Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 10 Finale


Day 10 actually opens in the middle of Day 9, but who cares because this is it, the last episode, for sure, ever, in which all (or most, or, like, some) dangling plot threads will be resolved. Let’s get to it.

Bilson takes Jane for a long drive, ostensibly to calm her down before being taken in for child abduction. Jane starts rambling, as if in a disassociated state, narrating her life story, sort of, complete with flashbacks to her fling with Tom, her meeting with Pete, to  Lake as an infant, and to her own childhood. She admits she was a lying liar who lies, and says Lake is the only thing that matters.

Bilson is acting pretty weird herself – she recites a psalm about the Valley of Death, she has her own flashbacks. One implies she killed Quinn shortly after Jane visited him that time at his bar, or maybe she made him kill himself? Another shows Bilson, spattered in blood after killing Casey and her bro-in-law, hand off an unconscious, chloroformed Lake to some white guy we haven’t seen before, the guy who drove Lake to the cabin.  After the hand-off, Bilson goes home to wash away the blood, and is addressed as ‘Red” by her unsuspecting, nice-seeming, MS-stricken wife. Confirming what we would not have guessed, because it’s stupid: that the big bad guy in this story is so-named because of the brand of cigarettes she occasionally smokes. And we learn that when she did these bad things she was working for Police Gomez.

At Casa Jane, Pete, Tom, Ali, and Lake are being cheerily domestic, playing board games, grilling burgers and corn. Pete is still hella angry at Jane, and wants to take Lake home after dinner. Ali sees Tom being playful and affectionate with Lake, and feels a pang of I have no idea what – jealousy, regret, anger, love, annoyance? She calls Bird and asks what’s happening since Bilson took Jane, why is it taking so long to sort things out? Bird suddenly remembers that Bilson transferred over from narcotics when she came to his department, asks Buddy to track Bilson’s car, and goes off in pursuit of it.

Tom apologizes to Ali about trying to use the story of Lake’s kidnapping to further his career, then picks up from the mail a package addressed to Jane, and opens it. It’s a cassette tape wrapped in a note that reads, “Jane. You wanted the truth. Gus.”   Tom still wants a scoop, so he listens to the tape in Jane’s writing shed.

Still on that long drive, Jane mentions to Bilson that Lake recognized someone at the police station. Bilson stops at a gas station and tries to call Gomez, but can’t reach him. Jane spots a pack of Red brand cigarettes in the car, puts two and nothing together, and snaps out of her fugue state. She pretends to Bilson that Lake was probably lying, and didn’t see anybody, but it’s too late. Bilson drives out to a remote cliff-top spot that overlooks the ocean, and they get out of the car. Bilson confesses that she’s Red, and she took Lake. She pushes and shoves Jane until Jane punches her and draws blood. Bilson is about to shoot and kill Jane, and say it was self-defence, but Jane throws a handful of sand at her, takes a crazy dive down the hillside, hits her head hard on a rock, and passes out. Only to flash back while unconscious to when one of her mother’s boyfriends tried to drown her, another molested and possibly raped her, and her hateful mother refused to believe that these things happened. God, I hate the child-abuse-explains-all trope. Especially when it’s supposed to explain that because Jane was falsely accused of lying as a child, she became a liar/storyteller/seeker of truth as an adult. And therefore, it’s her fault Lake was taken?


Bird drives up and sees Bilson alone on the clifftop. He emerges from the car with his gun out, and roughs up Bilson until she confesses that she killed Casita Victim #1 (real name Rosa Garcia) on Gomez’s instruction. She and Quinn had been raiding and robbing drug dealers and gangs – nicely, without killing anyone –  just trying to make a little mad money on the side, as one does. When Gomez found out about this lick crew, he blackmailed her into being his hit man. Rosa Garcia was killed because after she was paid to falsely testify against Medina, she wanted more money.  And Casey and her bro-in-law were killed because … I’m not sure, actually. Maybe because Gomez wanted to pin the kidnapping on Gus as a way to avoid the truth coming out about Garcia.

Bilson offers to kill herself and swears she will never testify against Gomez, for fear of what he will do to her wife. Bird says too bad, cuffs her and throws her in his car. Then he looks down the hill and sees Jane’s crumpled body lying below. He runs down and fireman-lifts her up to safety.

Back at Casa Jane, Ali & Tom fight over the tape. Tom sees it as his ticket to a career-making story about police corruption. Ali says that to write the story would be to exploit Lake, who has been through too much already. If he writes it and has it published, Ali says they’re done.

Bird and Jane are at the hospital tending to Jane’s head gash. Ali comes in and gives Jane the tape (so Tom is not going to write the story?), which was recorded by Quinn (when was it recorded, how did Gus get it, and did Quinn kill himself, or did Bilson kill him? We’ll never know.) Jane thinks they can use the tape to incriminate Police Gomez but Bird knows Bilson won’t talk, and Quinn’s taped confession won’t be credible. He has another plan.

At home, Pete tells Ali he is too taking Lake home, and he’s going to sue for full custody. Ali blurts out that he is not Lake’s father, Tom is. Pete is devastated but insists Lake is his kid because he raised her. Ali makes a deal with him: she’ll never tell Tom he is Lake’s biological father if Pete sues only for joint custody, and allows Lake to stay at Jane’s tonight.

Jane knocks on Police Gomez’s door and is taken aback when a child answers. Turns out Police Gomez has three kids, and is a widower. Nevertheless, Jane and he hiss at each other. Bird walks up playing Quinn’s tape. Bird offers Gomez a deal to turn himself in, solo, and save his brother’s political career. He refuses until AG Gomez appears and  urges Police Gomez to take the fall so they both don’t. Also so all the cases that AG Gomez prosecuted won’t be invalidated and the criminals freed.

