Led by the remarkable Erin Doherty with great turns from Pippa Bennett-Warner and Billy Howle, twisty thriller Chloe is huge amounts of fun
“I just felt like a bit of an imposter”
The realisation of a six-part TV drama aside, writer/director Alice Seabright manages something rather clever in Chloe in offering up an authentic depiction of the way (some) people use social media (Instagram) these days. As we meet Becky Green, we see her scrolling through the ‘gram-a-like with the TV blaring away, doing a deep dive into the profile of one person in particular – the titular Chloe – combing through all the carefully curated details of their life, as it seems online at least.
Living somewhere on the rough side of Bristol, Becky’s life is presented as rather humdrum. Stuck with a mindless temp admin job and reluctantly forced into the role of carer for her dementia-suffering mother, you’d forgive her a little escapism. But when news of Chloe’s passing filters through, Becky spies an opportunity for herself. For she is a master of reinvention, adept at adopting new identities, and she soon inveigles her way into Chloe’s grieving friend group by donning ASOS’s finest and renaming herself Sasha.
As you might guess from the length of the series, there’s a whole lot more to it than that but I’m going to try and remain spoiler-free. Suffice to say, the fraudulent identity angle is just one of the facets at play in this show, and as we delve deeper into mysteries that arise, there’s a growing sense of tension that builds up episode by episode as you sit and wonder how in the hell is it going to play out. There’s a smidgen of a get-out-of-jail-free card in the final analysis but in the end, I easily forgave this.
Mainly because Erin Doherty – so memorably good with so little material in The Crown – is fantastic as Becky, and as Sasha. There’s a calculating distance as we watch the gears in her mind work through the mental gymnastics to keep up her double life and so the moments when something close to real emotion pops up are even more powerful, particularly in dealing with her mum (an anguishingly good Lisa Palfrey) and Brandon Micheal Hall’s Josh, who comes closest to calling her out.
There’s also fantastic work within the circle of friends Sasha invades. Pippa Bennett-Warner’s bestie Livia is scintillating as the cool professional slowly won over, though showing her sharp edges at all times. Billy Howle as the grieving hubbie and would-be MP Elliot is a truly beguiling figure who Sasha soon latches onto and as his mother, Phoebe Nicholls delivers a wonderfully monstrous performance of pure ice. A thriller that had me properly gripped.