'Back to Life' Episode 1 sees optimistic Miri land job after 18-year incarceration despite townsfolk asking her to 'f**k off'
Ex-boyfriend Dom, now married with twins, and Miri's neighbor seem to reflect the town's attitude to her as they ask her to "f**k off". However, “Everyone deserves second chances,” said her new boss at the fish and chips store, reminding viewers of what the show is all about — hope
“Hi! I’m Miri,” practiced Miri Matteson (Daisy Haggard) in front of a mirror, while trying to shape her bangs. But the endeavor was doomed to fail and she managed to cut them way too short, all the while muttering, “Sh*t” under her breath.
But that is Miri, for you — an ex-convict who is now out of jail after an 18-year-stint, and who desperately needs a job. ‘Back to Life’, written and played by Haggard is a tragicomic look at the world of a woman, fresh out of prison.
But it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for her because she knows nothing of this strange new world and has no marketable skills. When her potential new boss at a fish and chips shop asked her why her CV was “a bit gappy”, not knowing she’s spent literally half her life behind bars, an uncomfortable Miri tried to explain that she was traveling; a lie that soon got caught.
Miri’s life, on her first day of freedom, was full of ups and downs. On the one hand, she was finally free — free to roam around and buy things and go home and talk to people. On the other hand, there was no one she could do that with anymore.
A visit to her ex-boyfriend Dom (Jamie Michie) proved to be a disappointment. Dom was now married with kids; twins, in fact. And Dom, who managed to awkwardly talk to her for a bit, promptly asked her to “f**k off” at the mere sight of his wife. Not great a great day, is it?
Miri’s family was a different kind of struggle. While her father insisted on talking many selfies, her mother hid the kitchen knives, because lord knows the first thing an ex-convict would want to grab is a potential weapon.
But things with her mother (Geraldine James) were more complicated than simple paranoia. It appeared she, while her daughter was incarcerated, was busy having an affair with Dom. Nothing in Miri’s life is simple, but this easily takes the cake.
Miri also has an awkward encounter with her neighbor’s caretaker Billy (Adeel Akhtar) who instantly felt an attraction towards her. But the brief tinge of happiness was soured when her neighbor — the one whose house Billy takes care of — asked her to, once again, “f**k off”.
Even a potential employer called her to inform her they would not hire someone like her. Despite the sine wave of events, Miri tried her best to not let the world pull her down.
That attempt, however, came to a bust when she discovered the words “psycho b*tch” spray-painted across her fence. Trying to balance herself in a tight skirt (possibly from when she was a teen), and heels, Miri walked out towards her interview, the one we saw in the beginning.
The episode ended on a hopeful note. Despite lying and getting caught, despite her to-be-boss realizing who Miri was, and despite Miri not possessing any skills worthy of getting employed, she managed to get the job. “Everyone deserves second chances,” said her new boss at the fish and chips store, reminding viewers of what the show is all about — hope.
‘Back to Life’ airs every Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.