Bird summons some uniformed cops who’ve been waiting in the bushes and they cuff and arrest Gomez. He tells Bird he will come for him when he least expects it, and promises to rain hell on Jane. Were these threats in aid of a possible season 2 of the show, I wonder? So much for that idea.

Would you believe the episode isn’t over yet? Ali is at Jane’s, reading to Lake, who wants her mama. A news alert pops up on Ali’s phone that Tom’s story about police corruption has been published (so he did write it). Ali sighs and tells Lake that this is good news for Tom. But are Ali and Tom still breaking up? Don’t know. Ali asks Lake if she wants to know a secret, and why on earth would she, but sure. Ali is pregnant! And no one knows except Ali and Lake. How will this affect Tom and Ali’s relationship? We’ll never know that either.


Still more: It’s finally Day 10. Matt is on set, wearing a fetching combo of scarf, shirt, and denim (I know) jacket  in a symphony of blues. He convinces a reluctant Dominic to come out of his trailer and shoot his death scene. Bird and Jane watch the scene from afar. Bird has notes to give on how realistic it was, but Jane doesn’t care. They make a date to have Bird’s Memphis ribs sometime soon. Bird says Jane is like a song.

And STILL more: Jane and Lake are at the beach. Jane says she picked the name Lake because she loves water. Lake is a little afraid of water. Jane says water is good because, “It’s big, it’s deep, it’s everything – like you are, to me.” Yeah, I don’t get it either.

That’s a wrap on this crazy show that started out strong, as a suspense thriller about a TV showrunner, and devolved into a melodramatic cop show. It was entertaining to watch and scoff at, though, and fun to recap. And I loved the gorgeous and various shots of L.A., taken from the hills above.  I will be forever disappointed that the (Chekhov’s) candy so prominently displayed on Police Gomez’s desk on several occasions did not pay off, either in the show’s climax or finale, but I console myself with the thought that those Rockets/Smarties would have recurred for sure, if there were ever to be a season 2.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:


Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 9


We’re really in the home stretch now, as we  hurtle toward the Ten Days series conclusion, and – spoiler alert – my disappointment in that conclusion.

I take back what I said last time – that Lake being found safe on Day 8 was a deft structural move on the writers’ part. Because no sooner has Lake spent the night at police headquarters with Jane, Pete, a Child Protective Services officer that I will hereafter refer to as  Matron, Bird, and a bunch of other cops, then she and Jane are on the run. Without Jane’s phone, wallet or wits, apparently.

They’re running because Lake recognized Police Gomez from her knothole view in the cabin where she was held captive. She recognized him right after she failed to identify Gus as her kidnapper from a stack of photos that Bird showed her, and evaded Bird’s questions about who drove her to the cabin. Also after Bird left the station to go get yet more info on Cantina Suspect #1, whose real name is Rosa Garcia.

Jane panics, says she’s taking Lake to the bathroom, and runs out of the the building with her. Matron thinks Lake doesn’t feel safe with her mother, so the cops mobilize and go after Jane, who is now being positioned as Lake’s third abductor.

Jane jumps a subway turnstile (nimble work there, Kyra!) and they run onto a subway train. They get off the train when Jane sees some cops, and emerge in sketchy downtown L.A., where Jane makes the TERRIBLE decision to hide out at the home of Sheldon the drug dealer chef, which faithful viewers of this show (all 5 of you) may recall is a cool, large loft with a restaurant-sized kitchen.

Jane has been pretty frantic since the flight from the police station – she’s snapped at Lake several times and lied repeatedly about what they’re doing and when they’ll call Pete and go home. She tries to make Lake play a “game” that consists of inventing a new description of what Police Gomez looks like (she suggests red hair and a jean jacket, as if). Lake balks at this. She doesn’t want to be a liar like Jane.

For no reason I can think of except a need to inject more conflict into the episode, PJ the bike-riding drug dealer is at the loft, having an argument with Sheldon about money. Sheldon starts beating him up (wtf?), Jane expresses alarm, and in the confusion, Lake grabs a portable phone, runs into the bathroom, calls Pete, asks her to come get her, and describes the loft. He heads right over with Ali, Bilson, and some other uniformed cop.

The beating done with, Sheldon cheerily offers to make everyone grilled cheese sandwiches, which is a super weird thing to do under the circumstances. It’s also another nod to Roy Choi, the real-life chef who pioneered Korean taco food trucks in L.A. like the ones the Sheldon character operates, and who’s known for having devised the gorgeous grilled cheese sandwich featured in the movie Chef, the sandwich that I wrote about in this site’s former life as a food blog. (I can only hope Roy Choi is not also a violent drug dealer.) In the post-beatdown lull, Jane borrows PJ’s phone and calls Bird. She tells him Lake identified Police Gomez, and that she thinks Gus was Gomez’s flunky.

P.J., Jane and Lake sit around eating the sandwiches, which do not look anywhere near as good as the movie one, btw. A bleeding P.J. makes a joke about how his scars will help his eventual TV writing career (remember that?) and engages Lake on the topic of hip-hop dancing. I give the writers’ room points for providing continuity here by returning to the one interest Lake has consistently evinced a couple of times since it was established in the pilot, when she danced some hip-hop moves with Jane.

When Jane sees that Pete & co. have arrived, she tries to persuade Lake, if questioned again, to pretend she saw no one. Lake refuses and goes off with Pete, who is appalled that Jane brought her to this den of iniquity and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Ali and PJ exchange awkward hellos before PJ disappears for the remainder of the series. Jane asks Ali to make sure Lake is not interviewed by police. Jane gets cuffed and taken away by Bilson.

