School Was My Happy Place
Episode 1 of Alrawabi School for Girls begins with Mariam being violently attacked outside school. Sporting a bloodied head and numerous cuts and bruises, she’s rushed to hospital.
Following this incident, we cut back two weeks earlier. All the girls are aboard the bus, where tensions simmer between school bully Layan and outcast Mariam. In fact, Layan ends up spilling hot tea all over Mariam’s friend, Dina. It’s certainly a foreshadowed sign of things to come, as the girls head outside and prepare for inspection.
Layan sneaks off to go for a date, while new girl Noaf plays up the goth girl stereotype as she arrives as the new girl at school. Things only get worse for Mariam the following day, as Layan and the others start bullying the girl.
Mariam hits back by leaking to the teachers about Layan’s extracurricular activities with college boy Laith. Ms Faten lets Layan off the hook though, mostly because of who her Father is, as corruption seems rife across the grounds.
Layan suspects Mariam is responsible and starts beating her down with her friends after school. After leaving the girl in a heap on the floor, Layan promises to hurt her even worse if Mariam crosses her again. As she slams Mariam’s head to the ground, a trickle of blood oozes out.
This coincides with our girls being interviewed at the start of the episode. Noaf is told to stay quiet otherwise she’ll be next. Mariam however, is also quiet while she recovers. She claims her attackers hit her from behind and remains stoic about Layan being responsible.
Well, with cameras up around campus and an assembly called, Layan spins another deceitful lie surrounding Mariam touching her in appropriately. She claims this is the reason Mariam hit her head as all the other girls take Layan’s side. Unfortunately this sees Mariam suspended for two weeks.
Mariam’s Mum is furious and claims her daughter has disgraced the family name. With Mariam alone and with no one to take her side, she finds herself slumping into a depressive state. Well, this soon paves way for vengeance as Mariam remains determined to get her own back.
The Episode Review
Alrawabi School for Girls begins with a simple but effective opening chapter, one that sows the seeds of revenge to come. All the usual school archetypes are here, including the goth, the comedy relief and the bully, which all combine to make this a simple drama akin to something like Get Even or Elite.
Despite it being the longest episode of the season, there’s not an awful lot to this one, with a simple hook and not much in the way of mystery. Instead, it seems like we’re going to get a straight forward revenge thriller play out. The wildcard here though is Noaf and quite what her role in all this will be remains to be seen.