Turn of the Tide Season 1 Review – A stylishly cliched but enjoyable drama

Season 1

Episode Guide

Supply and Demand
Earth Shakes
Loose Lips
No One Escapes From An Island
The Swan Song
This Is Not America


What do you think happens if you dump hundreds of kilos of cocaine in one of the poorest villages in Europe? If your answer to Turn of the Tide’s pressing conundrum is “party hard and work harder to sell your gear for cold, hard cash”, you’ll be pretty close to the premise for Netflix’s latest Portuguese series.

Our setting here is the beautifully idyllic Azores, a bunch of isolated islands away from the prying eyes of the mainland with a thriving shipping community. Eduardo, Silvia and Rafael and Carlinho are our main characters, and each are desperate to escape their current predicaments and find and do more with their lives. When 9 million euros worth of cocaine washes up in Sao Miguel, it changes everything for these four.

It’s quickly established that the foursome manage to get their hands on 397 kilos, which is roughly worth 23,820,000 euros – if they can sell it. Naturally, the kids set up their business and decide to make some cash. However, Detective Frias is sent to retrieve the gear, while drug lord Monti (whom the drugs apparently belong to) is desperate to retrieve his stash too.

As the series progresses, we dive deeper into each of the characters and their past, with a focus on Silvia’s troubled parents, Eduardo’s continued struggles with keeping his operation going and his issues back home. Eduardo in particular struggles to look after his blind father, while simultaneously processing the death of his mother. While Carlinho and Rafael also have arcs, it’s ultimately Silvia and Eduardo who get the lion’s share of the development here.

Aesthetically, Turn of the Tide benefits from its location, but at times it feels overly stylized and edgy to the point of lacking substance. The dialogue, especially during the first episode, is absolutely chock full of cursing. It’s also not helped that at times the acting is over the top. It detracts from the main narrative, which is a bit of a shame.

But then even with that in mind, the story itself is rather cliched and relies heavily on the cat and mouse trope we’ve seen numerous times from other shows of this nature. It’s also not the first show on the platform that centers on teens thrust into a dangerous situation on the shore. In fact, we have Cocaine Coast and Outer Banks also on Netflix alone that tackle the same sort of territory as this. And unlike those two shows, this one also has the unenviable position of sporting some plot holes and incredulous segments, both of which I’m not about to spoil here.

The series does do a decent enough job with its characters though, and Silvia in particular gets a really nice arc as we discover more about her difficult upbringing and see the extent of her family issues. It’s not perfect, and it is a bit cliched at times, but Turn of the Tide is enjoyable all the same and a decent way to spend a few nights this week.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

3 thoughts on “Turn of the Tide Season 1 Review – A stylishly cliched but enjoyable drama”

  1. Francisco, you must be from Lisbon or so… If you go to Porto you will see that this is not abnormal, I dare saying that in real life, in Porto, is much worse. Has in Rabo de Peixe, I’ve been in Azores but didn’t think about this while travelling… But the series didn’t chock me, it was completely normal except 1 scene where he screams (You know which one I’m sure).

  2. I’m also Portuguese and cursing is over the top, some sentences have no need for the fodasses or caralho. The dialogue feels forced and I doubt anyone from rabo de peixe would actually speak like that.

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