Bird visits his ex-wife Chantal at the D.A.’s office, or maybe it’s a courthouse, so she can have her last appearance on the show. He asks her how to find out about someone in witness protection, she tells him that without a warrant his best bet is to sweet talk a young marshal into giving info without one. He intimidates a young marshal instead, and finds out that Casita Victim #1, real name Rosa Garcia, testified against ganglord Vince Medina, and was authorized to be in witness protection thanks to AG Gomez. Oh, and when Bird checked in with forensics, there was no sign of Lake having been in Gus’s cabin.

Police Gomez asks his assistant Amira to tell Matt how the casita story ended – with the killing of Gus AKA Red (wink, wink) – so that the show can be written to reflect the “truth.” She visits Matt and relates the story.  He is suspicious about her motives in telling him, but goes ahead with it as a plot resolution. In a scene meant to be a bit of comic relief (or time filler?), Matt informs Isabel and Dominic, the actors who play the lovers loosely based on Jane & Gus, that Dominic is actually Red, and he is going to die. Isabel thinks that’s way cool, Dominic less so.

Bird goes to Police Gomez and asks him some tough questions. Was his brother sleeping with Casita Victim #1? (No). Then why did he give her a bracelet? (It was a gift, he was grateful to her for testifying.) Was Gus hired to kill CV#1? (maybe, says Gomez  – Gus visited Medina in prison several times). Bird doesn’t believe Gus was Red. Police Gomez tells him to stop fishing, because Police Gomez doesn’t understand that nobody puts Bird in a corner, or, for that matter, tells him where, when and for how long to fish.

What about Tom the intrepid journalist, you ask? Or you would ask, if anyone cared about the Tom character. He spends the night when Lake is recovered writing his version of the kidnapping story, with his phone off and his headphones on -– playing rap, of all unlikely music genres for a guy of his demographic, and more proof of his incompatibility with his Amazing-Grace-singing wife. Hey, what about the missed opportunity that slips by here for him to show his affinity with his biological daughter? He should hip-hop dance with Lake to some of that rap music! Anyway, he has no idea Lake has been found when he emails his story to Jamie the online news site editor. She kills it because it’s worthless now, and she lets slip that she was doing Ali a favour by talking work stuff with him, which pisses off Tom. He snaps at Ali, who is pissed in turn that he would exploit the family drama for a story. These two.

Buddy shows up at the house, he wants to question Lake once more for the case report. Ali tries to stop him, but Lake lets him ask one question – did she see who took her? Lake follows Jane’s instructions (aww?) and lies, says she saw no one.

We close out what is essentially Part 1 of a two-part series finale with Bilson driving Jane somewhere that isn’t the police station. Bilson mentions that her wife has MS, and she has spent years trying to protect her. She also flashes back to taking Lake from Casey’s house and laying her out cold in the back seat of her car.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 8


Two big events happen on Day 8.

One:  Lake is recovered safely and returned to Jane! With two episodes still to come, yet. I’m calling that a deft structural move on the writers’ part.

Two: While stalling on writing his story, stolid journalist Tom executes an impressive casual handstand in his study, and I finally clue in that Josh Randall, who plays Tom, also played the amusingly roguish Bruce Liddell in Ozark. I much preferred the character in Ozark, but good acting there, Josh! – the miens of the two characters are so different.

Okay, back to the missing child:  The episode opens with Lake singing and jumping around in a carefree manner in a sparsely furnished bedroom of a rustic-looking but not rundown cabin. There is a sandwich and a glass of milk on the floor, so she is not being deprived of food. She removes a small piece of batting that fills a conveniently eye-sized knothole in the baseboard, and looks through it, at… some unidentified pants-clad legs walking by in the adjoining room.

Jane wakes, in Lake’s bed,  from troubled dreams. Pete brings her coffee and is gloaty about how they spooned the night before, but within seconds, they are sniping at each other -– about his drinking, and about her sleeping with the cop (Gus) who they think has Lake.  This reminds Jane of her young adulthood, which we see in flashback, when young Jane’s unevenly crimped hair looks even worse than current Jane’s straw-like do. Jane’s mother calls her a slut and a liar because she had apparently said that the mother’s boyfriend had molested her.  (No more flashbacks to her childhood, please.)

Jane tells Pete if he wants to help he should go to an AA meeting, and she drives off to meet Police Gomez (his given name is Elliot), who has summoned her. On the way, she calls Bird, who suggests she not mention casita victim #1 when she meets Gomez. He also tells her he’s been taken off the case but is still working on it, because no one puts John Bird in a corner. Or on the sidelines.

Ali tries to question Tom about the mysterious story he’s writing, but he’s behind schedule (the story was due 2 days ago, dude) and struggling with it, so he asks if they can ‘pause’ with the fighting and tension until he’s done. He still won’t tell Ali what the story is about or let her read it, which pisses her off further. She goes to Jane’s house to pick up some stuff, and witnesses Jane and Pete squabbling. In Jane’s shed, Ali pokes around and starts drinking what looks like bourbon. When PJ the bike-riding drug dealer shows up, looking for Jane, he and Ali chat. Ali quickly ascertains that PJ is Jane’s dealer and asks to see his wares. She is disapproving of drug-taking in the way that someone who thinks Amazing Grace makes a good lullaby would be, but he defends Jane as taking drugs like Adderall for endurance, not as some kind of creativity booster. While he’s at it, he describes the sexy effects of MDMA to Ali in a fairly creepy manner, and the next thing you know, they’re making out.

Jane & Elliot Gomez meet. He thinks her story – that Gus told her about top secret police corruption shit, knowing she would use it on her show, then kidnapped her child when she did – makes little sense. He likes his narrative better – the one that paints Gus as a madly-in-love PTSD sufferer who kidnapped Lake as an act of reprisal because he felt betrayed that Jane was using him. Nothing to do with police corruption, see? Gomez asks her to give a press conference and speak to Gus through the cameras. He wants her to show the world Gus is a damaged individual and plead with him to return Lake.

Pete is summoned to the press taping to stand by Jane’s side, but he doesn’t stand by her, nor does he speak, so what the hell. On air, Jane goes off script pretty quick, tells Gus she’s knows he’s innocent and implores him to bring Lake back. In retaliation, Gomez confines her to the station for the rest of the day.

While hanging out at Buddy’s desk, Jane flashes back to when her hair was about a foot longer, thanks to some shaggy extensions that were still more flattering than the pyramid-shaped thatch she has now. She mentally relives some of her past seductive moments with Tom and Pete, not sure why. So we could rate her various wigs on a sliding scale, maybe?


Matt, along with the one other writers’ room staffer (a woman) that this show has allowed to appear in more than a few episodes, come to the station. They want to convince the police to let them keep shooting, for the sake of all the people that the show employs. Jane snaps that Matt has lots of great story ideas but should be writing from a “place of honesty” like she did. He retorts that writing non-fiction hasn’t worked out too well for her. We later hear that Gomez got the studio to agree that they won’t air the show until after Lake is found, but production will be continue in the meantime. On the way out, the female writer sees her girlfriend, who Female Writer thought worked at City Hall or somewhere. What? She’s actually the commissioner’s aide? Hmm.

Remember Gus, the ostensible kidnapper? He stops in at a fishing bait type store meant to be in San Jacinto, but the sign outside clearly says it’s the Rustic Canyon General Store, which is near Malibu and only 30 minutes from L.A. Hey, at least the location they used is in the right state, unlike some shows I recap (cough: Suits). Gus puts a cassette tape in an envelope, seals it, and mails it to Jane at her home in Studio City. When Police Gomez appears on the store TV identifying Gus as wanted by police, Gus gives the clerk $100 to delay calling him in, and goes outside.

In the cabin, Lake eats her lunch. From her spy hole, she sees two pairs of legs, wearing dress pants, walk around in the next room. Then she passes out on the floor, apparently drugged from the milk.

Attorney General Gomez, whose given name is Christopher, drops in on Police Gomez, and complains about how badly Jane’s TV appearance went. He asks who was killed in the damn casita raid anyway. Nobody, Police Gomez says. Bangers. And for the nth time, everything is going to be fine. Chris is not so sure.

Bird goes to visit a police buddy from the evidence department. The buddy gives him Casita Victim #1’s effects, including an expensive bracelet with a Latin inscription. He stops in at the station and tells Jane that Lake’s kidnapping is not her fault – this didn’t happen because of her relationship with Gus. He suggests that the cabin might be registered in Quinn O’Farrell’s name, and when the cops find an address and head there, he’s told by Gomez to stay away and keep out of the case. Yeah, right.

In yet another major breach of police protocol (and story logic), Jane convinces Gomez to take her with them to the cabin.

Bird goes to the jewelry store where the bracelet came from and finds out it cost $10,000, and was purchased by Christopher Gomez and apparently given to one Rosita Gonzalez. The inscription translates to ‘Fortune favours the bold.’ Bird drives out to the cabin.

Pete walks in on PJ and Ali, shirtlessly making out. In this week’s comic segment, he politely backs away and says he’ll leave them to it. Ali is mortified and sends PJ packing.

Police Gomez won’t storm the cabin until the SWAT team arrives. He and his one wordless henchman wait till the SWAT guys are 5 minutes away (why not wait the 5 more minutes?) and go in. He makes Jane promise to stay by the car, but of course she doesn’t. A shootout happens, wherein Gus shoots Gomez in his bulletproof vest. Jane  runs up and starts trying to talk to Gus through the door. He says he doesn’t have Lake and he didn’t do anything. Before he can say any more, the SWAT team arrives and one of them shoots Gus in the middle of his forehead. Bye Gus.

Lake is not in the cabin. Jane is having a full-on breakdown when Bird runs up. They  hear a sound from the trunk of Gus’s car, which is parked at a distance away. Lake is inside. She wants to go home.

Back in Jane’s kitchen, Ali and Pete are about to share a bagel and really talk about shit when Pete gets a call from Jane that Lake has been found, yippee!

Jane and Lake are cuddling, colouring and singing at the police station while Gomez gets his wound attended-to. Lake and Bird meet. Jane thanks Bird for everything he did, and especially for believing her. Bird says goodbye, and tells Gomez he’s coming back to work. He ain’t done yet.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 7

IMG_0455Jane begins Day 7 by waking up, on John Bird’s couch, from a dream about the casita raid. Bird has asked Jacob to keep her there because she gets into trouble when she goes out on her own, but after taking one bite of the omelette Jacob cooked for her, she’s off.

At the police station, Bird asks Buddy to try to identify the grey SUV in the murky gas station security video without saying why he wants the car tracked down. Police Gomez calls Bird in, tells him about the discovery of Quinn’s body the night before and says he feels like Bird is keeping secrets from him. He’s right.

Tom & Ali are at a doctor’s office for a progesterone shot appointment when Ali confronts him about having slept with Jane 9 years ago. Tom swears his fling with Jane was meaningless. He’s contrite about never having told her, and admits it was Jane’s idea to keep their fling a secret. Ali storms out of the clinic without getting the shot.

Jane drives to the studio. When the gate guard won’t admit her, she sweet-talks her way in by saying she is just there to pick up some files, and by promising to meet with the guard’s son to discuss a Zombie Detective spec script (heh) he wrote.

Inside, she grabs Matt and tells him that the real-life Red took Lake. Matt still thinks this is an insane theory because the script for the casita raid story has “gone wide” – nothing in it is secret anymore, so why would Red care if the episode shot and aired? Unless they’ve missed something about how it really went down.

