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: