Dead Ringers Season 1 Review – A deliciously macabre and thoroughly enjoyable series

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4.5/5

Dead Ringers is one of those rare recent shows that, in its focus on writing, doesn’t forget that it’s also a visual spectacle. And a spectacle it is indeed, with its solid cinematography, vivid use of red, snappy editing and, of course, Rachel Weisz taking full command of any scene, twice over.

She plays both Beverly and Elliot Mantle, twin gynaecologists who use their identical looks to often swap places with each other — in the workplace and in romance. But in reality, they are as different as can be. When Beverly gets serious with a woman, Genevieve Cotar, the twins’ already twisted relationship gets even more warped.

The miniseries is primarily character driven by Beverly and Elliot, who stand out as two endlessly fascinating characters. Weisz has done an exemplary job underlying Beverly’s niceness with something strange and uneasy, infusing Elliot with a wild need to support (control) her sister. After a point, you need to remind yourself that it’s one person playing two people. Jennifer Ehle also does a fantastic job as Rebecca Parker, an apathetic millionaire with some choice opinions about protests and altruism.

The interesting thing is that the series is a gender-swapped reinterpretation of David Cronenberg’s 1988 film of the same name. The original film displays the power dynamic of men over women — the two male gynaecologists focus on ‘mutant’ women, the same women who later bear the repercussions of the twins’ downward spiral. This makes the gender swap even more significant as Alice Birch, writer and showrunner, turns the focus on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

Birch uses complex family dynamics, provocative dialogue, and well-rounded characters to explore the subjects and dive into the nuances. The series brings up questions of body autonomy, surrogacy, class divides, and more. Conversations between people, often between the sisters themselves, are used to show two sides of an argument. Although, its worth pointing out that its portrayal of racial dynamics falls short.

While the creators have added as many people of colour as possible, it sticks out as filling up a needed quota and Genevieve is the only fully fleshed-out character. There’s a segment about the horrifying use of black women in the development of gynaecology but, again, the scene doesn’t tie into the larger story. Even though it’s beautifully made, it falls short of impact. Still, Dead Ringers does make some compelling statements and avoids being preachy. Instead, it is witty and darkly humorous, making the social commentary a delight to watch.

Another clever feature is how Birch employs childbirth to pay homage to Cronenberg’s element of body horror. From the pain of childbirth to the doctors wrestling babies out of c-sections, Birch has no hesitation in baring it all on screen — blood, gore and all. She keeps the graphic visuals to a limit though, employing them once in a while so they truly pack a punch.

The story itself is a crisply written one, divided into neat sections for each episode and supported by some brilliant directors. One specific storyline does branch off into another direction and doesn’t have the same appeal as the main story but can be forgiven in lieu of it. Sections of long, hypnotizing monologues are used now and again and they completely hook the viewer.

On the other hand, one particular dinner scene uses constant overlapping dialogues to depict a fractured family at its worse. Skillful editing contributes to the show’s style, sometimes lingering to intensify emotions and sometimes choppy to underline chaos. As a result, a few jump cuts do leave you reeling and rushing to join the dots, but this is a show about disturbed twins obsessed with each other — it’s meant to jar you a little.

Feel Free To Check Out More Of Our TV Show Reviews Here!

  • Verdict - 9/10

Leave a comment