UK TV review: Two Weeks to Live
Ivan Radford | On 02, Sep 2020
Maisie Williams playing a seemingly harmless but secretly deadly young woman? It’s easy to see the appeal of Two Weeks to Live, Sky One’s new thriller that gives the Game of Thrones star a leading role in her own series. This assassin/revenge/coming-of-age comedy, though, finds itself aiming all over the place.
Williams plays Kim Noakes (Maisie Williams), a young misfit who was raised in remote seclusion by her mum (Sian Clifford) after her father died in mysterious circumstances. We join her as she ventures out into the world as a grown-up, navigating her way through friendships, romance and – yes – stone-cold revenge.
She crosses paths almost immediately with Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan) and her brother, Jay (Taheen Modak), who spend their time unsuccessfully hoping to score a kiss with any passing woman. When they hear of Kim’s extreme survival training from her doomsday-prepping mother, they fake a news report that the world will end in two weeks – and so out go Kim’s social niceties and in their place is her die-hard thirst for vengeance.
What ensues is a cat-and-mouse-cat chase between Kim, some gangsters and a handful of police, with a bag of cash, a bed stuffed with guns and Kim’s newfound friends caught up in the middle. By the time her mum wanders back into the frame, you can feel the push and pull between each strand of the plot. On the one hand, there’s the reckoning between her and her mum, who has deceived her for her own selfish reasons. On the other, there’s her need to get closure on her father’s death. And on the other, there’s her fledgling romantic chemistry with Nicky.
Sadly, all of this doesn’t have the serious depth or gritty drama to delve into the nuances of each character – compared to BBC Three’s Witless or Amazon’s Hanna, both of which factor into the show’s DNA, the script is a broader affair that is happy to go for laughs over engagement.
Fortunately, the cast are good enough to help paper over the cracks – aided by the 25-minute runtime of each episode. When Kim is in full flow, undermining each potentially cool moment with a clumsy pratfall or self-conscious one-liner, Maisie Williams is wonderful, blending a wide-eyed naivety with a real knack for comic timing. Kerry Howard, Sian Clifford and Jason Flemyng also bring ammunition to spare. You just wish that they had a more concentrated target to aim at.
Two Weeks to Live is available on Sky One. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it live and on-demand legally on NOW, for £9.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial.