Jane's lies are catching up with her, while Pete's seem well on their way
The time has come for the regular mystery show to become the mystery cop show that also happens to be about a regular cop show. And wouldn’t you know it: That confusing narrative algorithm is Ten Days in the Valley’s sweet spot. Until the series’ third episode, no one seemed to really care that a little girl was missing, which was a problem, as it is the driving force of the show. And also because a little girl is missing.
But in episode 3, the appropriate amount of gravity is finally placed upon Lake Sadler-Greene’s sudden disappearance because we’re diving not just into the cocaine-addled mystery of it all, but more deeply into the logistics of how Detective John Bird will figure out whodunit. And it won’t be easy — pretty much every person in this show, “protagonist” included, is a bit of a sleaze. Setting the episode on the set of Jane’s TV show and further exploring just how every aspect of her life is riddled with anxiety and mistrust went a long way toward bringing a complexity to her character beyond “workaholic mother.”
But as the series continues, it becomes clearer and clearer that this may be Jane’s story, but it’s Detective Bird who stands to be its hero. Like us, he’s been tasked with sorting through the lies and deceit, motives and alibis, and every person who doesn’t like Jane to get to the truth of who took Lake. As Bird tells Jane when he finds out that she’s lied to him once again: “I don’t work for you, I work for your daughter.” And, finally, it feels like that’s true.
Unlike us, Bird doesn’t know it was that doe-eyed creep Casey all along, so let’s get down to the business of figuring out who, what, and why. The last time we saw Jane, she was watching a video of her daughter assuring her that she understood she was too busy to see her soon, but she was doing just fine. The video is both terrifying and Bird’s biggest lead so far. He watches it with Jane as she tries to figure out if there are any clues, but all she can think about is that the sunlight indicates it would have been shot just the evening before.
There is information to be mined, though, in the stark difference between the way that Jane watches the video of her missing daughter and the way Pete, a.k.a. “The Worst,” watches it. Jane is certain that the clothes Lake is wearing aren’t hers, whereas Pete is defensive to Detective Bilson, saying he couldn’t possibly know every outfit Lake has. Pete is sure that Lake is anxious but hiding it in the video, and Jane says she can’t tell. Bird explains to Jane that the video could mean a few things: It could be proof of life in preparation for a ransom demand or it could be intended to comfort her. OR…”it could be intended to torment you.”
That last one certainly seems true as Jane begins to unravel, thinking constantly of her daughter in the video. It’s no wonder that she briefly tries to take her mind off things with Gus the Police Informant Whom She Was Obviously Sleeping With the Whole Time. Gus is sweet and comforting to Jane, but he seems nervous once he finds out Bird’s team took her laptop. She assures Gus there’s no trace of him or his cop-tattling on there, so he doesn’t need to worry. Being with Gus in a comfortable setting is the first time Jane has flirted with the territory of being at all “likable.”
Bird’s team makes quick work of analyzing the anonymously sent video, and there’s great news: They’re able to narrow the sending location of the email down to eight blocks. The even better/even worse news is that there’s only one address within that eight-block radius: The studio where Jane’s show is filmed.
So someone from Jane’s work likely sent the video. Jane can’t even begin to think about who on her team could have taken Lake, so Bird tells her to think of a colleague, any colleague. She thinks of her director, Henry, and Bird tells her Henry did it. Obviously not really, but the goal is to give everyone a motive. For Henry it’s that they went to film school together and now Jane is his boss, and she also recently cost him a movie job. Bird says he goes on the list: “And remember, they’re guilty — all of them.” (Recap continues on page 2)
Okay, but some of them are, like, super guilty. Bird’s team rolls into the studio, intentionally making a bit of a spectacle in order to capitalize on honest reactions from the element of surprise. And if they were watching carefully, they would see Matt, one of Jane’s writers, casually peel off from the crowd, head into his office, open his laptop, and look at the video of Lake on the screen with a very guilty face.
But it couldn’t be that easy; we couldn’t just find out who took Lake at the beginning of the third episode, and also…it doesn’t really seem like Matt would take Lake. For one, we see that he has a husband and three children when he calls his husband asking if he can come get his laptop to permanently (like, really permanently) delete something from it. And also because…Matt didn’t take Lake. As he confesses once he’s caught trying to stash his laptop, there’s a reason the video is on his computer, and it’s not as bad as kidnapping Lake. But it’s also not great.
As Jane watches through a two-way mirror, Matt explains that a few months ago, while the show was on hiatus, he was toiling through a script draft for Jane when he was offered the chance to run his own show. So in a weak moment, he emailed Jane everything he was feeling having to work during what should have been vacation time with his kids. “I burned that bridge,” Matt says. “I napalmed it.” And then — the show fell through. He needed to keep his job on Jane’s show, so he found a guy who could clone Jane’s system, and then he went in and deleted the email. “You had access to her inbox?” Bird asks. “I have access to her inbox,” Matt clarifies. Apparently, one he had access to his boss’ emails, seeing what made her tick, he couldn’t stop reading.
