BBC One has been churning out various family dramas that help the audience understand the intimate dynamics of a home life. Directed by Michael Keillor and written by Jack Thorne, Best Interests establishes the above by making the family in it have different views on one central subject, and where these different opinions will take them from here on is the big question. Best Interests itself begins with a scenario where one can notice the distance between Andrew and his wife, Nicci. As they are standing far away from each other, it is enough to understand they have not been on speaking terms and have chosen to take two different stands on a debate that’s close to their hearts.
Andrew, Nicci, And Their Happy Family
The story takes the viewers back seven months when Nicci and Andrew are introduced as a happily married couple returning from a short vacation. They come back to their elder daughter Katie and the younger one, Marnie, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, but nothing seems to have disrupted their break from their routine lives. By the looks of it, the parents and their children are a happy family, despite one of them having a deteriorating health condition. They seem to have come to terms with Marnie’s health. This relationship between the four of them shows how there is a deeper understanding of Marnie’s condition, and no one makes a fuss about it. Andrew and Nicci have been taking care of their younger daughter for a while, and everything comes easy to them when it comes to dealing with Marnie’s discomforts and other health-related issues. They are far from perfect, but there is surely love between them. Katie, the elder daughter, so far, is not lashing out like a typical teenager, as she adores her sister.
Marnie’s Failing Health
Marnie is admitted to the hospital one night because she is suffering from severe seizures caused by her condition, and as a family, they are expecting bad news. The audience also gets to see a flashback sequence, where Nicci and Andrew are informed of Marnie’s condition for the first time, implying that the girl might not have a long life. This is a doctor’s diagnosis, something everyone takes seriously, but the couple is willing to take this as a challenge, and they choose to adapt to a new style of living, keeping Marnie in mind. It is expected of any couple to go through an emotional breakdown due to their offspring’s health, and Nicci and Andrew do indeed go through that, but again, here, they did not have time to process the distress. It is obvious that the two of them made sure Marnie was provided with everything in their capacity. For viewers to understand, there should have been some screen time dedicated to letting them get a grasp of how the parents are working around this news. It wouldn’t have been easy to comprehend the issues that mothers and fathers go through as well. Maybe more of it will be showcased in the upcoming episodes.
Why Is Nicci Suing The Hospital? Why Is She Angry At Andrew?
Andrew and Nicci are informed that Marnie has a severe chest infection, and it will be a long night for the girl at the hospital. The couple wonders if they should have taken a short vacation after all. Guilt is a common emotion that engulfs parents because they’re often left wondering if they could have done something more for their child. The same feeling haunts Andrew and Nicci because, as parents, they have done everything they could and still believe they probably indulged too much by spending time with each other away from the girls.
The doctors at the hospital are also unsure how to break the bad news to the parents. They finally inform Andrew and Nicci about Marnie’s drastically deteriorating condition due to the chest infection, and carrying out a tracheostomy is not a viable solution because such treatments are not going to extend her life span. The doctors suggest supportive care because they are sure they have done everything they can to keep her healthy over the years.
The doctors here are only doing their job, diagnosing the health problem and providing a logical solution to it. They have been treating Marnie for years, and by the looks of it, they have exhausted every option in their hands and are implying that Marnie might not live that long. Supportive care will allow Marnie to have a peaceful passing instead of being surrounded by wires and tubes until her last breath.
On the other hand, Nicci is unwilling to stop Marnie’s treatments because she feels they are the only way to keep Marnie alive, and as a mother, she is unwilling to give up hope. It is assumed from her talk that she feels the doctors want to get rid of Marnie as a patient and make way for people with an actual chance of survival. It is difficult for the viewer to take sides at this point because both the arguments put forward seem logical and genuine. One could only understand the gravity of the situation once the viewers got to see the upcoming episodes.
Meanwhile, Nicci is still not ready to go ahead with the supportive care for Marnie after she suffers a cardiac arrest that could have possibly damaged her brain. Andrew, on the other hand, is, for the first time in years, on the opposite side of the argument because, as a father, he is unable to see his daughter suffering. This whole narrative would remind you of the Priyanka Chopra-Farhan Akhtar film The Sky is Pink, and the Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin starrer My Sister’s Keeper, which showcased the kind of fight a mother puts up for her child.
It seems the parents have gone to two different sides of the debate related to their child. Nicci and Andrew have always worked as a team for Marnie, but this time their differences might just cost them their marriage as well. Nicci, though, has rights over the child, as does Andrew, and by the looks of it, he is not sure if Nicci is taking the right route. He believes maybe it is time to let their daughter not suffer anymore and spend her last days with the family. She is angry at Andrew because she believes he is unable to understand her point of view and her struggle to keep their child alive. As a father, he should be enraged by the hospital’s suggestion, but he is anything but that.
The first episode of Best Interests ends with Nicci, her father her daughter Katie, heading to court and speaking to the media about how it is not the hospital’s right to decide whether her daughter Marnie should live or not. It is implied from her tone that she is indeed suing the hospital for possibly harassing her for not taking up their solution for Marnie’s condition. Nicci is implying that doctors cannot be right all the time, and while their solution might have worked for some, she is not sure if it would work for her daughter. Nicci is open to Marnie being medically treated with experimental procedures. The young girl is alive, as per the statement made by Nicci. This comes across as a full-blown battle against the establishment by Nicci, with Andrew not by her side.