The Resort Season 1 Review – A touching story about moving on

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5


Peacock’s The Resort was instantly compared with HBO’s The White Lotus when it released. The multi-star season 1 became a big hit and really set the standard for creators blending genres.

Although the show turns out to be really different, other than the setting and some character themes, one can make a reasonable comparison. The Resort stars Cristin Milioti and William Harper as Emma and Noah, respectively, as a couple celebrating their tenth anniversary in an isolated resort. They are pushed into solving the decades-old case of two missing persons – Sam and Violet – when Emma finds the former’s old phone in the jungle.

The show premiered at the Comic Con, which is a bit unusual for a show of this scale. But it is exhilarating to watch the audience reacting to the twists in real-time.  It was quite evident in the second episode that the borderline obsessive search proactively pursued by Emma was to save her marriage. That aspect of the entire effort to embroil themselves in this maelstrom of past and present remains a recurring theme throughout.

We have seen plenty of narratives that mean something more for the characters than just solving mysteries. The intangible answers and outcomes have a special meaning of their own and narratives exploit the emotional prowess of such outcomes. But somewhere down the line, the search becomes something more personal and specific to Emma. And gradually, a common thread starts emerging between her and Violet.

With each episode, the connection grows stronger. The elusive Pasaje becomes more and more within reach; its disillusionment even nearer. Tonally, there are several turns and twists here that feel jarring. The introduction of Alex and his “memory leaks”; Ibarra’s revelation about his books; and Baltasar’s identity crisis; all notions were integrated into the story.

The transition is hardly seamless either, as it takes time to absorb all the information and zoom out to see the bigger picture. There are indeed some pieces that don’t seem fitting at first. It feels awkward to see them go together but more time certainly irons out the creases.

The Resort resists a simple popcorn mystery investigation that’s straightforward with a visible start and finish. Writers and creators meddle with the storytelling structure to keep things interesting. They also have the benefit of using elements from the past and the present to great effect.

The inherent dynamism in deploying these at various stages of the story helped the writing team to manage a situation that would otherwise have been very chaotic. Noticeably, the narration is not grounded in traditions of storytelling that service or work toward a path of closure.

The engagement at a more emotional, deeper level comes at the right time when we start wondering where the story is going. If the title of the show were to be taken at face value, you probably wouldn’t get much out of it. Almost the entire story takes place outside the resort. It only acts as the buffer that brings together this group of people.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Andy Siara has dabbled in time distortion in a festive kind of setting near a beach. His success with Palm Springs brought him closer to the greenlight for The Resort and there are certain elements both of his works share, apart from Cristin Milioti who was earnest in both.

The actress, by the way, gave a very interesting tagline to describe the show in one of the interviews. She called it “a mix of Romancing the Stone and Jurassic Park if they were about the disappointment of aging”. And that part is actually scoped out well by putting Noah and Emma into contrast with Sam and Violet.

As I recalled in the recaps of the episodes, the voice-over from episode 7 is in a nutshell what the show is about, thematically. Noah and Emma are a couple on the brink of divorce looking to recover the magic of the early days of love when they felt invincible together. Emma, especially, tries to live those times again by reimagining Sam and Violet as a younger version of themselves.

There is a very earnest, pure emotion at the heart of the story that is really compelling. It is not instantly apparent when you watch the show but when you think about it again after, things start becoming clearer. Without Milioti, the show would derail into amateur hour. She is hands down the best performer and the life of the story. Without Emma, there is no show; just a sad sob story of a couple drifting apart.

Her initiative is what springs life into the universe and brings the details on paper from a rut to the screen. It is a very difficult part to play considering the layers of drama and feelings attached to it but Milioti strikes the right chords. Other performers do a good supporting job.

The Resort is not a difficult show to like. Given its unique structure and the insane amount of crazy twists, following the story might be a tad challenging but it’s certainly a trip worth taking.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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