Jane Sadler is a beautiful disaster.
That's one of the first things to take away from Ten Days In the Valley Season 1 Episode 1. Also, I can't imagine anyone embodying someone like Jane other than Kyra Sedgwick.
As a long time fan of The Closer, it's fantastic having Kyra Sedgwick back in the role of series lead. But other than Jane being portrayed by the same actress and being tenacious and career driven, the similarities stop there.
We're in an age where there is a very much welcome influx in portraying women as every bit of the complex, messy, multi-faceted individuals that they truly are. Jane fits nicely into that category, and it's refreshing.
It's the age-old adage of "Can I have it all?" that comes to mind watching Jane juggle a high demand career and raising Lake. It's a question that has plagued women of all ages and races for decades.
The answer, of course, is no. Yet, it's this inherent expectation that women put upon themselves, in part, because society puts it on them.
The interesting thing about Jane is that she's not trying to have it all. She's just trying to be a good mom and excellent television producer, which she is on both counts; nevertheless, she still isn't spared from scrutiny and judgment.
Jane is without a doubt a flawed character. We're shown that the second we're catapulted into her hectic life.
One of the best scenes is watching Jane in her element attempting to meditate, except she couldn't.
It's a deliciously chaotic scene. Jane's mind is incapable of settling down long enough for a moment of peace. The audience is privy to her struggles both visually and auditory when we're given a flashback to her childhood.
Not much is said, yet it's insightful and tells us so much about Jane in a short period of time. She's the oldest child, old enough to remember a nontraditional, less than ideal childhood; a perspective that may be different than that of her more put together, refined, younger sister, Ali.
I loved the way the piano music from the flashback intercut with the current hit "Come Down" by Anderson Paak before Jane is jarred out of it by glass breaking and remembering she needs milk.
It perfectly captures the hectic lifestyle of a single, working mother, the cluttered mind of a creative, and a woman with a dark past who surely has a story to tell.
Flashbacks are hit or miss. Sometimes they're overused and unnecessarily tossed in, but Ten Days uses them well, and I find myself anticipating many more of them, within reason, of course.
I also wouldn't be opposed to more of Jane and Lake dancing it out to some funky hip-hop because that was most adorable.
It would definitely be nice if we had a few flashbacks to have a better understanding of Jane and Pete's relationship.
Those two are intense, aren't they? I can't figure out if they were ever truly in love or if there is still something there between them. After all, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference, and neither one of them is indifferent to the other.
Their brief bickering over whether or not he could take Lake to the cabin was your run of the mill custody battle type of stuff. I felt for Pete a bit, as he was quickly placed into "fun dad" category, because for sentimentality sake, what's one missed day of school?
I also loved that it was one of many moments that reminded us that Jane is a good mother. She's not a perfect person, but she loves Lake with everything that she has. She's reckless and questionable in many aspects of her life, but not with Lake.
Jane: Wait a minute, do you have a secret?
Lake: Sometimes when I'm gone, when I'm with Daddy, I miss you so much that I think I want to go to heaven.
Jane: I know. It's hard, right?
It was thinking about Lake going to school, dancing with her daughter, their sweet and somewhat off conversation about how much they miss one another when Lake's away (did anyone else find the "heaven" comment Lake made a bit shocking?), and of course, sharing the bed and promising a little R&R, that resonates.
Those moments were burned into our brains to remind us just how much Jane loves her daughter because she would proceed to make some questionable choices from the moment Lake disappeared.
Should Jane have taken that work call? Whose to say. Was there anything wrong with Jane shuffling to her shed in the middle of the night to meet a deadline? Lake was asleep, and she did make necessary precautions by keeping the door unlocked and a baby monitor on hand.
The drugs, on the other hand, are a whole other issue. The drugs are what prompted Jane to make the cardinal mistake of lying to the police.
Because Jane Sadler is dishonest.
She's dishonest about how she goes about creating her stories (she has an informant in the police force, but she even used her drug dealer's story to meet a deadline). She's dishonest about her recreational drug use. She was dishonest about the timeline.
