|Worth seeing:||for the faint promise of an interesting family drama that's suffocated under wooden performances, unconvincing dialogue and an arch narrative|
|Featuring:||Eve Best, Suranne Jones, Andrew Knott, Ben Addis, Dean Lennox Kelly, George Costigan, Hugh Quarshie, Judy Clifton, Rhiannon Clements, Stockard Channing, Yasmin Davies|
|Key crew:||Sue Tully, Emma Burge, Anne-Marie O'Connor|
|Broadcast date:||22nd May 2023|
Estranged sisters Becca (Suranne Jones) and Rosaline (Eve Best) travel to the Isle of Man together, when they receive the unexpected news that their mother has been found dead there.
What the discover when they get there is even more unexpected.
It seems that their mother had been carrying on a parallel life, with friends, a home, a job and even a lover, without anyone – even her husband (George Costigan) back in England having the slightest clue.
As Becca and Rosaline try to get to the bottom of what’s been going on, their already difficult relationship is pushed to its limits.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
At the heart of ITV’s 3-part family drama, there’s an interesting kernel of an idea – the fact that someone you think you know well could be leading a secret double life.
Having a premature death bring this to everyone’s attention – and forcing people to confront it without the person at the centre of the story being there to explain what’s going on also has the potential for an explosive drama.
But from the moment the sisters start to uncover the shocking details of their mother’s catalogue of secrets, the whole house of cards tumbles to the ground.
Nothing makes sense – nothing feels convincing – nothing hangs together.
Every supporting character exists solely to pop onto the screen to say something at a particular time and then recede into the background for someone else to reveal the next titbit of information. Some even just turn up in the Isle of Man, unannounced, eliciting more eye-rolling than surprise, or even interest.
Most of the acting – often from highly accomplished performers – feels wooden and almost none of the dialogue feels authentic, as characters burst into fits of screaming rage that last a couple of minutes and settle back down into mutual understanding – until the next secret emerges. People jump to the wrong conclusions about everything, for dramatic purposes.
It’s one of those 3-parters where if everyone was just upfront from the start, it could all have been over in half an hour, rather than making us wait 3 hours – which would be fine, if the denouement was anything worth waiting for.
There were sparks of hope; Suranne Jones is always a forceful presence and there’s a cute repartee that develops between her sister and – apparently – the only cab driver on the island.
But any promise was suffocated by a weak story, poorly told. A rare miss for Jones, more infuriating than enlightening, perhaps the best you can say about Maryland is that with only 3 episodes, it doesn’t waste too much of your time to see it through.
Perhaps – at a push – it will make you question whether there are any secrets lurking within your own family that ought to be addressed before it’s too late.