The Lake can be funny sometimes, and while Shamoun and Gavaris have enjoyable “buddy” chemistry, the story is 80s cornball.
This recap of the Amazon original series The Lake season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
The Lake season 1, episode 1 recap
Billie (played by Madison Shamoun) is a sixteen-year-old swimming prodigy forced to spend the summer away from her parents and with her birth father, Justin (Jordan Gavaris). This is an odd pairing, which I honestly thought were two best high school best friends spending the summer together when we first met them. It turns out Justin, played by an actor who could pass as high school age, is the birth father of Billie. (I’m certain he was required to grow some facial scruff to make him look older). When we see her mother and step-father on FaceTime, she complains she would rather be home fine-tuning her athletic skills. However, they feel strongly about open adoption, and she should get to know Justin.
Justin acts like a woke teenager and young adult. (He hilariously compares Neopolitan ice cream to every color of colonialism). He had her in high school before he went to Australia. This would make him, at a minimum, thirty. Yet he pouts when he has to wait thirty minutes to charge his hybrid. But I must say, they do have a BFF banter that would work in any high school comedy. For instance, he suggests they sneak into a lakeside house his family used to own. He thinks it will be a fun, youthful shenanigan. Billie points out a black girl illegally breaking into a house plays out more like When They See Us than Wet Hot American Summer.
The series has some love interests for this duo. Billie has eyes on a teenage boy named Killian (Jared Scott), while Justin has his eyes on Killian’s father, Victor (A Million Little Thing’s Terry Chen). However, he is married to Maisy (Julia Styles), Justin’s stepsister. While he thought that his father had sold the cottage, he gave it to Maisy when he went away. Then, in an awkward transition, Billie loses a canoe jousting with some mean girls (Kerry, Terry, and Jerry) on land who are jealous of her getting close to Killian. She gets drunk when she snatches their liquor bottle. When she is caught, there is a strict no-drinking policy.
To distract the town matriarch, Ulrika, from suspending their boathouse privileges and paying a fine, Justin challenges Maisy to a joust on the lake. However, he makes it interesting. Justin wants the beautiful family lakeside cottage back. If he wins, he gets it back. If not, he doesn’t offer anything, so that point is moot. Victor steps in for his wife, and as soon as the match starts, Justin leaps off the canoe, and the game is over. I’m guessing this match will not be considered legally binding.
At the end of the episode, Killian visits Justin and Billie at the lake house he rented for the summer. Billie and Justin both share why they came to the lake for the summer. Billie was caught exploring her sexuality with a boyfriend. So, her parents gave her the choice of bible camp or spending the summer with her birth father. Justin tells Billie that he was left out of the will because he gave up her for adoption.
Finally, Killian visits. He drops off a care package and also leaves a sizeable, unmarked envelope. When they open the envelope, it is revealed that the will was amended to include Justin. Maisy does not own the cottage. It is in a trust. If she leaves, the property passes to Justin. This sets up the plot of the season for Justin and Billie. They are going to try and get Maisy to leave.
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