The Nest episode 3: Truth and consequences, life and death

The Nest on Acorn TV. Sophie Rundle as Emily and Mirren Mack as Kaya © Studio Lambert and all3media international_Ep. 1
The Nest on Acorn TV. Sophie Rundle as Emily and Mirren Mack as Kaya © Studio Lambert and all3media international_Ep. 1 /

The Nest episode 3 saw the truth come out—and hell break loose.

The Nest has reached its midway point already, and the Acorn TV drama did so with a phenomenal hour of self-destruction. As TV crime dramas go, this one spun particularly out of control, and now it’s all about picking up the pieces.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the most recent episode of The Nest. You can also catch up with our recap of episodes 1 and 2.

In “Prom,” Dan Docherty (Martin Compston) finally told his wife Emily (Sophie Rundle) that their surrogate was a murderer—information which understandably made its way around like wildfire and prompted Kaya (Mirren Mack) to make a panicked decision. But now that it’s all out in public, everyone has a piece of the follout.

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Dan might need a therapist by the time The Nest is over, because his mental state continued to degrade in “Prom.” Ten weeks after discovering the truth about Kaya, he’s swallowed it and sunken into a deep depression. In essence, Dan has switched emotional places with Emily—for most of this episode, he looks more drained than any character in the history of television.

A large part of the episode deals with Dan’s moral and emotional struggle, not only to tell Emily the truth but also to deal with the problem of having a killer in his home. This could have dragged on with long, brooding shots of largely nothing, but Martin Compston delivers a performance in which we can constantly see the wheels turning in Dan’s head. In contrast to the first two parts, the guy who was a stone-cold closer is a shell of himself.

But by not coming forward, he’s carrying all the weight. At first, he plans to take Kaya to have an abortion, in a sequence that makes him look like a serial killer (no, it’s not suspicious that he’s not talking, or that he’s locking the doors, or taking ages to ignore that phone call). But his conscience gets the better of him, and he backs out. So, too, does he balk at Souter’s (David Hayman) idea that Kaya could have an “accident” someplace.

This is fascinating, because The Nest continues to insinuate that Dan killed Kaya’s ex-boyfriend and dumped his body in the river. Did he actually do the deed? And if so, how does that jive with the moral compass he has in this episode?

Frankly, it’s more interesting if Dan’s not a killer. He’s more three-dimensional if he’s a decent human being with limits rather than another ruthless businessman (which again is a case for the casting of Compston, who brings compassion to the role). And Dan knows that this isn’t only about Kaya, but also about Emily and the world she’s built for himself that he’d have to destroy—hence why he breaks down sobbing in the episode’s best scene.

As in all good dramas, though, Dan is forced to come out with the information when Kaya goes missing, and it causes a huge rift between him and his wife. Emily doesn’t like that she was the last to know, and kicks Dan out of their home for the evening. That’s understandable, but let’s hope that there’s a scene in the next episode that digs into that a bit more, because if Dan could explain himself Emily might have more empathy—and there would be so much for the viewer to dive into, as well.

We do get one key scene where Dan is literally taking a hard look at himself in the mirror. One only wonders what’s going through his head. He wants to play by the rules, morally and by the letter of that surrogacy contract, but there aren’t really rules for what he’s going through. How can he get back in control? Because right now, this situation is running him.


Emily is in the dark for a large portion of The Nest this week. She has no idea why Dan has spent two and a half months looking bereft, and unfortunately because he’s not doing a lot of talking, it means we don’t get many scenes where the parallels between the two play out. Emily is there to comfort Dan when she finds him having a breakdown, but it feels like there’s so much more that she could say if she only knew the cause of his issues.

Given how determined she was in the first two episodes, it’s no surprise that Emily continues to jump ahead and is already starting to assemble a nursery in “Prom.” She has yet to slow down in all this, living in this happy perfect world where they’re going to have a baby and she’s buddying up to Kaya. As much as it hurts to see reality crashing in on her, perhaps the events of this episode will finally get her to slow down and be a bit more grounded instead of just seeing what she hopes for or looking toward the future.

Also, is anyone else wondering if there’s other things Dan hasn’t told Emily over the course of their marriage? It would be prototypical of the genre for Dan’s secrets to come spilling out by the end of the series—and since it was established in the premiere that Emily married Dan after only a three-week courtship, it stands to reason that The Nest is going down that very familiar path. But if it does, it will have to make its reveal(s) distinct from that very common theme.


Everything comes crashing down for Kaya by the end of the episode. Her boyfriend finds out about her murder case, she ends up almost drowning, and although she doesn’t know it, her mom—who from appearances and what little we know about her, is nothing but trouble—is pushing her way back into the picture.

Compared to prior episodes, this installment of The Nest does a good job of making Kaya more of a sympathetic character. We see a side of her that genuinely wants to build a happy relationship with Jack and is looking toward her future, instead of treating her life like a business transaction. It is critical, because it enhances the gut punch of finding her potentially dead later on, and because the viewer has to see her as more than just a potential villain/the person carrying Dan and Emily’s baby.

Based on her scenes in this episode, Kaya’s mother appears to be about as much of a cliche as the reporter Eleanor (Katie Leung). She’s going to try to game the situation to her advantage. It’s going to come down to Kaya to deal with the issue. Is this still just about the baby and the financial end game to her, or will she be willing to try and protect Dan and Emily from the people who are clearly coming for a piece of them?

As was pointed out by Dan earlier on, Kaya now holds all the cards in The Nest, because she is the legal mother of the baby now that the child has been born. She could try to abscond with the baby just like they feared. But what should happen is that she stays, fights for what she wants, and has to own up. That’s part of the growing-up process, and it would also allow the audience to see the effect that living with Emily and Dan has had on her, too. She has already upended their lives, but surely that goes both ways?

Everyone’s cards are on the table now, and it’s time to decide whose side everybody is on. They can all stay together and possibly get through this, or they can all go off on their own and likely all sink on their own, too. And with two more episodes left The Nest is liable to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Next. More on The Nest with Martin Compston. dark

The Nest is streaming now on Acorn TV; new episodes premiere Mondays. Catch up with all three episodes now through a 7-day free trial.