This Week's Reviews of. . .
Carrying on from the aftermath of Gilded Cage, “Tarnished City” reveals how things take a turn for the worse after the terrible events at the Jardine’s family estate at Kyneston.
Consigned to Millmoor slave town for a crime Luke didn’t commit, his family must now suffer the full force of an unjust system that sees them as nothing more than chattel to be used and disposed of as the Skilled ruling elite see fit.
And nowhere more so is that imbalance exposed than in Luke’s fate. Coerced into committing a murder he had no hope of preventing, he is hung out to dry, condemned to a life sentence of imprisonment and foul experimentation in one of the harshest places thought to exist. And the worst thing of all is that there are those in power who can prove his innocence. But what would be the point of that when the Jardine’s are out to serve their own aspirations?
Yes, their insidious grip on power tightens with each passing day.
What to do, then, in your darkest hour? Give up and accept your fate or fight until the fighting done? As Luke and his sister, Abi, are about to find out, nothing is as it seems. And your allies can be those you’d least expect.
Imaginative; intelligent; barbaric and compelling. “Tarnished City” is all this and more, revealing just how rocky the road to liberty can be, and why you should never give up!
Before I sat down to watch this new series, I have to admit, I was preparing myself for a kind of “Groundhog Day” reunion. I didn’t know what to expect . . . and boy, was I surprised. This is far, far better than the film everyone keeps referring to.
Natasha Lyonne plays Nadia, a chain-smoking, booze swilling, substance chuffing independent girl about town who’s enjoying her 36th birthday party one moment, and rolling across the bonnet of a taxi not fifteen minutes later when she’s killed for the first time.
She promptly regains consciousness back at the party, and everything starts to unravel exactly as it did before . . . or does it? (You get a clue from the title)
Nadia sets off again, bewildered and disorientated and wondering what the hell is going on . . . then BAM! She’s dead again. And we’re off, on an existential unmerry-go-round of her trying to sort through whether or not she’s actually dead – and being punished for something she did or didn’t do in life – or high on one of the many substances she likes to abuse in a party environment.
Her subsequent deaths are handled amazingly – and hilariously well (Those damned steps outside her friend’s apartment proving a tremendous hurdle to relife and limb) and every time she meets a grizzly end, something changes. Those changes are slight to begin with, but as the episodes progress, the differences become much more pronounced . . . as does the reason, explaining why the show is called, “Russian Doll”. It peels back the layers surrounding Nadia, and helps you see what went wrong in her life and how it’s scarred the way she avoids dealing with certain problems.
She doesn’t have to endure this nightmare alone, however. During an elevator plunge (a particularly wonderful event, superbly presented) she meets Alan, someone else who, like her, seems to be afflicted with his own version of the same cyclic dilemma.
Of course, they team up, and what follows exemplifies the title even more, as each character has to strip away the weight of their hang-ups to get at the root cause of their predicament. (That’s all I’m going to say. I hate giving away plot points, and I’ve already done too much of that).
But what I will emphasize is that you get a great little show (each episode is only half hour long) where each of the cast members interrelate in a manner that would normally indicate they’ve known each other and all their little quirky foibles for years.
It’s brutal, it’s blunt, it’s raunchy, it’s downright hilarious too, and thought-provokingly poignant (Just wait until the part where Alan realizes why it is he’s stuck in the loop) – and most of all, its great entertainment that’s refreshingly different from most of the other shows out there.
Natasha Lyonne is one of the co creators of this show along with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland. If this is indicative of their work, I want more :)
What a shame it came to an end so quickly.