The Rook: Season 1, Episode 1 “Chapter 1” [Series Premiere] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

66.67% (1)

While The Rook seems like it could be intriguing, it faces an uphill battle by being everything we’re not used to when superheroes are involved.


Network
Starz
Creator(s) Daniel O’Malley
Director(s) Kari Skogland
Writer(s) Al Blyth, Sam Holcroft
Air Date 6/30/2019
Genre(s) Fantasy, Action, Drama, Superhero
Good If You Like
  • Understated Supernatural Productions
  • Protagonists With Memory Loss Rediscovering Who They Are
  • Who Dun It Shows
Isn’t For You If You
  • Need At Least One Character With Charm, Charisma, Or Who Can Be Considered Comedic Relief
Introduced This Episode
Myfanwy Emma Greenwell

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The Introduction

Thanks to having her memory wiped, Myfanwy is now in a very precarious and dangerous situation. She is someone with deadly superpowers who isn’t sure who she can and cannot trust. Then, to complicate matters further, she is a secret government agent as well. Making not only her powers a liability to her safety but the fact she is aware of confidential intelligence alongside the names and powers of others like her.

Which is why, before her memory was erased, she set up a possible escape route. However, for some reason, she presents a red and blue pill situation so that either A) She could continue where she left off, living in paranoia, or B) Be on the run and know little to nothing of what happened. Unfortunately for Myfanway, but fortunately for us, she is coerced to relive her past life, with very few memories of it. Leading to her struggling to deal with hiding that she remembers nothing while possibly working with the person who caused her memory loss.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Propranolol Hydrochloride is blood pressure medication, but also works for migraines and tremors (per Healthline)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What was in the box the blue key would have opened?

Highlights

The Story Itself Is Intriguing

Myfanwy (Emma Greenwell) as she realizes she is in the room with a traitor.
Myfanwy (Emma Greenwell)

While a lead having memory loss, and dealing with the fact someone close to them may have caused it, isn’t new, it still sets up an intriguing mystery. Especially with the added bonus of Myfanwy having powers and working for a secret government agency. One which has a handful of other people with abilities, one of which Myfanwy may have had relations with. Add in vultures, who seemingly hunt Myfanwy’s kind, and you got what seems like a nice foundation.

On The Fence

The Characters Lack A Pop

But then comes the problem that no one really pops on screen. Be it that superhero fatigue only exists on television or DC and Marvel have created stifling expectations, it makes the very understated personas of The Rook underwhelming. For among them, there isn’t that comical character, one whose charisma draws you in, or who has a way about them which makes you question their every move.

Mind you, the way the story is written, and how the cinematography is done, you can tell there is supposed to be this air of mystery and intrigue. However, none of the actors deliver that. Yes, Myfanwy’s peers all seem suspicious, but there is something about them all which seems so flat it doesn’t lead to wheels in your head turning. Even Myfanwy herself doesn’t come off as someone you want to invest in with the way Greenwell plays her.

Which isn’t to say Greenwell can’t act. However, I do think considering the fantasy, especially superhero subgenre, has shifted to be more about spectacle and big personalities. Making it so The Rook lacking both coercing you to adjust.

First Impression: Mixed (Stick Around)

Check Out The Rook Exclusively on Starz

In the long run, The Rook could be good. It could present an alternative to what DC and Marvel have made the default and act as a quality outlier. However, it will need to step it up if it wants to be a successful outlier. For the lack of a notable hook in terms of characters and action, only leaves this show with the potential of its story. Which, based off the pacing we’ve seen thus far, makes it appear The Rook is likely to slowly unfurl, making it harder to hold onto its audience. So one can only hope that, with the foundation of the show made, between pacing, characters, action, or another factor, it picks things up and can be successful enough to diversify the superhero subgenre.

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