Matt and Jane go onto the casita set, which is conveniently fully set up for the scene, but empty of people. They try to walk through the raid as it would have happened, and as they do, we see the raid fully dramatized. We’re shown the shootings of Victim 1: a female prostitute, and Victims 2 & 3: male gangsters. Bird drops in and uses his police knowledge to guide their re-enactment. Some mild humour ensues when he shuts down their assumptions on how to block the scene (especially Matt’s). No, the cops wouldn’t have entered that way, they would come in this way, and so on. We also see a dramatization of Quinn being blinded and deafened by the flashbang thrown by Red.  Bird points out that a flashbang is not a defensive weapon but an offensive one that stuns everyone in close range, so why would the cops use it? Matt goes outside to stall the cast and crew and keep them from entering the soundstage for a few more minutes. That’s when Jane and Bird realize that the raid was a cover for the assassination (two shots to the body, one to the head) of Victim #1, the prostitute.

Ali goes to Jane’s house and finds Pete there, drinking. He’s pissed that he found out from Tom that Lake called, Jane didn’t even tell him. He says Casey kidnapped Lake for love, but Lake’s second abduction should be blamed solely on Jane, because she is a lying liar who lies. Ali takes his booze away and gets him talking about how he met Jane, and more importantly, when. Ali twigs at last to the fact that Lake was conceived before Jane met Pete, and is Tom’s child. Away from Pete, she calls Jane and reams her out about this much bigger secret and lie. Jane says she didn’t know until she saw the blood work after the car accident earlier that year (but come on, now – parents are told their child’s blood type at birth, and Jane would obviously count back from her due date as soon as she learned it). Ali is furious, and says she will tell Pete and Tom the truth. But she chickens out when she goes back to a maudlin Pete (sidenote: how irritating is the Pete character and the actor who plays him? Very irritating) and he says that Lake is the only thing in his entire life that he hasn’t bailed on.

Tom meets with Commander Gomez, in a bid to get some details about the case that he can use to write his story (the story he was supposed to submit on Day 6). Gomez doesn’t want any info going out in the media that might jeopardize Lake, and he is right pissed when Tom mentions Lake’s phone call, seeing as Bird didn’t tell him about it.

Bird and Jane head to the coroner’s office to find out why Victim #1’s file is mysteriously blank as to her identity. On the way, Jane compliments Bird’s eye for detail, and says she could use him in the writers’ room. She also suggests he cook his famous Memphis ribs for her and Lake when all this is over. Is now really the time for flirting, Jane? Even if Bird did say yesterday how alike they are, with the workaholism and all.

The coroner’s office person is a friendly, pierced-nose, punk-hairstyled alternative type who dated Buddy once and would like to break his heart, so can Bird have him call her again? She looks up Victim #1’s file on her old-style computer and finds that she was ID’d (and her body claimed) after she died, but her identifying details have been erased. Ruh-roh.

Jane is waiting outside for Bird when Gus finally returns her many phone calls and messages. He wants to meet, but tells her to ditch Bird, because she can’t trust ANYONE.

That evening, on a hill road, she meets Gus, who is driving a bright blue sports car (not a grey SUV), though he is wearing a black leather jacket and jeans, just like the guy who was driving Lake around! They embrace. He claims not to have heard about Quinn’s death, but when Jane asks him who the dead prostitute was, he tells her to stop talking, stop her show, and if she wants Lake back, to stop digging. When Bird emerges from the shadows, unarmed, to talk, Gus shoots out Jane’s tires so they can’t follow him, and takes off. Not sure why Bird doesn’t call in the plate number so they can track him down though. Maybe he did.

Meanwhile, the dynamic duo of Bilson and Buddy have found the grey SUV. It’s been rolled down a hill and abandoned, it is definitely a police vehicle, and the person who signed it out a week ago was, of course, Gus! Who we see stopping at a convenience store to buy snacks, bananas, and a childrens’ tape recorder/player toy. Hmm.

Bird returns to the police station. Buddy & Bilson avoid his eye, because Gomez made them spill about the grey SUV and how come Bird didn’t keep them in the loop anyway? Gomez gives Bird shit and takes him off the case. Through clenched teeth, Gomez claims Gus was the head of the dirty crew, and the police have been building a case against him, which would have been resolved without Lake going missing if  Bird hadn’t interfered. Bird doesn’t seem to believe that Gus is Red, and he doesn’t want to be reassigned. He’d rather hand in his gun and badge, and walk out, after taking from Gomez’s desk a wrapped roll of candies that, according to my vast knowledge of North American food culture, are called Rockets in Canada, and Smarties in the U.S.


I’m unspoiled on this show – I haven’t yet seen the remaining three episodes currently available in Canada on CraveTV. But my bet is that this will turn out to be Chekhov’s candy, when Bird later finds a discarded wrapper among the evidence from the casita raid. Because I think Gomez was there, and the prostitute was killed to protect his brother the AG. Police Gomez may even be Red.

Jane comes home to find Ali in the house, and Pete passed out on Lake’s bedroom floor.  Jane tells Ali that (she thinks) Gus took Lake but she has to believe he won’t hurt her. Ali says she did not tell Pete the truth about Lake’s parentage, but not because she wanted to spare Jane. Jane plaintively asks Ali to stay, because she can’t do this without her, though she seemed perfectly fine without her that whole day, what with the flirting and joking. Ali just shakes her head and leaves.

Jane helps Pete get onto Lake’s bed. They are both afraid of tomorrow. They spoon and try to sleep.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. Here is its book trailer:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 6

All kidding aside for a minute, I gotta say that this show uses amazing, beautiful and haunting time-lapse establishing shots of Los Angeles – by day and by night – between scenes and under the title. I wish I could have used one on the book cover for my new novel set in L.A.

