TV Review: The Innocents – Episodes 1-4

THE INNOCENTS:
Season 1

Starring: Sorcha Groundsell, Percelle Ascott, Guy Pearce
Director of the episode: Farren Blackburn
Writer of the episode: Hania Elkington
Creator: Simon Duric & Hania Elkington

Release date: August 27

A review by Brooke Ali

What begins as a Romeo and Juliette story of forbidden teenage love quickly takes a surreal twist in The Innocents as teens Harry (Percelle Askot, Wizards vs. Aliens, Youngers) and June (Sorcha Groundsell, Clique, In Plain Sight) have been carrying on a secret relationship. After June’s mother suddenly left her family three years ago, her father has kept her on an exceedingly short leash. She’s forbidden from having friends, let alone a boyfriend, and not allowed to go anywhere but school and home. 

Meanwhile, Harry is burdened by family responsibility. His father is in a catatonic state and in need of round the clock care. On the eve of June’s family’s impending move to the isolated island of Faire Isle off the coast of Scotland, the couple make a break for it and run away to London. On the way, a Norwegian man tries to kidnap June, only for June to come out of the attack in the man’s body, her true appearance only visible in her reflection

Askot and Groundsell give excellent performances for such young actors. They can handle weighty and nuanced scenes dealing with issues of identity, love, personal freedom, and responsibility. While still acting like teenagers bouncing between elation and being in over their heads. Sam Hazeldine (The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Knightfall) and Nadine Marshall (Old Jack’s Boat, Second Coming) are solid as the parents of June and Harry respectively. Marshall’s portrayal of the police detective with the lingering guilt over the unsolved case that resulted in her husband’s current illness is especially strong. And of course, Guy Pierce in all his cult leader glory is very fun to watch.

The cinematography of this show really stands out. The use of reflective surfaces highlights the themes of identity and appearance which are strong throughout each episode. The scenery is another aspect that makes this show worth watching. Shot on location in the north of England and Norway, the story moves between a Nordic commune, a stone farmhouse, and the chaos of London. We are left questioning where is safe for the young couple. They’ve found themselves not only trying to survive as teenage runaways, but also solve the mystery of what is happening to June and what really became of her mother. As the story is teased out bit by bit, I became very invested in all of the multi-faceted characters. The show’s ending just begs for a second season and leaves me dying to know what happens next.

Verdict

Watch it! I love shows that tease out a good surrealist mystery, and this show has done it wonderfully. The story is engaging. The characters are strong and well-acted; this is an all-around solid show and worth a place in your Netflix queue.

Brooke grew up in Nova Scotia on a steady diet of scifi, fantasy, anime, and video games. She now works as a genealogist and lives in Toronto with her husband and twin nerds-in-training. When she's not reading and writing about geek culture, she's knitting, spinning, and writing about social history.

Brooke Ali

Brooke grew up in Nova Scotia on a steady diet of scifi, fantasy, anime, and video games. She now works as a genealogist and lives in Toronto with her husband and twin nerds-in-training. When she's not reading and writing about geek culture, she's knitting, spinning, and writing about social history.

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