New Sky Atlantic drama Little Birds gets off to a pretty good start with its opening episode. With some nice foundations set and an impressive colour palette to work with, Little Birds sets the foundations nicely for a romantic drama to follow.
Episode 1 of Little Birds begins with the ticking of a clock rhythmically chiming in the background. This tranquil office plays host to Dr Maxwell, who prescribes some pills to his patient, Lucy. He wishes her well for her upcoming trip and watches as the girl leaves.
Lucy is on the verge of getting married to a man named Hugo and promises her parents that they’ll raise a family together. As they continue to talk, her Father Grant gets her a new present – a brand new gun.
As their dinner draws to a close, she finds her Mother wallowing in self pity and sipping wine. As she stares into space, she tells her daughter not to have kids as it’ll “ruin her figure.”; a fine send-off before her daughter leaves for Tangier.
In the morning, Lucy’s parents bid her goodbye but promise Hugo will take care of her. Everything has been arranged but just before they see her off, they throw shade at a woman known as Lili Von X who happens to be on the same boat.
This is one wildcard that her parents hadn’t accounted for and at dinner that night, Lucy finds herself amazed by Lili’s confidence and swagger. The conversation soon turns to climaxes, which Lucy finds herself mesmerized by. When the story is done, she asks Lili if the narrative she spun is true. “You’ll just have to find out for yourself, pigeon,” She smiles.
We then cut and see the beauty of Tangier first-hand, with its white gold beaches and crystal clear sea. Two men drive out to a secluded spot and make love. Those men, as we soon learn, are none other than Hugo and a local he’s romantically involved with called Abaza.
When Abaza learns that Hugo is engaged he turns in disgust and drives off, telling his lover that everything has changed.
Everything most definitely has changed too, and hostilities begin to grow in Tangier as whispers of the King being angry spreads. Protests are leading to pressure mounting on the French administration to grant the Moroccan King entry to Tangier again.
Not long after, we see these issues first-hand in the street through local prostitute Cherifa. After spending an intimate time with her lover, Leo, she greets a small child in the street. When she mentions the King, he hurries off excitedly but is beaten down by one of the French men there.
At the dock, Hugo arrives in his brilliant white suit and awaits Lucy’s arrival. Lili bids Lucy farewell as they step off the boat but before she goes, asks her “pigeon” to ring in the future. Turning to her future-husband, Lucy asks to go to the Kasbah
that evening. He agrees but not before the pair awkwardly kiss.
Hugo takes Lucy back home and gives her the grand tour. Only, the only thing she wants to tour is Hugo’s body. He pulls away from her though and finds any excuse to leave. As he rushes out, he heads to the bar and drowns his sorrows in alcohol.
In the morning, the pair are wed and they head home. As they start kissing, Hugo is saved by the bell as Lucy’s Mother, Vanessa, rings. As Grant takes the phone he speaks to Hugo privately, welcoming him to the family business. That business sees him in a tough psotiono of having to win over the French Secretary and selling gunpads to him.
With another failed attempt at lovemaking, Hugo instead takes Lucy out to El Sirroco, a lively French bar with music and dancing. There, he points out various high-powered figures including the British ambassador and Adham Abaza – the man he’s been romantically involved with.
Lucy encourages Abaza over to the table after buying them champagne but things quickly go awry. As Lucy leaves to dry herself up, she spies Cherifa in the toilets and apologizes for staring. Trouble is obviously brewing in paradise as she questions her marriage.
As they head out and go their separate ways, Cherifa is put in a difficult position to sing a song for the French. With the French Secretary Vaney watching on, she defies them all and sings out of tune. This certainly piques his interest and he stands and applauds her, as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With a dark comical tone and some great visuals, Little Birds sets the scene nicely for the series to follow. The soundtrack is great too and so far at least, the story gets off to an intriguing start.
There’s some lovely scene composition at Hugo’s house too and all of this builds up to the makings of a fascinating and dysfunctional love triangle. Whether this will come to fruition or not however, remains to be seen.
So far so good, let’s hope Little Birds can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season.