Episode Guide (Click the links for full recaps)
The Albatross – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Rings – | Review Score – 3/5
Sofia – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Change Of Destination – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Storm – | Review Score – 3/5
527 L. – | Review Score – 4/5
Three Hours – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Cain – | Review Score – 3.5/5
I love a good murder mystery. Whether it be an Agatha Christie novel or an old Midsomer Murders episode, there’s something distinctly satisfying with trying to solve a case along with the characters. Step forward High Seas, the latest Spanish thriller blending elements of history, romance and mystery into one deliciously twisty 8 episode drama set in the 40’s. Despite a cliffhanger ending and some romantic filler, High Seas does well to keep things interesting with its multiple layered plot, with enough twists and turns along the way to make it well worth your time, even if it does finish open-ended.
The story begins with Eva and Carolina, two sisters driving to the dock in order to board a lavish vessel heading to Brazil from Spain. Housing over 1600 souls, the two women look forward to their voyage until they suddenly hit a young woman named Luisa, claiming to be on the run from her abusive husband. Stowing her on-board, the women soon find themselves at the heart of a big mystery as Luisa falls from the upper decks into the water late at night, presumed to be dead. As the episodes tick by, more revelations come to light, including a false confession, family secrets, cabin fires and old faces from the past to name a few.
With a stacked cast full of characters, it can be difficult to discern who everyone is early on. As the episodes progress, this does become easier although given most of the crew have similar appearances, such is the manner of their uniforms and slicked back hair-cuts, it can be a little confusing at times to figure out who’s who. There’s a fair amount of filler here in the form of several romantic sub-plots and the melodramatic tones hanging over much of the show because of this does give High Seas a somewhat dated feel. This is only further accentuated by the music too, which swings on the side of jazz, mixed in with flutes for that old-school murder mystery score.
When it comes to the story though, there’s so many twists and turns along the way that it’s sometimes hard to keep track. Double bluffs, red herrings and characters with mixed motivations all combine to make for a mystery that’s almost impossible to guess which way it’ll go early on. Perhaps that’s testament to the writers of High Seas, although late on this does become a little simplified as most of the mysteries are solved, leaving a more direct issue for our characters to confront.
High Seas feels very over the top and exaggerated at times, and this spills over to some of the visual effects too which are lacklustre to say the least. Seeing the exterior of the ship combat massive waves during a storm is one of the most obvious examples, and the CGI here is jarring and feels ugly against the authentic 40’s costume and make-up which really helps sell the concept of the series. While I understand TV has a smaller budget than film, the effects are bad enough that High Seas could have done with just cutting it out completely. The same can be said for some of the editing and choreography too, with zoom shots and epic crescendos of music cutting in during some of the more dramatic action scenes.
With most of the episodes ending on big cliffhangers, High Seas is a show that’s designed to be binged through in successive episodes. It certainly works best that way (given I spent most of my day watching all of these episodes back-to-back) but there’s also some filler too that does bog this one down a little. The open ending is a real disappointment and despite wrapping up most of the main plot points, there’s so much unanswered here that High Seas feels cheapened by doing so. This one is screaming out for a second season too although if it is renewed, I’m not quite sure where they go from here without ripping out the core mystery from the series. Despite that, High Seas is an enjoyable series and if you’re in the mood for a good murder mystery, this 8 part series will certainly whet your appetite.