Red Rose – TV Review

Michael and Paul Clarkson’s latest creation, the series “Red Rose,” penned by individuals renowned for their involvement in projects such as “The Wheel of Time,” “See,” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” initially holds significant promise but ultimately falters in delivering on its commitments as the narrative reaches its conclusion. The ensemble cast of this BBC UK production is replete with youthful talents brimming with immense potential. However, the premature departure of one cast member following the second episode precipitates a cascading downfall akin to a Jenga tower collapsing. Regrettably, the series maintains a pedestrian status due to the disproportionately weighted character development, whereby a solitary actor garners substantial attention, while the remaining cast members fail to contribute substantively to the overarching storyline.

Let us briefly delve into the premise. Rochelle Mason (Isis Hainsworth), yearning to commemorate the culmination of the term alongside her companions, is crestfallen upon witnessing the object of her affection in the company of her closest confidante. An unforeseen lifeline manifests in the form of a message, offering solace from her isolation. Upon installing a discrete application named “Red Rose” on her device, Rochelle embarks on a journey dictated by the application’s directives. This seemingly innocuous and confidential diversion, initially a source of elation, progressively metamorphoses into a perilous entanglement.

The narrative unfolds its rapport with the audience through the conduit of the “Red Rose” application, focalized through its inaugural user, Isis Hainsworth, who embodies the role of Rochelle Mason. As viewers, we are progressively immersed within Rochelle’s familial milieu and daily adversities, engendering an increasingly intimate acquaintance with her persona. The series effectively elucidates the rationale underpinning Rochelle’s reliance on an application such as “Red Rose,” given her ostensibly challenging existence. Commencing as a vehicle prominently anchored by Isis Hainsworth’s portrayal, the series impeccably aligns with her performance, thus justifying the trust vested in her prodigious aptitude. My earlier estimation of Isis as an exceptional actress poised for greatness is vindicated, much to my gratification.

However, the exclusion of Isis from the series precipitates an abrupt deceleration in the narrative’s momentum, causing the series’ plot to veer astray. As the saga commenced with Rochelle, the focal antagonist of the show, the enigmatic app “Red Rose,” exhibited a heightened aura of exhilarating tension. However, upon Isis’ departure from the series, the narrative undergoes an unforeseen metamorphosis into a rudimentary detective escapade and a conventional cyber intruder chronicle. Irrespective of the inherent allure encapsulated within the sociopathic hacker narrative, the episodes subsequent to Isis’ exit exhibit a noticeable dearth of engagement due to the lack of groundwork laid for such a trajectory. The entire fabric of the production hinged upon the commanding delivery of Isis within the initial two episodes. To be candid, Isis’ thespian prowess significantly outshines her counterparts, attributable to her meticulously crafted character portrayal and unmistakable raw talent. Nevertheless, following her departure, a conspicuous decline in acting caliber becomes manifest.

“Red Rose,” a creation crafted by a consortium of sociopaths aiming to harness the malevolent potential of social media, resembles, in my estimation, a cinematic endeavor. This theme’s elongation over an eight-episode series stretches its thematic potency thin, akin to the elongation of chewing gum. Were it presented as a standalone film, anchored by a singular central persona and her cadre of friends, the experience would undoubtedly be imbued with heightened tension and enjoyment. However, the onus of this lies squarely upon the screenwriter’s shoulders. Although Rochelle’s character design flourishes in its brilliance, the same cannot be said for the remainder of the cast. Several characters suffer from a lack of depth, burdened by gratuitous imports that detract from their authenticity.

In summation… “Red Rose” centers around adolescents ensnared within the web of sociopathic hackers. Yet, the initial chapters of the series derive their potency from the dramatic gravitas embodied by Rochelle. Regrettably, the narrative’s tempo wanes following the narrative thread that Isis meticulously wove through her exceptional acting and character embodiment during the initial pair of episodes. Subsequent to Isis’ departure, the ensuing four episodes exhibit a palpable languor, albeit finding some semblance of cohesion within the concluding pair. Nonetheless, the culmination fails to attain the anticipated crescendo. The prospect of forthcoming seasons is embraced, although one hopes that the error of commencing a narrative with an individual character’s drama, subsequently expanding it to a broader scope, is not repeated in a potential second season.

Cast & Crew

writers: Michael Clarkson, Paul Clarkson

starring: Isis Hainsworth, Amelia Clarkson, Natalie Blair, Ali Khan, Ashna Rabheru, Harry Redding, Natalie Gavin, Adam Nagaitis



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