Lying to police is inadvisable in most situations, especially when it interferes with finding a missing child. The accuracy of the timeline could literally be the difference between life or death.
Jane is dishonest, has a recreational drug habit that's frowned upon, and has a contentious relationship with her ex-husband. She's an obsessive workaholic, and there is a darkness that simmers beneath her surface.
Jane: We need to open up the timeline.
Jane: Because I lied to you. I went into the shed at ten.
Bird: That's 10:00 to 3:35, almost six hours. What about the kid on the bike?
Jane: I've never seen him before.
Hell, she rushed off to work knowing her daughter was missing; a move that would raise eyebrows if not place her under intense scrutiny and judgment by others.
She's so many things, but she's still someone you root for. She's a sympathetic character, flaws and all, even when you don't agree with her choices.
Jane's impulse to lie is understandable. It didn't matter that she loves her daughter to pieces, all anyone sees is that she left Lake alone in bed, in an unlocked house, while she worked tirelessly through the night under the influence.
Women and mothers are, unfortunately, judged and criticized harsher. It's one of those irritating double standards in life.
She and Pete are already at odds over Lake's custody arrangement. Can you imagine what it would be like if all the details of that night came out?
We already saw how he reacted when he showed up at her house. He had to physically be restrained and was nearly arrested.
She also has a reason to be wary of police given her documentary that took down an entire police force. Is it safe to say the suspect list for who took Lake is long?
I cringed when Jane admitted that many people have keys to her house. How? Why, Jane?
We found out that Bea, the nanny/housekeeper, and her husband are strapped for cash and had a cryptic conversation when news broke that Lake was missing. She's properly motivated.
I have protected you every step of the way. no one is going to know it came from you. Gus, we're making something true...something important.Jane
Gus was quite perturbed over Jane not disguising one of her crime show storylines and feared someone would be on to him being Jane's police source. But would that be enough to take Lake? Better yet, does someone at the previous police force have a vendetta?
Matt, played by the amazing Malcolm-Jamal Warner, appeared eager to please but frustrated that he was underappreciated. He even went so far as to suggest their lead character have her daughter (that didn't presently exist) taken away from her. Was that suggestion just coincidental?
The least suspicious person at the moment is Ali. The relationship between Jane and Ali is already an interesting one, and it would be great if their sisterly bond is explored thoroughly during the series.
They're so different. Ali is more put together and buttoned up compared to Jane. She borders on being cliche as the married sister with fertility issues compelled to look after and be the straight woman to whirlwind Jane.
There are a few moments where it appears as if Ali might be resentful of Jane, exasperated too. Ali (and her husband, whom we only saw briefly), is the least interesting part of the hour.
Her relationship with Jane, on the other hand, could be interesting down the road based on Jane's flashbacks.
Their childhood may not have been the most stable. If Jane, as the oldest, saw and experienced more she undoubtedly shielded and protected Ali. Their relationship has the potential to be one of the most fascinating of the series if explored.
But the most overtly shady suspect of them all (because do we really believe PJ had anything to do with Lake's disappearance?) Is Pete.
It's partly because of his affair with Casey. He was the first person Jane accused, but that means he's least likely to have much to do with it, right? Not unless he had someone do it for him.
Casey: Jane doesn't know about us, right?
Pete: C'mon, she barely even knows your real name.
Lake didn't appear familiar with whoever had her, but she didn't appear frightened either. She's being taken care of from what we could see.
As for Pete, why did he appear nonplussed about his daughter being missing when he was alone with Casey? Why did he want her to lie for him and be his alibi? Jane isn't the only one fudging whereabouts and toying with the timeline.
Ten Days was solid as far as pilots go. It started off a bit slow, but it picked up and probably will continue to do so. Other than Ali and her fertility issues, and the actress on Jane's police show, it didn't feel too bogged down with erroneous character setup and exposition. Although, that sort of thing is unavoidable with pilots.
I'm turning it over to you all. Did you love the premiere? How do you feel about Jane? Who is at the top of your suspect list in Lake's disappearance? Sound off below!
You can watch Ten Days In the Valley online right here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.