Shining Girls – Season 1 Episode 1 “Cutline” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Shining Girls starts in 1964 with a young girl approached by a strange man while she’s playing outside.

After plucking the wings from a bumblebee, he hands over a wooden statue of a horse, asking her to look after it until he returns. “I don’t want it.” She says defiantly. “You’ll take it. You always do.” He says matter-of-factly in return.

As he walks away, the bumblebee writhes in pain on its back while this young girl takes the wooden horse and hurries inside.

Fast forward in time and that young girl grows up to be a reserved young woman called Kirby, working and keeping to herself, complete with headphones and very few words. S

Kirby is pretty meticulous too, moving different items on her desk (including a mug that collects dripping water.) Her whole life is about to come tumbling down around her.

Reports have come in about city workers finding a body in the tunnels. Her name is Julia Madrigal, a woman who went missing two years ago.

Kirby is called into the police station, questioned over this. It turns out her assault and Julia’s death are incredibly similar. Although there’s no news on whether it’s “him”, Kirby is encouraged to pick him out from a list of possible culprits nonetheless.

The thing is, Kirby doesn’t know who he is. The only thing she remembers is what he sounded like when he cursed at her. This explains Kirby’s skittish demeanour, not wanting to be heard. The thing is, she still happens to have that wooden horse trinket from the past on her dresser.

Kirby does have one friend at work, a kind photographer called Marcus. He snaps her picture after she praises his work and believes he deserves better. Continuing to deliver mail, she passes Dan’s desk. Now, Dan happens to be a veteran reporter and sprinkled through this episode we see him looking further into the case. A breakthrough seems to be made, as a name is linked to this murder – Pawel Banik.

Kirby is a woman possessed and she heads over to his house that night. She confronts the guy, but when she hears his voice, realizes that he’s not the same man and she leaves, putting her knife away.

When she hurries outside, she bumps into Dan. He warns that this isn’t the way to “get a desk.” The thing is, Kirby doesn’t care. She’s leaving soon, intending to head off to Orlando. Kirby intends to crash on her cousin’s sofa so it’s hardly a step up. It’s also immediately clear that she’s running.

Kirby opens up a little to Dan, admitting that she saw his notes. She knows that Julia was cut up just like she was. Dan takes Kirby down to see Iris, who happens to be an expert medical examiner. She shows off her scars, where we hear Kirby’s version of events.

It turns out some of her intestines were removed the night of her attack. She was also gagged too. As the doctor touches her stomach, Kirby looks up and Iris is gone. Instead, it’s a guy called Howard. Apparently Howard has been there the whole time. Even the pictures up on the wall are different!

Over at a planetarium, we catch up with Dr Jin-Soon Gwasun. At her desk, she notices a similar bumblebee, also with its wings cut off.

Jin-Sook’s colleague remarks that Ancient Egyptians claim that bees send messages from the heavens. She thinks little of it and throws it away.

After viewing a video at work, she bumps into that same strange, eerie man we saw at the start of the episode. Their conversation is uneasy and eventually ends with him stalking Jin-Sook that night. Eventually he attacks her, leaving brutal scars across her stomach, just like with what happened to Kirby.

In the morning, Kirby returns to Dan and encourages him to look inside Julia’s body as he believes the killer has left something inside her. It’s enough for Dan to change his stance on Pawel, where all the evidence he has thus far links to.

He tells Abby, his boss, that he’s following an alternate lead thanks to a new witness. “Are they credible?” Abby asks. Dan isn’t so sure just yet.

There’s definitely something going on with Kirby though, and as she returns home that night, she finds herself with Marcus, who heads over and hugs her, asking what’s happened. Kirby is confused, and finds herself spiralling out of control as her whole life starts to crumble around her.

The Episode Review

Shining Girls gets off to an intriguing start here, taking elements of crime thrillers like Tabula Rasa and Sharp Objects, weaving that into an intriguing show that looks like it could be a winner.

Elisabeth Moss is great in this role too, while the supporting cast are interesting and have a fair amount of star power between them.

It would appear that Kirby’s life is starting to come unravelled as more truths are unveiled, while the whole deal with this killer and what his motives actually are is unclear right now. However, with Apple releasing three episodes today, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!

Next Episode

Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!


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