Ten Days In the Valley Round Table: Is Jane A Sympathetic Character?

at . Comments

On Ten Days In the Valley Season 1 Episode 1, single mother, Jane Sadler, has the shock of a lifetime when her daughter mysteriously disappears one night while she's working. 

She has to determine whether or not her ex-husband, Pete, is responsible in an attempt to steal custody away while keeping her own secrets from getting out.

Join TV Fanatics Jack Ori, Lisa Babick, and Jasmine Blu as they discuss the premiere.

Ten Days in the Valley Banner

On a scale of 1 to 10, how thrilled are you to have Kyra Sedgwick back on television?

Jack: I tuned in to the premiere partially because Kyra Sedgwick was involved with it so I will say 9. Not 10 because I also want to give credit to the intriguing premise and the rest of the cast. But I'm definitely a fan of hers, and it was good to see her in a project that captivated me.

Lisa: This is the first time I'm seeing Kyra Sedgwick on the small screen. I never watched The Closer, so I'm not familiar with her work on that show, but I can tell you I'm loving her here.

Jasmine: 9. I was big The Closer fan, and I enjoyed the premise. I was super excited about this series.

What is your first impression of Jane?

Jack: I can't decide if I like Jane or not. I was sympathetic towards her problems with her ex, and I loved her relationship with her daughter, but she seems pretty addicted to her work (and possibly to cocaine), and she came off as selfish and irresponsible.

It seemed like this wasn't the first time her sister had to step in to try to straighten things out for her, which made me think she's lucky she lasted this long without something terrible happening. And she keeps harping about Pete's former substance use while she is getting drunk and high herself, which is concerning. I'm wondering how much of her behavior is twisted out of shape by addiction and just how deep her problems are.

Lisa: I think Jane is a woman under a tremendous amount of pressure. Pete nailed it on the head when he said Jane was "drowning." She's trying to maintain a high-demand job along with basically being a single mom.

She should be able to handle things better because she does have help via a nanny and an ex who wants to be involved with his kid, but she's afraid of letting go of control. She doesn't know how to balance anything in her life, and she's paying for it.

Jasmine: I think Jane is an interesting character. Despite all of her issues, or maybe in spite of them, I still find her sympathetic. She's not perfect, and she's this functioning addict, but I think the most important and best part of her is Lake. It's interesting seeing a woman in this messy, flawed role.

What are your thoughts on Jane lying to Detective Bird about the timeline and PJ? How will he react to finding her drugs?

Jack: Not getting caught in problematic behavior seems to be Jane's top priority at the moment.I think she lied about the timeline because she didn't want to be accused of being neglectful or irresponsible, and she's very concerned about making sure no one knows about her substance use (even though that's doomed to failure), so she lied about knowing her connect.

Of course, all these easily-discovered lies just make Jane look complicit in her daughter's disappearance, and at the very least Detective Bird is going to have some serious questions about where those drugs came from and what Jane was doing while in the shed. I don't think he will go as far as arresting her for possession-- yet -- but he may use that threat to try to get her to be more forthcoming about the events of that night.

Lisa: She's just trying to protect herself. She's trying to get full custody of Lake and knows that being caught with drugs is going to put her in a negative light. Pete will exploit that to no end. He knows Jane's not perfect and has issues, so she's trying to prevent that. And this isn't the first time she's bought drugs from PJ, and that could present a really big problem as well.

As for the timeline, if she was gone only an hour, it's not such a bad thing, but being gone longer might make her seem irresponsible even though she was only in the next room per se. She should have been honest about how long she was in the shed right from the beginning. Now that the detective knows she lied about that he's going to be suspicious of everything else she said so far. She's dug herself a hole, and she may never be able to get out of it.

Jasmine: She's definitely trying to protect herself. She's afraid of losing custody of Lake and Pete would make sure of that if the truth got out. She also fears looking like a terrible mother.

I wonder if it will make her more of a suspect that she might have been considered before.

Do have any theories about Pete getting Casey to lie for him?

Jack: I"m not sure what's going on there. It would be too obvious for Pete to be trying to cover up his own involvement. I suspect that he is innocent but doesn't want to appear guilty, so he wants an alibi for the entire night, but that may be an overly simple solution too. I'm so confused.

Lisa: I think Pete is up to something. He was somewhere after Casey left and it wasn't at home. It could be he went to a bar and doesn't want that to come back and haunt him, but it could be something else. I have no idea what his game might be, but innocent he's not.

Jasmine: My first thought was that he fell off the wagon and didn't want anyone to know the truth.

What would you rate the premiere and why?

Jack: I'd give it about an 8/10. It held my attention and left me with some questions I want to be answered, and I'm thrilled to have both Kyra Sedgwick and Erika Christensen back on my screen. And I love mysteries and thrillers. However, Jane is not an entirely sympathetic character, and neither is Pete. I'm rooting for the little girl to come home but I can't really root for her parents under the circumstances, and that detracts from my score.

Lisa: I would give it a 4/5. It pulled me in right from the beginning and held my attention throughout the hour. I want to know who took Lake and why, but I mostly want to learn more about Jane and what makes her tick.

Jasmine: I would give it a 4 out of 5 too. It started off slow, but it picked up halfway through. Jane is interesting, and as someone who loved Secrets and Lies, I like the mystery and format.

What was your favorite and least favorite aspect of the episode?

Jack: Favorite aspect-- I like the contrast of Jane's life as a successful screenwriter and the way her personal life is falling apart. I'm especially impressed with the fact that she's writing some sort of thriller that involves drug deals and violence, and now has been thrown into that world for real.

Least favorite aspect -- I can't stress enough that I'd like Jane to be a little less selfish and a little more likable.

Lisa: My favorite part was just watching Jane's character develop. She's so complex, and it's hard to decide whether I want to feel sorry for her or loathe her.

My least favorite part was watching Casey and Pete together. The idea of Casey having a relationship with her boss's ex is just gross, but it also makes me wonder who the started the relationship in the first place. Did Pete start it to keep tabs on Jane or did Casey start it to lash back at Jane for something we don't know about yet? Their relationship could play a big part in Lake's disappearance.

Jasmine: My favorite part was seeing Jane be all over the place. There are only a handful of female characters who can be so layered and flawed without being scrutinized and criticized for it.

My least favorite part is Ali being the character with fertility issues, but the Casey and Pete affair was kind of meh too.

Who is at the top of your suspect list right now?

Jack: I'm suspicious of the nanny. That short phone call she made towards the end of the show was strange, and she has a key and is familiar with the house and Jane's habits and wouldn't scare Lake if she woke her up and told her to come with her. And if she knows about Jane's drug use she could easily feel that kidnapping Lake was both in the little girl's best interest and a way to wake Jane up.

Lisa: That's a tough one. I want to say Pete is involved, and I'm suspicious of the nanny, but those are too easy. It might be someone else who we have only met briefly. Whoever took Lake had a key to the house and knew that Jane would be working on the script in the shed. It could be a combination of people working together. I think that whoever took Lake wants Jane to wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe it's the sister?!

Jasmine: I think it might be someone at the San Diego police station she took down.

Do you agree with our roundtable? Do you disagree? Sound off below! Don't forget, you can watch Ten Days In the Valley online right here via TV Fanatic.

Ten Days in the Valley continues Sunday on ABC!

Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

Tags: ,

Ten Days In the Valley Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

PJ: I'm out of Addies. Sunday night, a lot of people are on deadlines.
Jane: Really?
PJ: Is this gonna work for you?
Jane: Yeah.
PJ: Yeah, just put on your tab. Is that OK?
Jane: Totally.

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?