Okay, back to the snark: Day 6 begins somewhere in the wee hours, when Jane is acting like a crazy person. She listens to an old Pinocchio storybook recording on a kids’ record player, drinks brown liquor, has a blotchy face, curls up in a fetal position on the floor, and how many days has it been since she showered? Because her unflattering, straightened/fried hair style might be turning into dreadlocks now.

When Ali comes in near dawn and convinces her to go to bed, Jane says Lake is gone, and, “I can’t live without her. And I won’t.” Ali points out that Jane doesn’t know if Lake is dead, because clairvoyance is not one of Jane’s superpowers. She then sings Amazing Grace (weird choice for a lullaby, if you ask me, and also my husband, who turned to me during this scene and made me promise never to sing Amazing Grace to him under any circumstances, not that I would) to her until she falls asleep.

Bird tries to track down the origin of the flashbang handle found at the crime scene where Casey died. The serial number indicates it is not police issue, but military grade. Except when Bird goes, with his adult son Jacob (who is home from college, and with whom he is trying to spend some quality time) to the Marine depot on the way to help the son buy a suit to impress his new girlfriend’s family, he finds out that that particular batch of flashbangs was stolen from the Marines, but the stolen goods were later recovered by the police, so actually it was in police hands. This seemed like a time-killing plot development rather than a germane one, plus Jacob gets pissed off in the suit store and leaves when Bird takes a work call, so yeah, not Bird’s finest hour.

The big development of the day occurs when the car Lake is in pulls into a gas station. The still unseen driver locks her inside and goes into the station/store. I guess Lake can’t unlock the door from the inside because this is a police SUV, though there is no barrier between the front and back seats, and when she starts to climb to the front, she stops when she sees the police radio and doesn’t try getting out. (Why?)  Instead, she convinces a young woman pumping her own gas to pass her a cell phone through the car window, and she correctly remembers Jane’s number to call her. Incredibly, Jane answers a call from an unknown number, and has the wit to quickly question Lake on her whereabouts. Lake provides some generic identifying details on the location and describes the police radio, but she doesn’t know who she is with. The driver returns, Lake throws the cell phone out the window, and it breaks when the car runs over it while speeding away. So no one will be able to find the woman who lent the little girl in distress her now-broken pay-as-you-go phone, and yet does not bother to report this odd incident to anyone.

Jane decides that Bird cannot be trusted with the exciting new intel that Lake is alive, because bad cops are everywhere. Except Gus. He won’t answer her calls so she drags Ali over to his house to look for him. He is not home, his car is there, and his house is artfully disarranged – papers are strewn about on the floor just so – to look like he ran out fast, or someone else came and searched the place. A busybody neighbour appears at the door and refers to Jane as Gus’s girlfriend, which pisses off Ali, because Jane lied the last time Ali asked her if she was seeing anyone.

They decide to go look for Gus at a bar he frequents, owned by a friend. On the way, Jane speculates that he may have gone to his cabin up north. She doesn’t know where it is but happens to have a flash drive containing a recording of a flirty conversation she had with Gus in that bar, during which she tried to get more info out of him about the dirty cop operation, and he maybe mentioned the cabin’s location. She and Ali listen to it in the car, and she leaves it playing when she goes into the bar.

The bartender turns out to be: a) a strung-out looking guy named Quinn O’Farrell; b) Gus’s ex-partner, an ex–narcotics cop who was a lackey in the ‘lick crew’; c) melodramatically played by a hammy actor; and d) inclined to melodramatically warn Jane off telling the casita raid story, because there’s a dark secret hidden in it, and it’s the reason Gus is on the run! Also, Red, the lick crew boss, is a big bad guy who will kill you if you cross him.

Back in the car, Ali hears Jane say on the recording that she slept with Tom a couple of times, years before Tom met Ali, and she has never told Ali about this. Ali is mighty pissed about this betrayal, but doesn’t let on at first. She tricks Jane into driving to Bird’s house, where Jacob lets them in. When Bird arrives home, Ali tells him Lake called, and convinces him to trace the call off the record. After some heated words with Jane about trust and lies, Ali leaves, and checks into a hotel for the night so she doesn’t have to face Tom (still toiling away at his story) either.

Jacob wouldn’t mind talking with Bird about some family issues of his own, but Bird can’t, not now. He promises to take a few days off and visit Jacob at college when the case is done.

Matt, meanwhile, is trying to figure out the motivation of the Red character for the TV show, what with the final episode about to be shot, and the script needing work. A woman writer points out that Red shares certain character traits, like heroin addiction and an ex-wife, with Pete. Matt calls Pete into the office on the pretext of handing over some of dead Casey’s effects, and for story reasons, questions him about his feelings for Jane and Casey. Pete soon figures out what he’s doing, calls him a vulture, and leaves in a huff. Whereupon Matt adds the word ‘heartbreak’ to his character board.

Bird and Jane visit the gas station that Lake called from, view some murky, unhelpful security video footage, and find a piece of a broken cellphone case on the ground.   Next, they go pay a visit to Quinn O’Farrell. They break into the bar’s backroom living quarters from an alleyway, and find Quinn dead, hanging from the ceiling.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners, The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. See its book trailer here:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 5

Now that Casey is very dead, we get a flashback to the day she got hired as Jane’s assistant. On her way into the interview at the studio, Casey meets Pete, who is there to drop off Lake.  They have a friendly, flirty chat during which he initially takes her for an actress because she’s a beautiful skinny girl (aww, or ew?) and he asks her out (definitely ew) because he is lonely and desperate and she is young and smiley.

