The Nest concludes with a moving and earned happy ending, as everyone is forced to confront not just what they want but why they want it.
This recap of The Nest Episode 5 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Somehow, against all the odds, The Nest managed to conjure a happy ending – for everyone, no less, and as an added bonus it even felt properly earned. All throughout the BBC’s surrogacy drama we’ve had ethical dilemmas, narrative urgency, the mysteries of dead junkies and missing embryos, but for the first time tonight we got genuinely moving character drama. There were no bells and whistles or major game-changing revelations, just two parties, both of whom had the best interests of an innocent child at heart, trying to determine how best to care for that child between them.
This, I suspect, is why The Nest bothered to introduce the unexpected wrinkle that baby Neve wasn’t biologically related to either Kaya (Mirren Mack) or Dan (Martin Compston) and Emily (Sophie Rundle). DNA was taken out of the equation, and all that was left was love and responsibility. As more of their respective lives began to crumble away – Kaya’s identity was revealed during a media furor, while the unsavory origins of Dan’s business became public knowledge – more focus was put on what everyone really wanted, and why they wanted it. Hilary (Fiona Bell), her own marriage having collapsed, gave Emily a reality check that, ironically, probably saved her relationship with Dan. She stopped thinking in terms of what she was entitled to and began thinking in terms of what was just; in so doing, the decision was made to withdraw their legal battle for custody. They decided that, if they loved Neve, they couldn’t take her away from the woman who had carried and birthed her.
Throughout much of The Nest Episode 5, Kaya, led astray by her delusional alcoholic mother (Shirley Henderson), believed that motherhood was the second chance she wanted – needed, even. But once she ousted her mother, who it turns out was more responsible for the so-called murder of her sister than Kaya was, she realized that she didn’t want the baby. All she wanted was a life of her own. But she couldn’t abandon the child to get it, so she vouched for Dan and Emily. They lost everything because of what she helped to expose – money, the loch-side house, their public reputations – but they gained the one thing they coveted most of all. And that was all they cared about.
Before it bowed out, The Nest was careful not to forget what was most compelling about it in the first place – that a wealthy couple had leveraged an enormous imbalance of power for their personal gain, and this was delivered in the form of a dynamite speech by a family court judge who spelled out the deeply unethical and manipulative nature of the whole arrangement. It was a bad, faintly outlandish situation made deeply human and relatable on the strength of solid writing and fantastic performances. One of the best and most consistent shows of the year so far.
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