The glittering girls deceive the audience by promising a powerful thriller [RECENZJA]

Although the series “Shining Girls” starring Elizabeth Moss is a remarkable series, it does not fully fulfill its promise to the audience. Why? What was missing? We discuss everything with spoilers.

The first episodes of the series announce a thriller that doesn’t seem to matter who killed the killer (we know the killer in the first episode), but it does show why he did it, who he is, and what story is behind it. that’s it. However, instead of the thriller that “Shining Girls” tells the story until the end of the fourth episode, we get a story about a time schedule in which the lost heroes destroy the lives of themselves or their loved ones. The plot strings, divided into different periods, make the spectator wander aimlessly in the lives of different people who are quite familiar with him.

Shining Girls – The Secret of Harper Curtis

The story begins in Chicago, where Kirby Mazrachi lives (playing neurotic heroes as always, Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”). After a few years, the girl who was attacked by an unknown aggressor and miraculously saved her life, you will not find yourself in everyday life. It’s not just about depressive states, but also about the type of memory disorders that make them unaware of where they work, where and with whom they live.

Over time, it turns out that the protagonist does not struggle with amnesia, and “only” is involved in one of the most important elements of the plot, that is, the leaps in the timeline. They form alternative versions of the hero’s biography, depending on what happens to other characters. According to another victim of the same criminal’s attack, Phillipa Soo (“The Bite”), the two molecules interact with each other and bind them together, affecting their subsequent activities. This is what happened to Kirby and the other victims of the attack.

“Shining Girls” (Photo: Apple TV +)

Running after the killer, looking for information about him, learning about his past, all this sets the story in motion and forces us to sit on the edge of the chair after the next turns. However, the second half of the show definitely loses momentum, and our interest and tension diminishes as we discover that we are living an alternative story with the classic “whatever” rather than a story based on rational witness accounts. The finale tells us that we can turn the fate of the characters into something quite expensive. And then we know that death is not the last resort.

Someone will be disappointed if he reaches the show in the hope of a thriller explaining why someone committed a crime and his motives. The metaphor of the many time lines that change the reality of the heroes is a game in itself, a bit trivial. The series is based on a novel by Lauren Beukes, so readers no doubt knew what to expect. But if someone started watching the series without knowing the literary original, he was surprised, not necessarily positive.

Shining girls jump for periods

Kirby is either a reporter or an archivist in various versions of the trauma story, or someone who has never worked for a daily newspaper. The hero changes, and thanks to his new hairstyle, we can get an idea of ​​what story we found about him. Before or after the attack? Sharon / Kirby spends most of her time with Dan (Wagner Moura, “Narcos: Mexico”), who has lost his position as a prominent correspondent due to addiction, but still works in the media.

Thanks to the work of this duo, the traces of Harper Curtis (Jamie Bell, “TURN”) are found after many years. However, it comes at a price. When Kirby catches Curtis, he gives her a chance to escape her past life, thus breaking all previous schedules and erasing her relationship with Dan. By the way, Jamie Bell is great as a slimy, annoying and very sad man who hurts little girls and single women in the unlit streets.

Shiny Girls Apple TV + review

“Shining Girls” (Photo: Apple TV +)

Who is the killer? We see that for decades he did not grow old. In fact, it remains a mystery until the end. Abandoned by his mother, not accepted into an orphanage run by nuns, he is always alone, out of the limelight and undesirable. We believe that he fought with him on the front lines of the First World War, but the identity of the soldier turns into such a false illusion. Minor thefts and attacks are his daily life. Until you go home with a kind of time machine. He lives there with his ex-girlfriend Clara and his friend Leo from the front (Christopher Denham, “Golden Age”). Only it can move to other axes, the rest are closed in an epoch without it.

The transition between the 1920 assassination, the 1920s tradition, and the American daily life of the 1980s is highlighted. It is gratifying to follow the fashion and lifestyle of these decades, as well as changes in the daily activities of different social groups. Starting with the pre-war revision, it ends with luxurious vernissages through nightclubs playing rock music.

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The episode with Clara, a review dancer who uses radium as a medicine for her throat and respiratory tract, is interesting. It looks like an amazing ritual, just as he carefully dusts his body before the show. His character definitely adds “something” to the show. Madeline Brewer (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) perfectly portrayed the role of Clara, whose “retro” beauty perfectly fits the atmosphere of post-war customs.

Shiny Girls Apple TV + review

“Shining Girls” (Photo: Apple TV +)

There is no explanation for Harper’s motive to leave memories of previously killed women on the bodies of the victims, but at least we know where he got his advice. The late ’80s and early’ 90s are the most highlighted. At the moment, the series is very similar to “Archive 81”, which Netflix canceled after a season. There, too, timelines and video tapes played an important role. The protagonist, like Kirby, tries to understand what these changes are. Everything happened in Archive 81 when it was skyscraper, and here we have an old house full of mysteries.

If the series was split in half, the ropes would tighten, it would be a very interesting story. However, the second half of the series drags on relentlessly, and it’s hard not to lose patience when we all know who Kirby is looking for and why with Dan. The spectacular cast, photographs and return to the early 20th century will not compensate us for how long we have to wait for the story to close. There is no stronger confrontation with the killer and his confession. The production is intended for fans of the literary original and the audience, who value the mystery more than the rational explanation of criminal secrets.

Shining Girls – the series is available on Apple TV +


Amy Brenneman, Apple, Apple TV +, Elisabeth Moss, Elizabeth Moss, Jamie Bell, Shining Girls, Madeline Brewer, Apple TV + series, Shining Girls, Wagner Moura

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