Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2/5
Overlong, bloated and lethargically written, Signs (Znaki) is a miserable murder mystery in desperate need of some excitement. It’s a show that ticks all the archetypal tropes for this genre but does so in such a lackadaisical way that it forgets to engage its audience along the way.
What we’re left with is a show that stretches out a five-episode concept to a bloated ten episode run…and then leaves things hanging with a cliffhanger ending during the finale.
The main story here begins in typical murder mystery fashion and introduces our first victim, Laura. After a phone call to her Mum, she turns around and receives two bullets to the chest for her trouble. We then skip forward 10 years to find another murder has taken place, with suspicious identical bullet wounds to Laura.
From here it seems likely that the two cases are linked together and the killer (or copycat killer) is on the prowl again. This sets up the basic premise to work with and on paper, there’s certainly some promise.
Between the cultists living with shady Jonasz and a shady company looking to push through construction work at the local Quarry, there’s plenty of motive and suspects to point fingers at. Aiming to quell any doubts over who the killer is, no-nonsense detective Trela arrives to oversee the case. Alongside the overly emotional Ada, the duo try to work together and solve the crime.
With no clues to go on and little in the way of leads for much of the run-time, Signs stumbles and mumbles through its 8 episodes trying to find some signs (no pun intended) to lead toward who the killer is. This poses a whole set of problems in and of itself given us – the viewers – have little to work with and little reason to become emotionally engaged. Even worse, the show throws in an utterly bizarre, left-field subplot around the Nazis and it feels completely off-kilter to the tone running through the rest of the series.
Along the way, there’s plenty of drama to pad out the run-time. Expect lots of teen melodrama (which eventually becomes entangled with the main narrative) and even a few last-minute twists to drag out the idea of a second season. I won’t spoil anything here but while the finale does reveal who the killer is, it only gives fragments to the whole story and it’s still unknown how everything slots together.
In a way, Signs (like Cursed earlier this month) is a textbook example of how not to write a story. The archetypal characters have little depth and Trela is a bland and forgettable protagonist with little charisma. By contrast Ada is overly emotional to a fault; her emotions cloud her judgment and consequently blind her detective work. This is made even worse when a new face arrives at the station in episode 9 and immediately finds clues that the others have missed for the previous 6+ hours.
With a cliffhanger ending and lots of questions still to be answered, by the end of this one you’ll be wondering what the point of the journey was. There’s little here that really stands out from the pack and the few glimmers of brilliance are drowned out by a wave of mediocrity and disappointment. Compared to other murder mysteries that have released this year, Signs is unfortunately a forgettable entry and not one to remember.
Verdict - 4/10