I didn’t know what to expect from The Secret Daughter, other than what I saw in the trailers. The premiere episode could have been better, however overall it didn’t disappoint.
I’ve always found Jessica Mauboy fabulous, however I do question whether her incredible singing abilities are relied on too much in her acting gigs. I’d rather see more of her as an actress than a singer who happens to be acting. In this episode, I enjoyed seeing her portray the character of Billie more when she wasn’t on stage and I question whether the singer in Billie was conveniently created to incorporate Mauboy’s talents and whether the show would have been better off without doing this.
The episode did its job as a pilot–it set up the premise, introduced and established the characters and paved paths for further plots and character development down the road.
In regards to the characters, I found the Norton family to be filling typical moulds of a rich family. You have the regretful patriarch in Jack, the young (perhaps questionable) stepmother in Susan, the oldest with his heart set on taking over the family business in Chris, the fun-loving Jamie, and the youngest and open minded Harriet. Billie is likeable and strong when she needs to be, however she was also a bit of a doormat when it suited the stories, which isn’t really a great thing, as it’s showing a lot of inconsistency. However I want to withhold from true judgement until I’ve seen the rest of the season, I’ll give the lack of consistency a pass since it’s only the pilot. I’m looking forward to seeing how the characters develop over the course of the season.
In regards to the writing, I felt it was pretty tight, especially for a pilot. The Poppy Roberts red herring, the dynamic between Jamie and Billie, and the twist of the fake Rolex, was well done. However there were some moments that were too convenient, such as Jack’s photo remaining intact after the crash and Gus not suffocating while in the boot of a car for four hours.
Australia as a whole was greatly displayed throughout. The scenery was showcased seamlessly as part of the plot, Aussie jokes and dialect were subtlely thrown in and Mauboy nailed it with the classic Cold Chisel.
I was shocked that Mauboy is the first Indigenous lead actor in a scripted drama….shocked that this milestone has only happened now.
Whether Billie is really pretending or whether she somehow turns out to be Jack’s daughter remains to be seen, it could go either way. It’s something I’m looking forward to finding out.
Overall, I enjoyed The Secret Daughter and I’m looking forward to watching and reviewing the remainder of the season.