Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Within 3 minutes of Keep Breathing beginning, 2 flashbacks take place. This essentially sets the precedence for the rest of the season, which lethargically drags its way through a survival story that loses any urgency it may have had early on.
Essentially this show plays out like a proverbial tug of war; the flashbacks constantly wrestle against the survival elements in the wilderness. When done correctly, flashbacks can enhance the story but when it comes to Keep Breathing, the opposite is true.
The first episode essentially sets up the rest of the season, with a woman called Liv desperate to get a flight. When her plane is cancelled, she hitches a ride with a couple of strangers.
Unfortunately, their plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness and as a result, she’s stranded. With scarce resources and little hope for survival, Liv relies on her demons for company, coming in the form of flashbacks across the season.
The problem is, the show has almost a 65/35 split, with flashbacks dominating much of the run-time. And they’re not even that interesting! The gist of the drama here stems from Liv’s troubled childhood and ongoing baggage with boyfriend Danny. I won’t reveal what happens here but these segments drag on, and they’re not wrapped up until very late on in the final episode.
On the one hand, that closure is certainly welcome but it comes at the expense of lethargy across the 6 episodes – and I wouldn’t be surprised if many people end up fast forwarding through these segments.
Liv herself is a bit of a mixed bag. She’s really unlikable to begin with; argumentative, self-centered and slightly arrogant. However, as the show continues she does soften up and by the end you understand why she’s been acting this way. In terms of character development, there’s actually a pretty decent arc for her.
However, the same can’t be said for the supporting characters. Almost everyone else is a stock, one-note player that either serves the purpose of exuding exposition or helping Liv face her demons.
With the emphasis hanging so heavily on the past trauma, the survival elements in the wild take a backseat. This only drags the pacing down further, and in fact, during some of the more “intense” moments in the wild, flashbacks are interspersed in the middle.
This comes back to that aforementioned balance which feels like it’s in desperate need of better editing. Had this show focused more heavily on surviving in the wild, interspersing brief flashes to the past to help with her struggle, Liv’s journey may have been much more enjoyable.
When you stack this up against movies like 127 hours or Castaway – two similar survival stories about finding oneself – Keep Breathing pales by comparison.
This is an overlong, flashback-heavy show that’s crying out for better editing and a shorter run-time. As a 2 hour movie this may have been passable but in its current format, as a drawn-out 6 episode show, this is way too long for the story being told. This one’s passable at best.
Verdict - 4/10