As the series gets started, we’re introduced to Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon). Grace has been locked away in the Kingston Penitentiary for 15 years. It is now 1859. She was convicted of murder and is now allowed to work at the governor’s house. Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) is shown riding into town. Grace explains that a favorable report from the Doctor could potentially set her free. Before too long, Simon is allowed to meet Marks. He is told to be careful. He sits down with Grace and gives her an apple. Simon makes it clear the is not the cutting type of doctor. The apple’s odor causes Grace to remember playing a childish game with a friend. Grace keeps the memory secret from Simon. The doctor gives Grace a rundown of his practice. She recalls her time in the asylum and explains that she will never go back there. Grace is skeptical that anything she says will have any impact.
Simon tells Grace that he will keep her out of the asylum as long as she continues to speak with him. They agree to chat again the following day. The other prisoners hassle Grace at lunch, due to her new relationship with the doctor. Simon meets with the Reverend (David Cronenberg). The reverend insists that Grace has spent far too long in prison. Simon turns the conversation to the trial itself. He explains that Grace claimed she didn’t know where Nancy was at the time of her arrest. During the trial, she claimed to have saw McDermott throw Nancy down the cellar stairs. He also reveals that James McDermott (Kerr Logan) said that Grace was guilty right before his execution. Simon requests to meet with Grace at the governor’s house. The Reverend agrees to see what he can do. The following day, Grace is escorted to the governor’s place. There, she meets with Simon.
Grace admits that it is difficult for her to start talking. She hasn’t talked with anyone in the past 15 years. She tells Simon about her sewing. Eventually, Grace agrees to start from the very beginning. She admits that her confession wasn’t really a confession. She just said what her lawyer told her to. Grace explains that she arrived in Canada with her family. Her father was cruel to her mother and the rest of the family. Grace’s mother tells her that she is worried she will not make it through the trip. The boat ride is treacherous. Eventually, Simon stops and becomes a little ill. Grace tells him to open the window. During the trip, Grace’s mother passes away. She is told that they were unable to open the window, so her mother’s soul may be trapped on the ship. In the present, Grace tells Simon that she was young and believed such silly ideas.
Her mother’s body is laid to rest at sea. Then, the family arrives in Canada. It is a muddy mess. Grace’s father (Jonathan Goad) doesn’t change. He continues being abusive to Grace. He attacks her one day. The next, he orders her to get a job and begin support her family. She says goodbye to her family. She tells Simon that she intended to go back at the time. Back in the present, the couple prepares to stop. However, Simon requests to know about Mary Whitney and why Grace decided to use her name. We see Grace head to Toronto and meet with Mary Whitney (Rebecca Liddiard). Mary tells Grace all about Mr. Parkinson. Grace is introduced to the other servants.
She is also introduced to a woman that tried to hang herself recently. Grace is told about the recent rebellion. That night, Mary tells Grace that she cannot give her wages to her father, because he will drink them away. Mary agrees to get her wages early tomorrow, so she can buy a proper dress. The session with the doctor comes to an end. In a flashback, we see Grace give her testimony in the courtroom. Grace also speaks about the doctor and how he writes down everything she says.
Alias Grace Review
All in all, I found Alias Grace to be enjoyable. It isn’t the best thing I have seen, but I found the story to be interesting. I also enjoy the time period and the struggles of the local residents. Sarah Gadon and Edward Holcroft did great in their respective roles. The fact that the series is based on something true makes it far more intriguing. I am enjoying it so far. The first episode scores a 7 out of 10.