“Top of the Lake is a classic mythic struggle,” says Jane Campion, the acclaimed writer and director who co-created the series.
Those who’ve watched the entire series, which ends this week, would no doubt agree with her; they’d also add that it’s been completely riveting.
But has tuning in been an enjoyable experience? The word ‘enjoy’ is perhaps not appropriate in this case - “endured” is probably more fitting.
Not that the plot hasn’t been gripping, moving and intriguing, but claiming to have enjoyed something involving such a gruelling experience as watching the fall-out from a pregnant 12-year-old’s disappearance seems wrong. Nevertheless, we’ve continued to tune in, transfixed by an incredible and powerful story with, unusually these days, a completely unguessable finale.
And as it all draws to a close this evening, with a bit of luck, we can soon all get back to having fun on a Saturday night instead of feeling emotionally drained.
The main focus of the drama has been Robin (Elisabeth Moss), a cop specialising in child cases. She grew up in the area where the story has taken place, but it’s her first return there since a traumatic event in her own youthful years.
However, always lurking in the background has been Matt Mitcham, the father of pregnant Tui. He’s an odd character who also seems to have baffled Peter Mullan, the acclaimed Scottish actor who plays him.
“He simply exists in his own world and he has his own rules and he has his own issues, shall we say, not least of which is a certain narcissism, a certain amount of self-loathing, a fairly complex relationship with his mother, a very complex relationship with his kids, and a certain sense of entitlement,” says Mullan.
Matt is certainly in the thick of things as the final episode begins.
Robin’s obsession with finding Tui reaches boiling point as she realises the little girl’s due date is drawing ever closer. She visits Matt, determined to once and for all get some useful information from him.
Sure enough, Matt has something to say, but his news leaves Robin in utter despair.
Nevertheless, she digs deep, soldiers on and heads off to find Tui before her father can get his hands on her - but she isn’t prepared for a shocking conclusion.
On at the same time:
BBC1 - Casualty, 8.50pm
ITV - The Americans, 9.40pm
Channel 4 - Night and Day, 9pm
Channel 5 - NCIS, 9pm