The (Half) Sister You Never Knew You Had: Reviewing Acorn TV’s ‘The Other One’

by Rachel Bellwoar

Finding out your dad’s been having an affair for decades and has a daughter you didn’t know about is not the kind of news you want to be carrying into his funeral, yet that’s how Cathy (Ellie White) and her half-sister, Cat (Misfit’s Lauren Socha), meet.

Colin (Simon Greenall) died while the truth was being exposed, so it’s not like his secrets were long for this world, but it does put a crimp in the mourning when Cathy and her mom, Tess (Rebecca Front), are sitting on one side of the aisle at his funeral, and Cat and her mom, Marilyn (Downton Abbey’s Siobhan Finneran), are sitting on the other.

If you ever wondered what Brothers & Sisters would look like as a half hour comedy, The Other One is it. Cat and Cathy – both short for Catherine – were born five days apart, and it sounds like Marilyn knew Colin was married, but Cathy and Tess had no idea he was cheating, and Cat, for some reason, is never asked. You’d think that would come up, since if Cat knew she didn’t say anything, but instead their first conversation is about Colin’s ashes and whether they should scatter him in a sandbox at the park.

A lot of the series’ humor comes from Cat and Marilyn doing things without asking, like collecting Colin’s ashes on their own. It’s not malicious. They weren’t taking the ashes to be vindictive, but they don’t seem to realize when their actions could be construed as rude, or at least inconsiderate.

Maybe that’s more a reflection on Cathy then it is on them. Despite being introduced as a Type A personality, Cathy gets pushed around a lot on this series and while her hen party offers some insight into her character, it’s still frustrating when she doesn’t stand her ground.

If any of the siblings on Brothers and Sisters thought their dad had a second mistress, they wouldn’t rest until that mistress was found, but when Cathy finds out Colin wasn’t with Cat and Marilyn on Thursdays, like she thought in the first episode, it’s completely dropped until the end of the season. At that point it’s no longer much of a surprise, but it could’ve been if the show had dealt with it sooner.

That’s not the only thing The Other One drags out, either. Anyone could tell you Cathy’s not meant to marry Marcus (Amit Shah), yet their wedding plans are a huge part of the season. Marilyn’s “condition” is another sore spot, since the show never defines what that “condition” is, making it easier for her to recover suddenly.

I do love that the show acknowledges Cat’s right to be angry. She may be “the other one” but that doesn’t mean she isn’t mad that her dad wasn’t around more growing up. As for the title, I wonder how the show would’ve fared with Cat at its center instead of Cathy? The Other One has potential, but it’s too by the numbers to be as funny as it should be with that cast.

The Other One begins streaming on Acorn TV starting August 10th.

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