Episode 1 of The Midwich Cuckoos begins with soldiers patrolling the street. A couple, Zoe and Sam, evade them and pack up their things, ready to leave. Unfortunately, they’re stopped by a strange girl who shows up, ominously asking “Mummy, what have you done?”
We then cut back 5 years earlier to find our couple en-route to their new house, moving to the beautifully quaint village of Midwich. Now, Midwich is home to a number of different inhabitants, each with their own issues. A young girl called Charlotte attends therapy; Cassie has an estranged relationship with her mum, Susannah, who’s actually heading up to London for a date. There’s also a sleazy MP called Stewart who’s having an affair with his aide, Amrita.
They say animals can always sense something wrong before humans and that much seems to be true here, as the electrics in town begin to fizz out, birds fly sporadically and horses whinny in their stables.
This strange pulsating electric outage becomes news to the police, fronted by DCI Paul Jaynes who tries to make sense of this. The electrics aren’t out, at least not yet, and the substations haven’t gone down or anything either.
As the evening draws in, power cuts cripple Midwich. Zoe and Sam decide to make the most of it and strip off, having sex in the living room. However, that attracts the attention of a neighbour, Rachel, who watches them from her window.
That night, things take a turn for the worse. The horses break free from their stable, a strange purple/orange glow descends on the village and everyone drops to the floor where they are, inexplicably passing out. Even the horses fall.
One character not affected by this though is Susannah, who heads out for her date with a guy called Michael. The date doesn’t go to plan and eventually it leads to Susannah heading home, unsatisfied and dismayed. Her bad luck continues at the station, as it’s announced that all trains leading into Midwich are cancelled. (Trains cancelled in the UK? Nothing new there then!)
The whole area is cornered off too, with the police setting up a blockade. Despite Susannah being a resident, she’s turned away and told to go to the town hall instead. Susannah is having none of that and sneaks in through the woods instead. In doing so, she notices numerous people in hazmat suits around checking the area. Even the hazmat suits appear to be of no use, as one of the men passes out when they step into the affected area. When Susannah is spotted, she tries running away but gets caught up in whatever this blast is and passes out too.
Outside the town, we cut to Paul Haynes and Bryony Cummings, a young MI5 officer. Haynes confirms that there are 11,000 people in Midwich who could be in danger of being affected. In the area of concern, everyone appears to be passed out from this strange blast. It’s also, interestingly, centred around the prep school.
Paul and Bryony show up at the area, where Susannah regains consciousness. Paul wants to organize a complete evacuation but that idea is immediately rejected. Instead, the police send over a helicopter but, predictably, it crash-lands and explodes, hitting the target area with everyone inside dying.
Paul’s pregnant wife, Deborah, is one of the women affected and inside this area. He’s worried, and even more so when the evacuation is eventually ordered without word on those inside the blackout area.. It’s a mandatory evac but thing soon turn ugly. As things reach fever pitch, Cassie manages to ring her mother, having awoken on the street. Everyone else inside the area suddenly, and inexplicably, regains consciousness again. Thankfully so too does the white horse. Phew!
Bryony heads over to Deborah’s place, where she notices the stove is still on and gas is pouring into the kitchen. Jodie is there too, and although she makes it out to safety, Deborah does not. When Paul shows up, he’s distraught as he realizes his wife has passed away.
As the episode closes out, several different women touch their bellies as it would appear that they’re pregnant. But how? Why? We’ll have to wait to find out!
The Episode Review
The Midwich Cuckoos kicks things off with a suitably unnerving and really well written opening chapter. We get introduced to all our characters quickly, understand who they all are and what sort of threat they’re going to be facing.
The little tease at the start, showing Zoe and Sam leaving their house as that strange girl arrives to stop them, at least shows that they’ve made it but we know that in the span of 5 years, everything is going to go very, very wrong. This is a solid episode to start that journey, with decent acting and a pretty impressive sound design too.
The ending definitely hints that we’ve got more drama coming our way so we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for our characters.
You can read our full season review for The Midwich Cuckoos Season 1 here!
2 thoughts on “The Midwich Cuckoos – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review”
Weird how it’s supposed to be a tiny quaint rural village, but with an area covering 11000, that’s a very large town. Enjoyed the series very much though, nice modern take on an often adapted book.
I hope more seasons come out