At the beginning of the series, we see the outside of Gillies Warnock Architects. David (Dougray Scott) and Kay (Neve McIntosh) pop open a bottle of champagne. The firm celebrates landing a contract for The Brathness Library. Ellen (Morven Christie) is congratulated for sealing the 12 million dollar deal. Those in charge tell Ellen that this is just the start for her. That night, Ellen returns home and tells her boyfriend, Ian (Richard Rankin), the good news. In the morning, Ellen wakes up vomiting. She visits a nearby pharmacy. Seconds later, she returns to Ian and tells him that she is pregnant. Afterwards, Ellen heads to work and tells David and Kay about the baby. They celebrate the news, while agreeing to keep the news a secret.
Afterwards, Ellen pays a visit to the construction site and speaks with Vernon (Gilly Gilchrist). Vernon insists Ellen better not be going anywhere, since she is the one they bought. They both agree that the library is Ellen’s baby as well. Ellen reveals she will be off in 8 months. She insists the maternity leave will be quick and barely noticed. She also makes it clear that a hunt for a replacement is already underway. Seconds later, we see Paula (Vicky McClure) walking the streets towards the office. She speaks with Kay and the others. Ellen seems impressed with the woman. That night, Ellen shares a drink with her colleague, Lucy (Kim Allan). They discuss Paula and Ellen continues to vouch for her. The next day, Ellen sits down with Paula again. The woman makes it clear she is willing to jump through hoops to secure the job.
Ellen agrees to let the woman shadow her for several months, before she leaves. Paula pulls out blueprints for the library and this startles Ellen. She convinces Paula to put their work away for now. Later, Ellen speaks with Rianne (Sarah MacRae) about the future. Ellen and Ian head to the doctor for an ultrasound. Back at work, Paula’s husband, Kieran (Navin Chowdhry) arrives and speaks with Ellen. He tells Ellen that his wife has been caught up at the library. This startles Ellen, since Paula was never given permission to meet with Vernon or visit the library. Paula enters and apologizes, before Vernon steps outside. Ellen notices that Paula has made modifications to the blueprint. Ellen admits she likes the changes and suggests Paula should present them to Vernon. Paula and Kieran argue outside in their vehicle.
Next, Ellen digs into Paula Reece’s background and previous work. She speaks with Kay and quickly learns that Paula has impressed the others. Ellen asks about Paula’s contract. Kay reveals that they’ve been thinking about moving Paula’s start date forward. Later, Ellen has lunch with Rianne and Ian. Ellen admits she could never imagine taking 10 years off from work. Later, Ellen works on the blueprint. She contemplates putting a skylight in the entrance. David enters and admits he likes the idea. However, the others believe they should refrain some making too many changes. That night, Ellen visits the library. During the visit, she runs into Paula. Ellen asks Paula if she has any new ideas. Instead, Paula repeats the same things David did and insists they should let Vernon settle in first. When Ellen returns home, she complains about Paula having lunch with her friends. She suggests Paula is moving in on everything.
Ian confirms that he also received an invite. Ellen seems concerned that Paula was able to get their personal phone number. Seconds later, they arrive at the lunch. As soon as the group prepares to eat, Paula interrupts and refuses to let Ellen eat cheese for health reasons. Kay admits Paula is a little straightforward, but Vernon seems to like her. The next day, Ellen visits Vernon with a gift. He refuses to accept it and insists it would be against regulation. He admits he has been in contact with Paula. Vernon mentions an upcoming presentation, which Ellen knows nothing about. She returns to Kay and complains about not being informed. Kay admits it was Paula’s idea. Paula speaks with Ellen later and apologizes for not keeping her informed. Paula makes a comment about Ellen’s controlling behavior potentially leading to an illness.
Ellen quickly becomes angry and tells Paula to stay out of her personal business. Ellen watches are Lucy comforts Paula outside. Ellen seeks advice from Ian later that night. He tells her to limit her relationship with Paula and also let her handle the presentation. He suggests she might fail to look terrible. In the morning, Paula is informed she will be allowed to give the presentation. She thanks Ellen. Surprisingly, Paula knocks it out of the park. After the presentation, Ellen speaks with Paula in private. She congratulates her, before Paula offers to resign. They wind up getting into a loud argument. David and Vernon catch them in the act. Paula quickly takes the responsibility. Next, Kay tells Ellen that they’ve moved her maternity leave forward. David does his best to smooth things over with everyone.
Ellen visits Ian. She overhears him speaking to his mother about her past and her potential struggle with depression. She eventually interrupts and learns that Paula called Ian earlier that day. Ellen sarcastically suggests she’ll have to kill her. Ellen takes Ian’s advice again and tries to smooth things over with her work colleagues. Ellen returns to the doctor and learns the baby’s gender. She surprises Ian with the news. The next day, Paula speaks with Ellen about a problem with the fueling source. They decide to check out new tiles together. They visit the library together and Ellen stands barefoot on the tiles. During the visit, Ellen notices that her skylight has been installed. Paula confirms it was meant to be a surprise.
Out of nowhere, Ellen crashes to the ground. She pleads with Paula to keep the accident a secret, but she refuses. David is forced to suspend Ellen for the time being. She is allowed to work from home, but does so begrudgingly. Late one night, Ian catches Ellen plotting against Paula with the baby. Then, Ellen goes for a bite to eat. She gets a phone call from Kay, who finally admits things are going sour. Ellen agrees to meet her at the library. When she arrives, she finds that the security code has been changed. Kay texts it to her. Once Ellen enters, Kay comes crashing through her skylight. Ian meets Ellen and comforts her. At the end of the episode, we see that Ellen is forced to go through a C-section.
The Replacement Review
The Replacement feels very similar to Single White Female. However, there is enough originality to easily separate the two. The first episode was slightly long winded, but it still did a good job of setting things up and establishing the lead characters. Morven Christie and Vicky McClure did great as polar opposites competing to reach the check mate first. This far, Paula has definitely proven to be a force to be reckoned with. There is something strange about her, but she has successfully managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes at this point.
Ellen seems to be the only one aware of her schemes. Will she be able to expose the truth before it is too late? The Replacement isn’t bad. A 6.5 out of 10 is awarded to the first episode.