In the interview with Jane, Casey says that after film school, she considered becoming an actor and director, then settled on writer. “I want to be you,” she says. Jane doesn’t care that Casey is totally into “docs,” especially since the cop show is not a documentary. Jane is not interested in hiring someone who isn’t passionate about her career choice, and cuts the interview short. Sad Casey runs into Lake in the restroom, and they bond, what with Lake knowing from sadness with her parents being divorced and all. Lake talks Jane into hiring Casey because Jane will do anything for her kid. When she’s not ignoring her.

That night, a prescient Casey tells evil sister Lynn that the job is going to change her life. Evil Lynn tells her to go out with Pete if she liked him. Out of loyalty to Jane, Casey initially resists the siren call of Pete, older-guy drug addict and underemployed music producer, but succumbs to his allure one day after Jane gives her shit for giving Lake candy. And she only offered the candy anyway to keep Lake from noticing that Jane was snorting coke or Adderall or whatever drug it is that she keeps cut into lines next to her  on her desk.

In the present, Casey is still dead on the floor. Bird tells Jane that Lynn took Lake, though what makes him think this, we don’t know, because Lynn is soon traced through a credit card purchase at a cheap restaurant, and when the cops surround her and arrest her, she is alone (as I called in my last recap!). She tells the police she came home, found Casey and her husband dead and Lake gone, and she panicked and ran. Forensic tests of her clothes and person show she appears to be telling the truth, because there is no sign she fired a gun, so goodbye evil Lynn. Before she goes, she says on tape to the woman cop Bilson that everything, including Casey’s death, is Jane’s fault because she’s a shit mom who cares more about her work than about her kid. All of which interview is observed remotely by Jane, because Bird has no sense of proper boundaries between police  and victims’ mothers.

In what might be a bid to make Pete look more sympathetic (or possibly more weak), he cries about Casey’s death (which Jane sure doesn’t), and tells Tom he blames himself, because Casey kidnapped Lake for him. And he starts drinking again.

Tom meets with Ali’s friend Jamie, the hotshot online news editor, to pitch some long-form serious journalism story ideas about sanctuary states and infertility. She is all yeah, yeah, those are important subjects but what have you got that’s hot and juicy? He admits that his niece having been kidnapped is on his mind right now, and she presses him to write that story, which has been kept out of the press so far, but is sure to break soon, so better him to write it than anyone else, right? He demurs at first, but later agrees if he has control over what is written. Jamie gives him 24 hours to turn in his story, but he doesn’t submit it on Day 6, and is still researching it on Day 7, so I’m not sure what happened with that timeline.

In other subplots, Attorney-General Gomez continues to worry that the Sadler case will affect his campaign, and Police Gomez continues to unconvincingly assure him it will not. Police Gomez asks John Bird to attend AG Gomez’s campaign event re: the Medina taskforce (something about a gang that Bird helped take down) where Bird runs into his attractive and sympathetic ex-wife (who is maybe a lawyer with the D.A.’s office?). They discuss their college age son, who doesn’t see Bird often due to Bird’s workaholic schedule. The wife reminds Bird, in regard to Lake’s abduction, that until there’s a body, it’s never too late.

Bird checks in with the police department clerk who is bagging and labelling the crime scene evidence found at evil Lynn’s house, and comes across the handle of a flashbang, AKA stun grenade, which Wikipedia tells me is a non-lethal explosive device used to temporarily disorient an enemy’s senses. And guess who uses flashbangs – cops!

In a flashback, we see Jane in bed with Gus, asking him detailed questions about the real-life casita raid. “You tell me the truth, I’ll make it fiction,” she says, though she forgot to do that, duh. In the present, she meets Gus in an alley, where he sports a black eye he got when the backup he called for recently never arrived. He warns her to stop making the TV show be about that raid, because the bad cops don’t want that info out and are punishing him AND her.

The lightbulb goes off above Jane’s head that some cops might be involved in Lake’s latest abduction, and as a sidenote, how do we feel about the show having Lake be kidnapped AGAIN, but by a completely different criminal crew? Is this a clever twist, or a a bit of a show-extending cheat? I’m leaning toward the latter. Jane runs into the studio, calls “Cut” on whatever scene is being shot, and frantically tells Matt and co. that the whole story line has to be changed, the cops can’t be the bad guys anymore or they won’t help find her daughter, so they’re going to rewrite the show NOW. (I liked the detail of her removing all the blue index cards from the writers’ room story wall.)

A network executive, who was seen in a flashback as the guy she pitched the concept to originally, shows up. He tells her the studio and network are in full support of the original idea, it can’t be changed at this late stage, and she should take some time off to handle her personal situation. In other words, he fires her on the spot.

A distraught Jane tells a worried Matt that it’s her fault Lake got taken, because of the whole dirty cops story line, and she was warned and didn’t listen. He thinks she’s talking crazy shit now. Or maybe not so crazy when she mentions that oh yeah, Casey was shot in the head earlier that day. And no, Ali, Jane doesn’t want to sleep and shower and eat and act normal, she wants to survive on stress fumes and guilt until Lake is found because this is all Jane’s fault!

We close Day 5 with a scene showing that Lake is alive, safe, and whiny in the back seat of a big grey SUV driving through the night. “Where are we going?” she asks the unseen driver.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in June 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. See its book trailer here:

Ten Days in the Valley Recap – Day 4

Two bombshells came out after the airing of the Day 4 episode. One: for the first time, Lake is not shown as alive and well-cared-for at episode’s end. This is distressing for those of us who prefer child TV characters to be unharmed, though she does not appear to be dead – unlike Casey and her brother-in-law Russ, both of whose blood and brain matter is on the walls and floor. Two, ABC announced that due to low viewership numbers to date, the show’s remaining episodes have been relegated to a December/January burn-off , which is better than outright cancellation, but not much.

