Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Pieces of Her could have been an incredible thriller. The first episode is brilliant, with a solid introduction to our characters and a shocking incident that feels like it’s been ripped right out of The Sinner. It’s bloody, brutal and utterly enthralling. It’s just a pity that the rest of the show can’t match up to that.
As the episodes tick by, Pieces of Her soon shatters its pieces of story and in its wake, fills those gaps with a number of flashbacks. In fact, one of the hour-long chapters has around 40 minutes dedicated to the past, and it completely bogs down what little plot this show clings to.
The premise is pretty straightforward and centers on two women, Laura and her daughter Andy. For Andy’s 30th birthday she heads out with her mum to the mall where a shocking act of violence turns both their worlds upside down.
As the incident makes mainstream news, shadowy figures move to preserve the truth, coming after Andy and Laura in the process.
As Andy flees from the safety of her mother, following her instructions to try and make sense of what’s happening, a twisty-turny thriller ensues. The story is part Mosquito Coast/ part Stay Close, with both the best and worst parts of those shows combined together to form the bulk of Pieces Of Her.
After a couple of intriguing episodes, the show leans into those aforementioned flashbacks, sometimes doing so in a way that feels pretty patronizing.
Whether intentional or not, there are numerous times where a lengthy flashback will depict what’s happened to characters in the past… and then that same person will explain it through expository-laden dialogue in the present. The result is a show that retreads the same ground multiple times, and whose story doesn’t have anywhere near enough intrigue to sustain it for 8 episodes.
Anyway who has watched a murder mystery or a thriller in the last decade will probably work out what’s going on, fully, by the middle of episode 4. And yet, there’s still more flashbacks to flesh out family history, unrelated incidents and excruciating detail about points we’ve been well accustomed to earlier in the show.
That is a constant problem that Pieces Of Her never really shakes off. It’s also not helped by its final episode too, which takes about 20 minutes too long to actually wrap up its story, meandering along and outstaying its welcome.
Story-woes aside, the acting is actually really good. Toni Collette in particular is fantastic in her role as Laura and she works well alongside Bella Heathcote, who plays Andy. Likewise, the visuals are decent and the various musical montages in this work quite well to break up the action.
It’s such a shame that Pieces of Her takes the turn that it does because it’s hard not to admire what the first episode achieves. It’s shocking, it’s hard-hitting, and absolutely gripping.
The problem is, the writers are in such a hurry to piece together every single detail of what’s happening that this show regularly loses sight of the present, embracing expositional flashbacks that bog this series down far more than it deserves to. And by episode 6, you’ll likely be done with this and are inevitably going to find yourself slogging it out just to see the conclusion.
Unfortunately, Pieces of Her is not a good show and compared to so many other thrillers out there, struggles to piece together something that doesn’t feel like a chore to get through. This one is, unfortunately, not a show to remember.
Pieces of Her releases on Netflix 4th March worldwide!
Verdict - 4/10