A creepy rich man preys on women who reminds him of his late wife, with the trap being cheap rent.


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A creepy rich man preys on women who reminds him of his late wife, with the trap being cheap rent.


Aired 12/19/2021
Network BBC/ HBO Max
Created By J.P. Delaney
Directed By Lisa Bruhlmann
Written By J.p. Delaney
Genre Drama, Mystery, Romance
Introduced This Episode
Edward David Oyelowo
Emma Jessica Plummer
Jane Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Simon Ben Hardy

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Overview

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Somewhere in London, there is a house that features the minimum amount of accoutrements and comes with a list of rules that would be a struggle for most people. Because of this, and an interview with the designer and owner of the house, Edward, the house often remains empty for years. However, we follow two women, three years apart, Emma and Jane, who seemingly were lucky enough to be chosen to live in this low rent house.

However, as Edward makes his intentions known, what seems like a low-rent blessing might become a nightmare.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Who is the father of Jane’s child?
  2. Did Edward have any involvement with the person who violated Emma?

What Could Happen Next

  1. I am 70% sure Edward killed Emma for rejecting him.
  2. Also, I feel that Edward uses the data from the house, since part of the low rent comes with tracking software, to know what the women who remind him of his wife like, want, and need – as a means to manipulate them.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Never apologize for someone you love, makes you look like a prick
— Edward

Review

Highlights

Edward’s Creepiness

Edward (David Oyelowo) interviewing one of the ladies
Edward (David Oyelowo)

Oyelowo’s performance crease a bit unease. He seems like a nice guy, but from the jump, him heavily discounting a newly built home was a red flag. But then when you add in him collecting data on who lives there, Edward only letting people rent if they look like his ex-wife and the amount of rules he has? You see a realm of control there that creates a crimson sea of flags.

And while, yes, with Jane, she is single, though not yet ready to mingle, so his pursuit of her has some dynamic power issues, but isn’t terrible, the same can’t be said about Emma. Someone who, I think, he used subtle ways to break her and her boyfriend, Simon, up.

Emma and Jane Are Likable

I won’t pretend that their secrets didn’t seem a bit cheap to get quick sympathy. Emma being held at knifepoint and assaulted or raped is certainly horrifying and unfortunate, but it also seemed like a quick and easy way to get you to invest in her. But with only 4 episodes, what was the alternative going to be?

Well, what Jane went through with losing a child. But, while the quick way was used to get you invested in these two characters and their plight, they show themselves as likable beyond that since they aren’t defined, necessarily, by their trauma.

Emma just switched from being a sales assistant to marketing, and the struggle is real since it isn’t as creative or fun as she thought. Also, she and Simon are going through things that her assault and the house exacerbate, pushing you to understand how an established relationship can shift after someone violates your partner. And while, yes, the show doesn’t dive deep into the complexities of how Simon feels, since it isn’t about him, it does present an interesting angle.

The same could be said with Jane. With it being a delicate topic, like Emma, she doesn’t go into the full spectrum of what happened and her emotions, but you get more than enough to understand the pain, anxiety even, that has led her to need a change in scenery and some form of a distraction.

So when we say these two are likable, it is because they didn’t just cast two attractive women, give them a sympathetic storyline, and dropped them into the show. They added layers, depth, and made it so you care about them, their safety, and worry about Edward’s intentions towards them.

On The Fence

Emma and Simon As A Couple

Simon (Ben Hardy) talking to Jane
Simon (Ben Hardy)

A part of me feels like we’re supposed to feel bad for Simon. Not just because of how he wasn’t able to protect his girlfriend from her assault, but also her breaking up with him, saying she doesn’t love him, the whole nine yards. The problem is with that is Simon doesn’t bring much to the relationship and didn’t have any real cute moments with Emma that pushed a sense of chemistry. So everything he says and does more so helps you understand and appreciate her breaking up with him than feeling bad for him in the slightest.

Initial Impression

With four-hour-long episodes and characters who you’ll certainly find yourself investing in, we are so far digging The Girl Before. Now, are we overtly curious about how Emma died in the house? Not strongly – we’ll admit that. But we’ve just gotten to know her, so while we like her, we need more time for them to build up her character for her death to feel some form of devasting.

And as for Jane? I hope we’ll get more out of Edward and Jane since they have started dating by the end of the episode. Hopefully, we’ll see there is more to Edward than him being direct and traumatized by losing his wife and son – thus wanting to exert a certain level of control over his environment and people. Then with Jane, I would like to know her more as I feel like we’ve barely grazed the surface.

[ninja_tables id=”62552″]

Title Card - The Girl Before Season 1 Episode 1 [Series Premiere]
The Girl Before: Season 1/ Episode 1 [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who like mysteries with characters whose intentions might be more complex than they appear.
Highlights
Edward's Creepiness
Emma and Jane Are Likable
Disputable
Emma and Simon As A Couple
79

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