Chapter 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Chapter 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Chapter 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Chapter 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Chapter 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Chapter 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Prologue – | Review Score – 3/5
Chapter 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
The Rook is a methodically paced superhero series without the superpowers or action. Instead, The Rook doubles down on its mystery, playing out as a crime drama for much of its run time before injecting some urgency into the last episode, which admittedly feels too little too late to save this series from mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly enjoyment to be had here and the individual episodes, with its building mystery and layers of conspiracy, are interesting enough to see you through to find out what’s happened. When the dust settles though, the season as a whole feels flawed, limping to the finish line with supporting characters that bring little to the show and a main plot line that never quite hits its stride.
Admittedly, the show opens and closes on a pretty intriguing note. Myfanwy Thomas awakens in the pouring rain surrounded by dead bodies. Amnesia-stricken and desperate for answers, she quickly learns that she works for an agency that tracks down EVAs – humans with superpowers. As she tries desperately to piece together the shattered remnants of her memory, Myfanwy slowly learns who she can and can’t trust, ultimately leading to the truth being revealed in the penultimate episode of the season and a finale that injects some pace into the series for the final showdown.
As a stand-alone piece, The Rook’s story does well to maintain interest and intrigue but once the mystery is solved, there really isn’t much reason to return to this one in a hurry. Myfanwy’s lack of charisma and tenacity makes her a difficult character to root for and the supporting cast, including agents Conrad and Linda Farrier, barely flex their acting prowess in the series, with small hiccups of action showcasing superpowers to keep things interesting along the way. Unfortunately, Olivia Munn is completely wasted here as American agent Monica Reed, bringing absolutely nothing to the series, with a supporting role that could have easily been removed completely and garnered the same results.
Stylistically the show does pretty well though, with some smooth camera work and nice effects for the superpowers when they do eventually show up. Some of the music choices for the montage segments are a little questionable and during the middle portion of episodes, the use of flashbacks show up only to never re-appear again. It’s all a little inconsistent and for large stretches of the series The Rook adopts a glacial pacing to proceedings.
With a first season all but resolved, and looking at the low viewing figures for this one, I’d be surprised if The Rook is renewed for a second season. The 8 episodes are interesting enough to see through to the end but this is unlikely to be a show you remember for very long or return to in a hurry. If you like mysteries or crime dramas, The Rook is well worth a look but those looking for something strictly superhero-based, there’s better options out there than this one.