
6. The decision got taken out of their hands, with Ellen sneaking onto the work site, falling over and being suspended after Paula reported it. Again, was this out of Paula’s concern, or self-interest?
7. Why did Paula’s husband tell Ellen about his wife’s efforts to meet the client, take photos of the library, etc? We know things aren’t all right between them. Did he accidentally drop his wife in it with Ellen, or was that a deliberate bit of stirring?
8. What was Kay’s problem before her fatal visit to the library? The obvious answer being an affair between Paula and the too-good-to-be-true David, or something a bit more unexpected?
‘The Replacement’ continues next week on BBC One. Catch up on BBCiPlayer.