Hulu’s ‘Reprisal’ fails to deliver with femme fatale thriller
Femme fatales typically make for captivating stories (cue Ariana Grande belting out her jam “Dangerous Woman”), but Hulu’s series “Reprisal” spent too much time focusing on dramatic shots instead of crafting a substantial plot.
The premise of the series is that Doris has a plan to get revenge on her brother and his gang, the Banished Brawlers, after they dragged her through a field with chains and left her for dead. Sounds interesting right? Unfortunately, the series doesn’t take the time to let viewers understand what actually happened in the past. Instead the plot revolves around the gang’s current business and Doris’s schemes to get a crew together to take out the Brawlers. When the “Reprisal” writers do give audiences a crumb of historical context about what happened before Doris and the Brawlers parted ways, it leaves them with more questions in the most frustrating way.
Ignoring the plot that could-have-been, the series is designed to be a “Mad Man” era noir, but there are certain aspects of “Reprisal” that only serve to pull the viewer’s attention away from the series. The presence of flip phones and a few other modern details come across as jarring when held against the other visual elements in the series.
This isn’t to say that the cast itself isn’t great, but they could only do so much with the material they were given. Abigail Spencer provides an intriguing performance as Doris, a woman willing to kill to get her vengeance but can’t quite stomach foul language. Rodrigo Santoro’s Joel is a man divided by his loyalties to the Brawlers and wanting to give his little girl a better life. Mena Massoud performs well as Ethan, Doris’s fox in the hen house, who unwillingly finds himself at the heart of her revenge plot. Lea DeLaria’s quick-witted Queenie injects both heart and humor into the series.
Perhaps a second season could provide a much-needed context to the show.
“Reprisal” has one season available on Hulu. The series is rated TV-MA. Viewers who enjoy “Reprisal” might also enjoy watching “Sons of Anarchy,” a series that revolves around a biker gang with complicated family issues.