The Lake is a Canadian Prime Video original that takes the audience through the cottage culture of the Canadians and their summertime ritual of bringing people together to live as a community. The eight-episode show created by Julian Doucet is more than just a coming-of-age story. It talks about family bonding, making new friends, resolving old conflicts, and rediscovering yourself.
The Lake begins with a teenager, Billie, forced to spend time with her long-absent birth father, Justin, who is visiting Canada after a hiatus in Australia. Both have their reasons for being with each other. They initially do not get along because it is their first meeting. Thanks to Billie’s amazing parents, she was made aware of her adoption at a young age. Justin joins this trip with his baggage. Justin is gay, and a recent divorcee, and his trip back home is his way to not just spend time with Billie but also introduce her to the cottage culture he grew up with. This father-daughter bonding exercise might lead to issues like being unable to communicate, having nothing in common, and Justin meeting her for the first time since her birth. Anticipating all of this, Justin is adamant about giving Billie the time of her life. How she feels at the end of her trip will determine their future relationship.
On reaching the cottage he has rented, he is excited to show his family cottage to Billie, as he still feels a connection to his childhood home. He believes the house has been sold to some other family, which makes him feel sad but content because on doing a quick tour of the house he notices the current owner has retained plenty of objects that belonged to his father. To his shock, the cottage is owned by his stepsister and her family. Justin is upset because he believes his father left the cottage for Maisy and not him. It brings the family feud to the forefront. Justin is vocal about his hatred for Maisy, and he lets her know his disapproval of her owning a home that technically was never hers, implying that she is not a blood relative of his dad, which makes her and her family unworthy of living in it.
Maisy, too, never had any love for Justin, and his sudden arrival with his birth daughter at the lake will make things a little difficult for her. Maisy is the president of the Boathouse, which takes care of all the local work and approvals, and using that position of power, she plans to renovate her family cottage. She is sure Justin would raise some issues, and he does as Maisy expected because he is in no mood to change the architecture of his family home.
Meanwhile, Billie and Justin start getting along very well. The friction on the first day was the only hitch they faced, and since then, Billie has managed to understand Justin and vice versa. Billie starts falling for Maisy’s eldest son, Killian, but again, it is highly inappropriate because they are step cousins. The attraction is legit, and they can’t stop themselves from hanging out with each other. It is the first time Billie has felt this kind of magnetism, and she wonders if this is how summer romances begin. Justin was quick to find out that the cottage legally does not belong to Maisy, as per the will left by his father. The old man did the right thing by making sure Justin and his biological daughter Billie, were named in the will as his heirs.
The Lake so far has been able to showcase the dysfunctional family dynamics, the sibling rivalry, and the quest to hold onto what is theirs. Maisy has been in Canada for years, and she feels she has the right to own the cottage. Meanwhile, Justin is the actual heir, but the man ran off to Australia after Billie’s birth, only to return after a decade to make claims over the property of his father, someone he was never on good terms with. This shows how a family functions when it comes to money and real estate. Justin thinks he is playing smart by placing obstacles in the form of Jayne, Maisy’s best friend, to contest against her for the post of president. Maisy turns out to be a master at emotionally manipulating people and turning the situation around in her favor.
Maisy introduces Justin to Riley, a local shopkeeper and roadkill enthusiast. Both are attracted to each other, and they start flirting. Their initial interactions were passionate, but it fizzled out due to a misunderstanding. Since the living area around the lake is limited, they keep meeting each other, giving them time to start again from where they left off. Justin feels weird starting a relationship this way because he is not over his divorce. They do not start dating immediately, but one can hope that by the end of this season, Justin and Riley will be together. The fight between the stepsiblings for the family cottage begins. Killian reveals that he is also not in favor of his mother’s plan, and this information is enough for Justin and Billie to sabotage Maisy’s renovation plans. Billie tries to contaminate the lake water, which would stop all construction work around it, but this again falls flat. Along with this, there are many plans the siblings come up with in the hope of one-upping each other. The siblings show no signs of stopping. For Justin, his heritage means a lot, but for Maisy, this renovation gives her the chance to make this home feel like hers, like she belongs to this place.
Billie and Killian sadly break off their relationship because Billie, while inebriated, reveals that the family cottage belongs to Justin and herself, and they are planning to forcefully take it away from Killian’s mother. Killian is upset because he does not want the family to fall apart over it. Justin confronts Maisy with the actual will because he knows this is the only way to make sure she leaves. Justin initially planned to sell the house to Maisy and, with that money, purchase the cottage he was renting right now. Thanks to Billie’s influence, Justin agrees to buy the family cottage and help run the place on a time-share basis.
Justin does not want to isolate his family further. With Billie in his life, he understands the value of having family around. Maisy disagrees because she has no plans to vacate the property. The only way they know how to settle this dispute is by playing Tiltapalooza as part of the end-of-summer celebration. If Justin wins, he will buy her off, and if Maisy wins, Justin will have to burn the will. This childish game they play to make a final decision over their property that proves Justin and Maisy need to grow up and deal with the situation at hand with maturity. To trump Justin, Maisy plans to put an offer on the rental cabin. If she wins the game, she will not only get the family cottage but also the rental property, which will force Justin to not come to this place next year and legally fight over the property.
Unfortunately, Maisy loses the game, and the rental property is sold to Riley. This brings their deal to a standstill because Justin decides to give the family cottage back to Maisy in the hope of making things right between them. The man has a change of heart because he does not have it in him to fight his family. He removes his name from the trust, which angers Maisy because, as per the law, the family cottage will now go to Maisy’s mother, Mimsy, who, according to their reaction, is not a good person. She is not keen on having her mother over, which proves Mimsy is a far more complicated character than Justin and Maisy. The audiences will be seeing more of her in the second season of The Lake.
Billie, on the other hand, promises to meet Justin the next summer, and with the cottage not his anymore, they plan a long European trip. Justin’s daughter had a good time with him, and he is proud of the fact that he is a good birth father. In The Lake Season 2, we will hopefully get to see more of Billie, Justin, their dynamics and another set of compelling narrative.