I choose to interpret the poor ratings not as an indicator that culture consumers have no interest in suspense stories about showrunners, but as a sign that the show would have been a better fit for cable or a streaming service than for a network. I can only hope that after the ABC run ends, the show will live on elsewhere (Netflix would be good), and find new viewers,  which will lead to someone reading these recaps in the not-too-distant future. Hi, future Ten Days fans!

This week’s prime villain is Lynn, Casey’s possibly psycho and definitely pregnant sister, the person who has been reluctantly caring for an increasingly petulant Lake. Lynn wants more than the $5K Casey already gave her to participate in this stupid scheme to discredit Jane’s parenting skills in favour of Pete’s. She wants $30K, and if Casey can’t steal that money from Jane’s bank account, she needs to keep trying – says Lynn in a stone cold killer voice. Hell, Lynn’s husband is even afraid of her, or pretends to be when he reminds Casey that crossing Lynn is not a good idea – remember what happened when he tried to leave her that one time?

Lynn is painted as so ruthless that Casey looks like even more of a moron than previously thought. What was she thinking to have trusted psycho Lynn to be part of this terrible plan that would totally not have earned her Pete’s love if it had worked?

But Lynn is too evil, and too recently introduced as a character, for me to believe that she came home after her doctor’s appointment, murdered her own sister and husband, and took off with Lake for parts unknown. I think it was someone else, though at this point, who’s left who had motive and opportunity? Other than Gus, the cop who acquired an untraceable gun this week. And possibly Ali’s husband Tom, who continues to act shifty about his job prospects, with reason, since he is a print journalist and we all know how print journalism is going these days.

In an act of spousal devotion, Ali has lunch with a friend who considers herself the Elon Musk of online journalism (okay, sure) and asks the friend, played by Missy Peregrym, to consider Tom for work. Missy agrees to talk to Tom as if she is doing Ali a huge favour. This means that Missy and Tom will either be boning next episode, or he will promise her a news scoop about who killed Casey and the bro-in-law. Possible third option: he will use his connection to Jane to reveal more police corruption. Somewhere in there, Ali also witnesses Casey acting extremely sketchy – she asks for Jane’s bank account info and defends Pete. But Ali does not get suspicious, possibly because she is still pretty focused on trying to conceive a baby. Maybe she can take Lynn’s unborn child for her own later!

Before Casey can be killed, Jane and Det. Bird have to figure out that she’s involved with Lake’s disappearance. Bird questions Gus about his affair with Jane, and Gus acts like it’s not serious, though he wishes he’d been at the house the night Lake was taken because he’d have stopped the bastard. He opines that Lake, while a handful, is Jane’s center of gravity, and without her, Jane will spin out of control.

Next, Bird talks to PJ the drug dealer, who doesn’t know much about cars, but manages to describe the 90’s BMW that belongs to Lynn and Russ well enough, the car both he and Pete saw outside Jane’s house on the night in question. Like Gus, he offers some analysis of Jane –she’s a storyteller to whom truth is just another story. Or something.

On set, Matt, the co-exec producer of the show, is arguing with Henry, the director, about where a key scene should be shot. Matt wants the scene to take place in a casita, like Jane wanted, because the show is based on a true event (AKA the dirty cop crime Gus told Jane about that Commander Gomez is trying to keep covered up). Henry thinks the scene should be shot in a more visually interesting and atmospheric strip club, and who cares about sticking closely to the original story, since the part about the cops killing off the dealers is made up, right? Matt wins the battle, but not without pissing off Henry and making it seem like he knows more than he should about the dirty cops.

Jane doesn’t have time to moderate the casita vs. strip club debate. She is fixated on what she knows about the red hoodie Lake was wearing in the kidnappers’ video – she’s sure it proves that Pete took Lake. Since Bird won’t listen to her at first, because she’s a drug user and liar, she buys some prescription knock-out drugs from PJ the dealer, takes said drugs to Pete’s house, and lets herself in. When Pete comes home, she lures him into letting down his guard by sympathetically reminiscing about the good old days with Lake, when they were still together as a family. He falls for her performance, and drinks the spiked tea she has cooked up, which causes Pete to collapse within minutes.

While Pete is knocked out, Jane sees a text on Pete’s phone from someone asking for money, assumes it’s the kidnapper, and says she’ll pay. It was Sheldon the boss drug dealer, though.  He shows up at the house, asks for $70K (owed to him by Pete), and lets Jane and Pete believe that he has Lake. Jane runs to a bank and gets the cash, pays Sheldon and laughs – laughs! – upon hearing Sheldon had nothing to do with Lake’s abduction. After discovering that Pete is sleeping with Casey, she quickly guesses that Casey is involved, and goes with Bird – who has tracked down the boxy black BMW and come to the same conclusion – to Lynn & Russ’s house. On the tense drive over, Bird says he’s looked at the hospital records from the car accident that broke up Jane and Pete’s marriage, the one where Pete was driving under the influence and Lake was injured. Turns out the blood types listed indicate that Pete is not Lake’s biological father, so who is? Jane doesn’t want to talk about that right now.

Police in SWAT gear surround the house, then run in and find Casey and Russ shot dead.  Jane has been told to wait outside, but she charges in anyway and wails at the sight of the bodies. Where is Lake and who’s got her now? Let’s hope we find that out when the Day 5&6 episodes air on Dec 16.

Kim Moritsugu is a Toronto novelist and sometime TV show recapper. Her most recent book is a suburban comedy of manners called The Oakdale Dinner Club. Coming in 2018: The Showrunner, a darkly humourous, suspenseful Hollywood-noir novel about female ambition inside the TV biz. See its book trailer here: