Vortex Season 1 Review – An absorbing and well written French mystery

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

 

If you had the chance to go back and speak to a loved one prior to their death, what would you do? Would you warn them of what’s coming and try to change the past? Of course, most people would answer an emphatic “yes”… but what of the consequences? What if you changed things but made your own reality worse? This is precisely what Netflix’s new French sci-fi series explores, and across the 6 episodes, it does a damn good job of it.

Time travel is notoriously difficult to get right without falling into a myriad of plot contrivances and holes. And while Vortex is far from perfect, this is a rather unique take on the premise and for the most part, sticks to a consistent set of rules that are easy to understand – and easy to play with.

The story centers around Ludo, a police investigator that has the perfect life. His job is good, his wife Melanie is happy and content, and the couple are very much in love, living out their life alongside their daughter, Juliette. However, all of this changes when Melanie heads out for a run one morning. Instead of her returning, it’s Nathan, Ludo’s best friend at the police station he works at, who rocks up and tells him that Melou has died.

Fast forward to 2025 and Ludo is called to the scene of a crime that’s eerily similar to that of Melou’s. A woman called Zoe Levy has died on the same beach, and happens to be wearing the same pearl ring. Armed with future tech that allows one to recreate a crime scene in virtual reality, Ludo pops on his glasses… and sees Mel running. It turns out he can actually communicate with her and together, they set out to find the killer. But with 11 days until Mel is due to die, will they do it in time? And what consequences could this have for them?

This question works to add some urgency into the series, as the following set of episodes dives deeper into the investigation. Ludo and his team work to follow various different clues, while he simultaneously feeds everything he learns back to 1998’s Melanie. However, the latter ends up getting involved and she may well have changed the timeline – and not for the beter.

I won’t divulge much more for fear of spoilers, but episode 5 has a wonderful twist before the finale dives deep into thriller territory. The sudden change in tone may feel a bit like whiplash but honestly, it’s a nice way of repaying those patient enough to sit through the long investigation to find out the truth.

The show wrestles with a variety of different ideas and themes, including the price one is willing to pay for the “perfect” life, and the true cost of love. All of this is wrapped around some decent character development, especially for Ludo who’s put through the ringer for most of this show as he struggles to find out the truth.

Aesthetically, Vortex doesn’t go full on futuristic either, which is probably for the best, and the thin snippets of CGI we do get, like that seen with the beach the pair communicate on, actually works quite well, even with the seemingly limited budget this show has.

With all that considered, Vortex is a nice surprise. It’s not going to blow you away, nor is it likely to make a big dent in the time travel genre. What it does it does very well, and the story is intriguing and engaging enough to see through to its satisfying (although slightly ambiguous) ending. If you’re after a decent crime drama to watch with sprinkles of sci-fi, Vortex is well worth checking out.

 

Read More: Vortex – Episode 6 Recap, Review & Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
7.5/10

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