Rain Dogs Season 1 Review – A refreshing, original slice of life dramedy

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4.5/5

 

HBO’s Rain Dogs gained steam as Daisy May Cooper serves as the star attraction. Her fame caught momentum to become the next M in the James Bond franchise. She may well make a brilliant M given how she performs in Rain Dogs as a single mother doing everything she can to make life comfortable for her daughter, Iris.

The title Rain Dogs refers to the “urban dispossessed” who do not have a permanent home and live day to day. Cash Carraway, the show’s creator, decides to paint her characterization of the working class in a non-obvious, sardonic style to have humour as the outer layer.

This humour helps us to see the central characters of Rain Dogs as humans -flawed nonetheless – rather than as victims of the class divide. Rain Dogs is cognizant and critical of that reality but does not let it come in the way of creating a more accepting narrative with bigger themes about individuality.

That creative choice is crucial in distinguishing Rain Dogs from other shows singularly focused on the other thing. It creates a well-functioning balance so that one aspect does not dominate the other. Humour is Rain Dogs’ defence mechanism in many ways, protecting the characters from scrutiny and confronting themselves.

The story focuses primarily on Costello (Cooper) and Iris (Fleur Tashjian), a mother-daughter duo living on the precipice of social constructs and government schemes. They wander around London – and later a refuge home – as Costello looks to make it big as a writer. Her complicated relationships with Florian Selby (Jack Farthing) and Gloria (Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo) form part of the subplots, where the show focuses more on other themes and explores the love-hate dynamic between Costello and Selby.

The starting and ending points of Rain Dogs take secondary importance due to the nature of the storytelling. The plot is not of the nature to take definitive turns and shape, something we have all become accustomed to these days.

While watching the show, the viewer is not asked to figure out the “whos”, “whats”, and “whys.” The deliberation from our side is to engage with the reality of the characters and their circumstances. Carraway and the writers pitch them in their ugliest, most vulnerable forms.

The dark parts that come out in the confines of privacy are the headline for the characters in Rain Dogs. There could have been numerous representations of Costello to paint a grim picture. Looking at everything she went through in the course of the eight episodes, it was at the final hurdle that we truly saw her helplessness.

The tonality of the storytelling is what makes the difference here. We saw her spiritedly trying to protect Iris and fulfil her ambition of becoming a writer. But all the while, she barely survived. There is a moment in the final episode when Iris says “I just want you to try to be normal and not become ‘something’ all the time.”

The brutality of that statement lies in how Costello distances herself from her daughter trying to make a better life. It is life’s unfairness in a nutshell. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it but become an audience to it.

Carraway’s substance transiently sits beneath the maelstrom of abuse, violence, and the falling standards of morality. It brews ever so gradually to inflict the characters with the harshness of their situation. The creator compels you to read between the lines and pick up on their waning spirit and resilience. The touch is subtle, yet a knockout.

Daisy May Cooper literally carries the show on her shoulders. Costello’s resilience and brilliance are channeled with an almost derisive and darkly funny outrage against the world. Her defiant, broken, and authentic rendition is touching. Costello is a master of saying all that can never be said with the slightest facial hesitation. Jack Farthing too makes a great impression.

The soothing tenor and classy accent in his voice utter the wittiest, profane, and hurting nonsense, making it a devilish marriage. Just hearing him can paint a picture for you. Selby is a poignant character study in his own right and Farthing becomes Cooper’s co-bearer of responsibility due to that.

Rain Dogs is an impressive feat of drama that affixes the label “working class” in an ambivalent stride in its representation. The full-blown efforts to make you see without showing you reap big rewards for those who stick to the end. HBO’s brilliant show will make Ken Loach proud, despite being packaged in an unassuming comedic cadence.


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  • Verdict - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.5/10

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