The Baby is probably the weirdest show you’ll see in a long time. But anyone with a dark sense of humour, a stomach for gore and about four hours on their hands really should check out The Baby. Ostensibly a comedy horror, but also a family drama, a tragic love story, a nightmarish look at motherhood and a paranoid, supernatural parable (in eight handy 30 minute-or-less episodes), The Baby tells the story of Natasha (Michelle de Swarte), a woman with no kids, who is more than content to stay that way until a baby literally falls off a cliff and into her arms. This is no ordinary baby… it’s a killer baby! Or a certainly a sort of Final Destination-powers, Midwich Cuckoos-got-nothing-on-you infant who destroys anyone who tries to separate him from his chosen surrogate mother/victim by causing accidents or occasionally engaging in out-and-out mind control.
The start of the show is actually very funny with much of the humour derived from the balance between this adorable child (played by Albie and Arthur Hills) who actually physically does nothing other than ‘be a cute baby’, and smart-mouthed Tasha who slowly realizes the tot’s legacy and power and calls him all the names under the sun. Later Tasha and the mysterious Mrs Eaves (Amira Ghazalla), trip over themselves in the world of yummy mummies, cults and fraught friendships to try to stop the precious angel’s reign of terror.
But as the show progresses and we find out what’s really going on, the comedy tuns towards genuine tragedy.
We explore the end of the show, who’s still alive and what it could mean for a potential season 2.
Whose baby is The Baby?
At the start of the show we see Lydia (Sophie Reid) with the baby approaching a cliff’s edge, followed by police. She plummets over the edge to her death while the baby lands in Natasha’s arms (she’s on the shore at the bottom of the cliff).
But we learn fast that this is not Lydia’s baby. Nor is it the baby of the woman who choked on a cookie leaving the kid in Lydia’s care.
In fact we discover further down the line that this is the child of Helen (Sex Education’s Tanya Reynolds) and her husband Jack (Karl Davies). Helen’s is an awful story. Unhappily married to Jack and forced to have sex with him even though she’s not attracted to him, Helen attempts to leave her husband to be with Nour (Seyan Sarvan) who she loves (who we understand is a younger Mrs. Eaves). Helen lives in a sort of safe house with Nour and others for some months, until eventually her husband essentially kidnaps her back and keeps her locked away until she gives miserably gives birth. Helen loves Nour and has no love for this child that’s been forced upon her. She attempts to kill her husband and escape leaving the child behind, but when the kid turns up at Nour’s cabin Helen kills herself.
What is The Baby?
While the baby is born to two human parents, this is not a normal child. In fact “he’s made of something very old” Nour explains. “He’s our fear of being unloved, he’s a bottomless pit of need.” He is existential angst in baby form.
We learn that the baby doesn’t age and through the decades has gone through a series of women without kids, all of whom have died. The baby wants unconditional love—the love his mother was unable to give him.
Natasha decides that she will try to give him that love, and acquiesce to all of those needs but it’s not enough (which is frankly a relief, that would have been an incredibly trite resolution to a show with much more nuance than that). The baby is so relentlessly needy that he can’t be left alone for a second, can’t be touched by anyone but Tasha and at any point where he feels threatened or unhappy will do harm. And that includes doing harm to Tasha’s family—a family she’s only lately began to reunite and reconcile with.
Her attempts to get rid of the baby failed. Despite knowing her own life was at risk she couldn’t deal with the ideal of killing the baby. Her attempts to love the baby into submission didn’t work either when the cost to those around her was too great. At the end of the series we find Tasha atop the cliff with the baby, in the middle of an existential crisis. She had thought perhaps taking care of the baby might have been her calling, but that’s not the case. So Tash is questioning her whole existence.
Tasha’s arc and that of her sister Bobbi (Amber Grappy) are parallel. Bobbi is desperate for a child, so much so that it ends up ruining her relationship with her partner Sam (Genesis Lynea). Bobbi feels like her lot in life is to make other people happy, without thinking of her own needs. Natasha, on the other hand, feels very put upon after their mother left when she was 12 and Bobby 6. She likes to be in control. She likes to save people. But with the baby she doesn’t know what to do or where that leaves her.
She lost the woman she loved, became obsessed with thwarting the baby, and has witnessed its murderous run over the decades. Nour believe she’s responsible for cursing the baby because of a declaration she makes when full of white hot rage after Helen dies but ultimately there is no curse. The baby is “a violent product of a violent world” as Natasha points out.
When Natasha and the baby are on top of the cliff contemplating the next move Nour takes things into her own hands. She grabs the child and throws them both off the cliff and into the sea where Helen drowned. For a moment we see the lovers reunited.
This is the only choice for Nour, who at this point realises she has spent her life obsessed with the baby and consumed with fury over the loss of her love.
The redemptive ending
Nour jumps, the baby plummets into the depths but Natasha drags Nour to the shore. They survive but the baby is gone.
Later in a sunny scene in the park, Natasha is reconciled with her friends Mags (Shvorne Marks) and Rita (Isy Suttie), to whom she was a dick in episode One. She’s playing with Mags’ baby and has come to terms with the idea that her friends have children and that’s ok. Rita complains her pregnancy is giving her constipation, and Bobbi is entertaining a group of joyful kids in the background. It’s a scene that is important for the show not to be coming down hard on the ‘being a mother is awful, kids are terrible’ side (because the idea of the baby being foisted on Natasha does very much explore some of the more nightmarish elements of parenthood and how people treat mothers). Natasha is still foul mouthed, still herself though—she hasn’t been ‘made safe’ and you don’t imagine she is necessarily going to rush off and try to have kids of her own. It’s more that she’s grown up to be a bit more tolerant to others.
Meanwhile, we see Nour off on a hike with a woman. A new love interest perhaps? It’s certainly a scene indicative of her own redemption, the idea that she’s finally been able to move on.
Is The Baby dead?
Not on your nelly. The final scene shows the little terror crawling along the beach.
Does this mean there could be a second season?
In theory, yes. Our main players are all still alive (apologies to the cops, the shop keeper, the previous ‘mother’s’, ‘Bruv’ and all the others who didn’t make it), and so is the baby. But where that could take us is another story. Which, were there to be a season two, is exactly what the show would need—another story. Though The Baby is very British and has obvious reference points with things like Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen and Prevenge as well as Apple+ show Servant and Brit comedy Motherland, it’s also vaguely a distant cousin to Russian Doll with its distinctive female lead, existential themes, bits and pieces of sci-fi and the supernatural, and strong supporting characters. Russian Doll season one resolved its story line, only for season two to change things up again. Perfectly satisfying as a standalone series, if creators Lucy Gaymer and Sian Robins-Grace have new places to take The Baby, we’re here for it.
The Baby is available to stream on Sky in the UK and HBO in the US.