Welcome to New Raccoon City
Episode 1 of Resident Evil starts with a look a our protagonist, Jade. Walking through a dystopian wasteland, she takes a caged rabbit and walks through the devastation. The year is 2036, and we’re 14 years after “the end”. There are still survivors here though, as Jade videocalls back home but it’s clear her contact is sporadic at best. The last time she spoke to them was 6 months back.
The purpose of this rabbit soon becomes clear. It’s bait. Jade is doing research into the zombie hordes to see if they have any sort of leadership structure. Hint: They don’t. But oh no, our protagonist cuts her arm and as a result, she’s forced to flee.
Zombies aren’t the only thing on the menu though, there are also giant burrowing worms and one of them smashes through the concrete and looks set to kill Jade. Thankfully she’s saved by a trio of soldiers who show up and fry it with bullets. We’re ten minutes in and already we get a deus ex machina device. This isn’t looking good. Anyway, these men check Jade’s wrist and comment how she’s a survivor.
We also have a second timeline here, as we jump back to New Raccoon City, three months before the end in 2022. Our setting is South Africa, where Jade immediately comments how there aren’t many black people in this neighbourhood. Jade has a sister called Billie, and there’s definitely no accident that Billie Eillish is playing and Billie has a similar streak through her hair and acts like an outcast. Anyway, their father is Albert Wesker, who is at least one of the characters from the games.
Wesker has been doing blood tests on the kids every few weeks. He’s also been injecting himself with something too, but that’ll remain a secret until later on I’m sure. For now it’s onto what everyone wants to see in a Resident Evil series – high school drama. Billie is an outsider and she’s teased over being a vegan, eventually leading to a big fight between her and another girl.
Wesker meets Roth at the lab, who shows him some footage of an incident over in Tijuana. There have been six injured and three dead. Nothing’s gone public but as Roth comments, “it’s happening again.”
With this hanging over Albert, our stressed father heads to the high school where he sorts out this fight malarkey, forcing the girl to apologize.
Back in 2036, Jade wakes up to find herself in the Brighton Freehold. There, she meets Tate who happens to be one of many scavengers. They have a helicopter to fly people in and out, and it soon becomes clear why driving is off-limits. Their stronghold is completely surrounded by zombies.
It’s here we learn that Jade has been studying “zeros” which is the name for zombies here. What is this, Walking Dead? Anyway, I digress. Jade confirms that there are 6 billion zombies and only 300 million humans left, and Jade has decided that they need to try and live with them, likening the zombies to Ebola or AIDs.
Unfortunately, Tate and the others are well aware of who Jade is. Umbrella have a warrant out for her capture, as she’s their number 1 most wanted survivor. Mr Baxter touches down, kills Tate in cold blood and proceeds to have all of his men spray the base with bullets. None hit Jade though, who manages to slip away.
Returning to 2022 for now, Jade and Billie break into Umbrella Corporation that night, which is completely unguarded for some reason. Using their father’s voice to gain entry, they break into the lab and notice a ravenous mutated dog which chases them through the hallways. Billie is subsequently bitten and begins to bleed out. Jade kills the dog but bemoans her stupidity.
As the episode closes, we cut back to 2036 one more time. Baxter catches up with Jade and tells her “your sister is looking for you” with a wry grin. Jade shrugs that off and tells him to stay away. And with that, she jumps off this stronghold and straight into the zombies – sorry, zeroes – below.
The Episode Review
Why is this even called Resident Evil? Out of all the IPs out there, it’s absolutely baffling how many times studios and creators take the Resident Evil name and absolutely distorted this franchise in unrecognizable ways. This Netflix series though could actually be the worst of the bunch.
A quick glance at IMDB will also tell you that the majority of writers working on this series (all 7 of them) have barely any writing credits to their name, which is never a good sign.
We get high school drama, two separate timelines, brand new characters and a distinct lack of worldbuilding, despite some expository shots of this dystopia. Under any other name, with a handful of new, original characters, this may have been okay. But if you’re going to use the Resident Evil name and Umbrella Corporation, then that is always going to be a steep mountain to ascend. And based on this evidence, it’s not even worth climbing to the peak to find out what’s at the top.
The dialogue is pretty weak, the two timelines destroy the pacing, while the inclusion of high school drama is absolutely baffling. With 8 episodes in total, there’s always a chance this could improve but as far as first impressions go, this one gets off to a very shaky start.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|