Stay Close season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

December 31, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 1
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps


A blindingly-paced opener wastes no time in establishing multiple, interconnected plot threads.

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A blindingly-paced opener wastes no time in establishing multiple, interconnected plot threads.

This recap of Stay Close season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.

A lot of these twisty, turny whodunit crime dramas, even the ones from far-flung corners of the globe, tend to start the same way. There’s a confusing cold open that won’t make real sense until later. Then, there’s a nice bit of domestic scene-setting as we meet our main characters and get a sense of their situation. In this case, that’s Megan and Dave, who’re happily engaged, getting married sooner rather than later, and evidently have some secrets. When Megan returns from her hen do, she finds a bottle of champagne and a card addressed to “Cassie”. This causes her visible panic, but when she looks at the house’s CCTV, she can’t make out the mysterious, hooded figure who left it there. All together now: She has a mysterious secret in her past!

Stay Close season 1, episode 1 recap

A lot of shows would devote half an episode or more to all this — Stay Close episode 1 barely manages six minutes, so eager is it to get viewers engaged, and then it switches focus immediately to Detective Mike Broome, a copper investigating the disappearance of Carlton Flynn, the son of apparently well-connected Del Flynn, who sounds like a cartoon version of a Cockney geezer but lives in a very lavish home with Carlton’s step-mother, Marlene, with whom the young man apparently doesn’t see eye to eye. Del is convinced that something bad has happened to Carlton in a way that speaks to him having more knowledge than he’s letting on here, but it’s the date that seems significant to Broome — April 16th is when he disappeared, which is eerily similar to that of the only case Broome couldn’t solve, the disappearance of someone named Stewart Green. As Broome and his partner, Erin, leave Del’s home, we get a flurry of exposition about this that also reveals a) Erin is Broome’s ex-wife and has a child with another man, and b) years after being unable to solve Stewart’s disappearance, Broome slept with his mother. Yikes.

This is a lot, obviously, and the tone is all over the place. The next scene is of a photographer named Raymond, who works for someone called Fester, getting jumped and having his camera stolen, and in the next, Megan attends her daughter Laura’s tennis match and spots a familiar woman in the crowd, who follows her to the bathroom and addresses her as “Cassie”. “Not here,” Megan responds. But where?

We learn quickly that Ray — seemingly a former war photographer, based on his dialogue with Fester — probably had his camera stolen because he has pictures of Carlton Flynn on there, wielding what looks like a sword in some woodland ruins (he has copies backed up in the cloud, which is what we see). And we also learn that Megan’s old associate is called Lorraine and is pretty adamant about dredging up Megan’s old life as Cassie. They’ve missed each other, apparently. Megan was determined to leave and never speak to anyone from that life, including Lorraine, ever again. And she apparently left behind a broken-hearted man, too. But the big question is what Lorraine wants, all of a sudden, and she explains that Stewart Green is “back”, having come to the club asking for Cassie. Megan is adamant he’s dead, but apparently not.

Tracking Carlton’s last recorded moments leads Broome and Erin to Vipers, a bar that used to be Stewart Green’s old stomping ground. Broome would like to speak to “the girls”, but the guy behind the desk isn’t exactly forthcoming. Are we to assume that Megan, aka Cassie, once worked here? It perhaps wouldn’t have been the most upstanding former career, but there’s little reason to keep it such a closely-guarded secret. Unless, of course, something else happened, the kind of thing that causes flashbacks to dark woodland. Megan “killed” Stewart Green, I suppose? And now he wants revenge? Either way, Megan is prompted to investigate Stewart’s old house — after his disappearance, the media heavily pushed the idea of him being a “family man” — which is currently on the market. Stewart’s wife is downsizing since one of their kids has already left for uni and the other is on the way, but it’s also, in a way, Stewart’s wife finally moving on after spending 17 years believing her missing husband might walk through the door at any moment. Megan gives herself away, hurriedly leaves, and then heads to the woods, where she has more flashbacks of herself, as a blonde, running, and this time they include brief snippets of a bloody dead body.

Megan next tries to track down Harry Sutton, a lawyer who went out of business doing pro bono work for “strippers and hookers”. He’s now running a tiny legal practice from above what appears to be a pet shop. Harry’s strung out on heroin, and the youths who seem to be keeping him that way and minding his “business” try to steal Megan’s jewelry on her way out, including her engagement ring. After playing a victim for a brief moment, she then brutally takes the two of them down — pretty easily, I might add.

In a flurry of late scenes, we see Megan try on her wedding dress, Lorraine return to work at Vipers, Ray pore over a photo album that suggests that he was the broken-hearted man Cassie left behind, and Megan’s daughter fondle Carlton Flynn’s unique necklace, having seemingly met him at Vipers. It’s all so much!

Okay, so, after one episode, let’s try and take account of what on Earth is going on here. Megan used to be Cassie, a blonde-haired sort who worked at a dodgy bar called Vipers frequented by Stewart Green, a supposed family man with an obviously dark secret life. Cassie possibly killed Stewart and then escaped that life, presumably with the legal help of Harry Sutton, who helped her to secure a new identity. But Stewart is apparently not dead and presumably wants something from Cassie, while Cassie’s broken-hearted former lover, Ray, finds himself inadvertently investigating the disappearance of Carlton Flynn, another missing person who also seemed to have frequented Vipers and who, while there, met Megan’s daughter, who currently has his necklace. Phew. It’ll be interesting to see where this one goes.

You can stream Stay Close season 1, episode 1 exclusively on Netflix.

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1 thought on “Stay Close season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

  • January 18, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Thanks so much for sorting this out for me! Complications galore!

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