THE MOTHERLOAD RETURNS
How do you lose an entire living cow the first day you own it? That’s the question Tessa Treadway wears on her bewildered face in the opening scene of the new four-part Motherload series.
Then again, 1,100 pounds of Highland beef just vanishing overnight sort of seems par for the course. Tessa has had to adapt to so many seemingly impossible situations since her husband Dave’s passing three years ago, it’s no surprise she’s able to weather this minor storm with the seasoned acceptance of a Buddhist (which she is not), and take things one step further, transforming the entire production into fun. This is the motherload.
Despite having other plans for the day, she, her three boys, a very pregnant Izzy Lynch, and filmmaker Zoya Lynch (Izzy’s sister) conjure a scavenger hunt for the missing bovine that turns into an adventure through the bushy wilds of the Blaeberry Valley, outside of Golden, B.C. Of all the things to worry about in Tessa’s world, a missing cow actually seems small.
In the two years since the first film, which followed Izzy’s divorce and Tessa’s loss of Dave while they both navigated life as pro-skier single moms, the pair have adjusted and leaned into their situations, which have changed a lot. Izzy has a new partner and baby now (totalling two sons) and Tessa’s three boys have likewise become bigger and wilder with age (two through eight years old), as she’s developed a community of help orbiting around her.
While the first film was superbly received on the festival circuit and critically lauded for its raw honesty, director Zoya admits it was a difficult production, and one that got cut short by the pandemic shutdown of 2020, which forced them to stop shooting.
The trio felt there was room to show the joy they’ve found along the road since, and there was more to tell. Which makes perfect sense, because motherhood never ends; it’s full of ongoing episodes. So they decided to follow up the success of the first film with a series that spans all four seasons, celebrates resilience and adaptation, and showcases their payoff.
If that’s a load for the filmmaker, it’s immeasurably heavier for the moms. But even filmmakers have to roll with the punches, a point highlighted in one of the series’ closing shots, when Izzy matter-of-factly pumps breast milk to save for later while on slope being interviewed on camera. It’s no accident that made the final cut.
And, spoiler alert, the cow eventually does come home.