Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
White Lines is a show you’ll either really love or really hate. Mixed up with a heady cocktail of sun, sex and drugs on the White Island, the show begins with a simple premise before spiraling out to encapsulate a whole range of different ideas – some that work well, and others that definitely do not. Part murder-mystery, part soap opera melodrama, White Lines is a series that can’t quite decide what sort of story to tell and ultimately fails to capitalize on either of its main narrative arcs.
The story begins with Zoe being called to the scene of a crime when a mummified body is uncovered thanks to some heavy rainfall. This happens to be the remains of Zoe’s brother Axel. This acts as the catalyst for the drama that follows as Zoe journeys to Ibiza to discover exactly what happened to her brother and who’s responsible for his murder. Once there, she meets back up with Axel’s childhood buddies Marcus, Dave and Anna, as she tries to get to the bottom of what’s happening.
Alongside this story are several subplots that become messily entangled in this narrative. The powerful Calafat family learn of Axel’s death and get involved, inadvertently sparking a feud with the rival Martinez family in the process. Another subplot involves Marcus owing a debt to Romanian drug dealers that come after him. Only, he has his own issues when Boxer, the Calafat family’s right-hand-man and nightclub bouncer, comes knocking asking questions about Axel as well. With Zoe unsure who to trust, she forms an unlikely bond with Boxer and sets out to discover the truth.
Across the 10 episodes, Zoe’s journey takes many twists and turns with episode 7 in particular doing well to spill over all the secrets the group have been holding from one another. It’s here the character-driven melodrama actually works really well and it’s easily the highlight of a tonally confused series that’s part gritty crime drama and part soap-opera romance. The ending does give some closure to Zoe’s journey and certainly reveals who was responsible for Axel’s death, but it also leaves the door open for a second season as well.
The show also has a serious issue with some of its editing which ranges from questionable (cutting back in time after an opening scene teaser) to outright confusing (a hard cut to an earlier scene from the previous episode midway through an episode). It’s a pity because some of the camera angles and shots of Ibiza are really quite breathtaking but these grandiose moments are overshadowed by some ill-conceived ideas in the editing suite that don’t do this series any justice.
The soundtrack however is really good and easily one of the highlights here. Combining a heady mix of trance, house, techno and classical, White Lines leans in heavy on the musical side of things and captures the essence of 90’s Ibiza perfectly. There’s a lot of memorable tracks here, back-dropped against the various wild parties that feature all manner of drug taking, drinking and love-making.
There’s no denying that visually at least, White Lines captures the essence of Ibiza beautifully but unfortunately its story doesn’t follow suit. The show is overlong, features far too many narrative strings that bloat the series into mediocrity and fails to make any of its characters that memorable. It’s a show that so easily could have been better but like a DJ playing the wrong track and clearing the dance-floor, sometimes it’s difficult to recover from something so ill-conceived. There will be a market for this though, no doubt, but White Lines draws a line in the sand early on and never looks like recovering.