So that’s why the video was on Matt’s computer, but it’s not the only thing on Matt’s computer. Many of the things Jane might have deleted from her computer’s hard drive, Matt still has on his. Things like her communications with Gus. And given that Commander Gomez recently tasked Detective Bird with finding out where Jane Sadler is getting all of her very specific police intel, that’s not great. Up until this point in the episode, Jane and Bird have been working well together, finally functioning as a sort of Lake-saving team. But given what Bird is about to find out, she shouldn’t expect him to protect her or her informant/boyfriend from whatever wrath the head of police knowing about their connection might bring.
If you’ve noticed that Pete has been mostly absent from this recap, it’s because he’s been keeping his terribleness away from most of the other main characters this week. When we first see him, he’s leaving a voicemail for Sheldon, whose party Jane got super high at last week. He wants Sheldon to call him back because “for god’s sake, this is insane.” He seems pretty stressed, which is only compounded when he sees a kid stapling a poster partially over Lake’s missing poster on a telephone pole. So he gets out of the car, screams, “That’s! My! Daughter,” and punches the guy so hard in the face that we don’t see him get up for the rest of the scene. Now I believe for about two seconds that Pete’s punch would be that powerful, but I believe for two centuries that Pete would do something that stupid.
The police are called, so Pete calls Casey — she thinks to come lend some support, but as he makes clear when she starts asking where he was during the alibi time period he’s asking her to lie about, he’s just asked her there “TO DEAL WITH MY CAR.” For some reason, Casey is into this dude. She mouths “I love you” as he’s taken away in a cop car; he nods. (Recap continues on page 3)
At the police station, Pete is taken straight to Detective Bilson, whom I like because she always makes Pete look dumb. She asks him what happened to his black BMW and he says he sold it for a few thousand dollars. “Eighteen thousand…cash,” she corrects him. It doesn’t look great to be unloading assets during a time like this. Maybe Pete is leaving town. Maybe he needs the cash because he owes people money and Lake has being used to pressure him. Maybe it’s everything bad because Pete is the worst. In any case, the victim doesn’t press charges, so Pete is free to go, but Bilson reminds him that if his alibi — “Catherine Collins” — keeps avoiding coming back in for questioning, it’s going to be a problem.
So Catherine Collins comes in, and she is, of course, Jane’s assistant Casey, which Bird, of course, notices: “Casey. No wonder your ass has been avoiding us.” I’ve always liked Bird, but he grew on me even more in this episode. She tells Bird what she told the other detective previously (and the lie that we’ve been hearing Pete repeat to her constantly): that she was with Pete all night during the time of the kidnapping. Bird asks if Pete has ever talked about taking Lake, and she says he wants to see his daughter more, but no. So Bird goes back to his oldest trick: He pulls out the photo of the kid on the bike and asks Casey if she’s ever seen him. And she is the one person, it seems, who is willing to tell the truth about PJ: “He’s Jane’s drug dealer.”
That’s good news for Bird, who’s been looking for this kid everywhere, and bad news for Jane, who’s been lying about this kid constantly. And it comes just when Jane thought she’d gotten a win because Matt, in a step toward making amends with the boss he’s been spying on, helped her figure out that the hoodie Lake is wearing in the video came from the show’s wardrobe department, and is what she was wearing when Jane sent Lake home with Pete recently.
But that revelation is for nothing, because when Bird returns to set and she runs out to tell him, he informs her that she’s been intentionally obstructing his investigation, and he could arrest her for it. Instead (for now, at least), he’s brought an agent from Child Protective Services with him and she needs to speak with Jane — Jane, who is really not reading the room and is still frantically trying to tell Bird about the sweatshirt and that it must be Pete who took Lake (as reasonable a thought as it’s ever been, but beginning to sound a bit like a broken record). But Bird is having none of it. He tells Jane that her indiscretions are all on record now: “That is what you’re afraid of right? What everyone thinks of you, what kind of mother you are?…. You can stop running everyone around. Now you can be straight.”
I’ll believe that when I see it, because on Ten Days in the Valley, it seems no one is who they say they are. In our weekly end-of-episode check-in with Lake, we see her in bed again, asking when her mom is coming home. But this time we get to see who she’s talking to: a pregnant blond woman. Which is an exciting reveal, but doesn’t technically give us a lot. What does give us something to go on is Casey pulling up to that house in her Jeep and telling the pregnant woman, “It’ll be over soon…. Tomorrow, we end it.”
The Cutting Room Floor:
- I mean, obviously Casey was up to something, but is it really this simple? Is she the one who took Lake, or is she helping someone else? Why did she do it? Is she actually evil, or does she think she’s doing this for a noble cause? And who is that blond woman and why did her character need to be pregnant?
- Further, is Casey a normal nickname for Catherine, or is Casey going by different names? At one point, it sounded like Pete called her “Cath.”
- Police Commander Gomez’s brother is running for Attorney General, and that means clamping down on this highly accurate cop show that hasn’t even aired yet.
- The show-within-a-show is apparently called Internal, and much is made of its dramatic star Isabel and Jane’s connection to her. I really don’t know where that’s going, but I liked how it added a little more shading to Jane and the way she writes herself into her characters.