'Back to Life': Miri's journey will be tough as small towns don't forgive their own easily despite time served and rehabilitation
Random profanities, vandalism and even assault greet Miri because, to the town, Miri will always remain that one person who did such a terrible thing. They don't care that she has been punished by the law. They don’t care that she’s been rehabilitated. They unite in their misplaced hatred for her
Small towns are different from big, glitzy, fast metropolises. Not just in size, but in the way they function. Life is mundane enough for towns to have long memories. The communities are tight-knit. And when the whole town is like a large family, few things go unnoticed.
All this may seem good until you factor in how communities as a whole can be quite unforgiving. Such is the case in Daisy Haggard’s show ‘Back to Life’. Miri Matteson returns home after an 18-year stint in prison.
And while her family is happy to see her back — well, her mother has issues that need to be examined later — the town isn’t. Random profanities and vandalism and even assault greet Miri because, to the town, Miri will always remain that one person who did such a terrible thing.
Long memories don’t sound so good, does it? But it is natural. After all, in sleepy towns where heinous crimes are rare, things tend to stick. Without capitalistic behemoths waiting to provide distractions from the daily grind, people are freer in small towns to let things marinate.
Also, without much to do, the people also welcome instances like Miri returning home. It does provide some much-needed drama for people who weren’t affected by her crime, but who feel the need to voice their concerns nonetheless.
They don't care that she has been punished by the law. They don’t care that she’s been rehabilitated. To them, it feels almost like a moment of bonding with others — everyone united in their misplaced hatred for Miri.
An instance such as this reminds one of ‘Broadchurch’, another show about a horrible crime in a sleepy seashore town in England. When the townsfolk discover Jack Marshall (David Bradley) was once convicted of pedophilia, many years ago, they immediately decide he’s the one who committed the murder that haunted the town.
They don’t care that the charges were not as simplistic as they made it out to be. They don’t care that he’s been rehabilitated by the criminal justice system. They don’t care that he’s been a model citizen of Broadchurch for as long as anyone can remember. They unite against him and ostracize him.
And that is the tragedy of small communities. For them, nothing is enough. And for Miri, it's hard to see things getting easy soon.
'Back To Life' premieres in the U.S. on Showtime November 10.