Another major hit for Stephen King and his incredible run of great adaptations in the last few years.
I haven’t actually heard much about this project and only came across it while scrolling through HBO for something new to watch. I did a little bit of research prior to actually starting it and found out that it was based on one of Kings novels and that the episodes were written by Richard Price. If you aren’t familiar with his work then just think of two other big hits for HBO in The Night Of and The Wire. I was immediately excited and only grew more excited when I saw that Jason Bateman was a director on two episodes including the pilot and was also starring alongside Ben Medelsohn. There was a lot to like overall for the project and I kept away from any story details or trailers going into watching episode 1.
From the start it seemed that it was a simple tale of a gruesome murder of a child. There’s a lot of scenes that happen with little dialogue that makes it a bit irritating because I feel that it holds on these quiet moments a bit too long. It doesn’t take long though to get your attention with the first few minutes including a very graphic scene of the dead young boy. It was clear that he wasn’t just murdered but was also mutilated to some extent. It’s not easy to look at but definitely sets the tone for you to feel a certain way about the case as a whole and anyone found to be connected to it.
The show tends to jump back and forth between present time and moments that happened in the hours or days before the initial arrest takes place. It honestly feels a bit jarring and unnecessary when they could have just shown everything in a normal narrative without jumping around. With that said, they do reveal the information in a way that doesn’t feel like it throws too much at you at once. It does take about halfway through the show before you really start to get invested with what’s going on. We immediately get the sense from the detective played by Mendelsohn that he has something against Jason Bateman’s character Terry.
There’s history between the two characters that I’m sure is going to come in play later on, but I wish we would have gotten a little more information into their issues. It is interesting to see a guy like Terry who is a coach for the school baseball team that is being arrested for the murder of a child. He definitely comes off as being slightly creepy, but when interviewed doesn’t seem to have a malicious bone in his body. He also seems to have an alibi that feels strong considering his elaborate explanation of where he was at the time of the murder. This is exactly where I started to feel this story going in a different direction than what I expected.
The detective had very clear footage of Terry after the murder was committed, but it also seemed off for some reason. There is evidence of him being at the scene of the crime, but again it all seemed a little off. It was only when we found out that they had video evidence of him being out of town like he said that the questions really start to rise. How can he be at two places at once?
It’s very clear that this is going to be some kind of twisted story in the vein of Stephen King of course and will introduce some wild kind of idea as to how he was in two places at once. I definitely feel like it wasn’t actually him, but my biggest question is if somebody is impersonating him without his knowledge or if he is actually aware of an imposter. Could it be someone that looks like him or even a clone? I have no idea. I don’t have a clue where exactly this story is going except for the fact that it’s going to be something I don’t expect.
Aside from the slow parts where the camera seems to sit for too long almost like a documentary with no dialogue, the direction was actually pretty great. The story is incredibly interesting and blends your typical murder mystery with something that seems to reveal itself as being way more than what I was expecting. I’m waiting for this to completely subvert my expectations and give me something that I’m not thinking. I’m very excited to see where the story goes so far and this, as of right now, is a must watch for anyone looking for a new weekly show to get hooked on.
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