The Rook is a new series from the premium cable network Starz, home of Outlander and the recently cancelled Counterpart. It’s loosely based on the 2 book series of the same name by Daniel O’Malley, about a woman who wakes up with amnesia and secret powers, surrounded by bodies, then discovers she works for a secret government spy agency in London. Myfanwy (rhymes with “Tiffany”) has unknown enemies who continue to hunt her, and probably have supernatural abilities of their own. It’s not the most original concept in today’s TV landscape, but I’m always up to try another dark, gritty scifi series with female leads, so let’s check it out.
The TV series is veering away from the books, so for the most part, I’m going to write about The Rook as its own separate entity. Before I do that, though, let me say that this show is crying out for a Greek chorus or narrator to provide 1940s noir style sardonic commentary. Myfanwy’s inner voice provided that point of view in the book, and you can feel the loss all through the pilot. (I haven’t even read the book, I could just tell something was missing and went looking. Check out the difference in the Amazon book sample.) Hopefully she’ll find her voice again in the show, because otherwise, the characters’ intense seriousness could start to drag the show past darkness and into dullness before long.
Laughing in the face of death and adversity is a healthy coping mechanism that we need more of on television, especially from female characters. Book Myfanwy knows this. Give it back to her TV counterpart, instead of leaving her scared of her own shadow.
The cleverly and uniquely titled “Chapter 1” jumps right into the first mystery of the season. It begins roughly the way the book does, with Myfanwy waking up underneath London’s Millennium Bridge, with other people’s blood on her hands, surrounded by at least half a dozen dead bodies who are all wearing latex gloves. As if that weren’t enough, she’s in the dark and the pouring rain. On the bright side, her chances of being noticed by witnesses are definitely reduced.
The bodies have been violently murdered, not just humanely shot in the head. Myfanwy does what any normal person would do, and runs away as fast and as far as her legs can carry her. When she runs out of breath, she ducks under a roof for a moment. There, she discovers a letter in her pocket, which reads:
“Dear You: If you’re reading these words but don’t remember writing them, then I’m afraid I’ve failed. You’ve survived several immediate threats, but you are still in danger. Right now, you must find a safe place, alone. Somewhere no one will ask any questions. Avoid the cameras. They can see you everywhere. Go now.”
She goes, making her way through the rough parts of town. A motorcycle gang harasses her along the way. Myfanwy keeps running and finds a place to get out of their sight, which shows us that she’s not normally a bad*ss fighter who could take out 6 or 8 people by herself.
Still in the red light district, she chooses the Hume Hotel, £15 per hour or
£50 £65 for the night. It’s such a high class operation that the manager hands Myfanwy her linens in sealed plastic bags after she’s timidly arranged for her room, under the name of “Jane”. (Linens in bags, kept behind the counter, won’t be stolen off the bed or have bedbugs. Guaranteed to have been washed between visitors!)
While Mifanwy seems timid, she can handle adventure and tough situations.
Once she’s locked herself in the room, Myfanwy strips down to her sensible undergarments, dumps a large pile of hotel ice on the floor, then lies down on it, the better to ice as many of her numerous injuries as possible at once. When her 20 minutes on the ice are up, she reads the next letter from herself.
“Time is short, so we’ll focus on the essentials. I’m writing these letters because I’ve received a warning from a reliable source. I know I’m going to be attacked, though I don’t know by whom. I know I’m going to survive, but I don’t know how. And I know that my memory is going to be lost, erased forever. So I’ve decided to give you a choice. In this envelope, find 2 keys. The blue key opens a box containing the tools to build a new identity. You can walk away from my life and start one of your own. The red key opens a box with everything you need to return to my old life. That life is dangerous. It’s what landed you here. But, whichever path you take, I wish you luck. Regardless of your decision, know that your real name is Myfanwy Alice Thomas. ‘Myfanwy’ rhymes with ‘Tiffany’.”
Mifanwy goes to the mirror to practice saying her name.
Meanwhile, back at the Millenium Bridge, Mifanwy’s boss and coworkers are trying to sort out what happened and convince the mundane police department that this case is obviously under Checquy jurisdiction. The head of the Checquy, Linda Farrier, has brought her agents Claudia Clifton, Eliza, Robert, Teddy and Alex Gestalt to examine the scene. The four Gestalt siblings think with one mind and often speak simultaneously.
There are 8 bodies. The Gestalts quickly recognize that the nature of the injuries means that the perpetrator had to be a powered person.
Teddy: “Disparate injuries with no use of weapons or external force…”
Robert: “Suggesting an assailant with the ability to…”
Both: “Inflict internal injury at a distance.”
Linda takes control of the case.
In the morning, Myfanwy struggles with the decision over whether to
take the blue pill or the red pill use the red key or the blue key.
A determined woman gets off the train and turns off the CCTV cameras with her mind as she walks by.
As a couple has sex on the couch, the man’s phone rings. It’s his boss, Linda Farrier, so he answers and begins getting dressed. He’s Conrad Grantchester, Linda’s second in command. She’s calling to ask if he invited the woman from the train, an American BVA agent named Monica Reed, who’s asking about the C-nine from the Millenium Bridge. Conrad hasn’t been told about the incident at the bridge yet, so he didn’t invite Monica. Linda tells him to meet Monica at St Pancras.
The woman Conrad is with, Home Secretary Jennifer Birch, kisses him, then suddenly turns and goes to the dining room table to eat breakfast. She barely acknowledges when Conrad leaves. It’s like a switch flipped inside her. Another man is sitting at the table, but unconscious. As he’s leaving, Conrad tells Jennifer that the other man, presumably her husband, will wake up in a few minutes.
So Conrad has mind control powers. He knocked Jennifer’s husband out while they had sex. He must wipe the husband’s memory. How much is he controlling Jennifer and altering her memory?
Myfanwy stops at a couple of stores on the way to the banks and buys a new outfit, plus a hat and sunglasses, since she only has the murder outfit with her and her face is cut and bruised.
When Conrad picks up Monica, he notes that her own office didn’t know she’d traveled there. She goes straight to negotiating an exchange of information about the murders. Conrad pretends he doesn’t know what she’s referring to. She knows victim #6 and will give the Checquy extensive information in exchange for allowing her to take part in the investigation. He talks her down to accepting a role as “liaison officer, observational access only, working out of the Support Directorate.”
She insists on being taken to ID the body immediately. Conrad wonders what the urgency is about and if she’s going to try to remove something from the body that the Americans don’t want to give the British access to, such as a tracker. Monica assures him that she’s only there to help with the investigation, not to cover up anything.
Myfanwy arrives at the Mansel Bank and takes out her blue key. The woman at the desk is wearing gloves and punches her in the face before Myfanwy gets a full sentence out.
Someone knew she’d be coming.
Myfanwy is knocked unconscious. She wakes up as she’s being dragged into the vault by the woman and a man. She screams, loudly, for help. The man tells her that in a bank vault, no one can hear you scream.
Myfanwy’s world is a terrible place, if even the bank vaults aren’t safe.
The woman holds Myfanwy still while the man prepares a syringe of medication. Myfanwy asks why they’re doing this to her.
The man answers, “Because of what you are. And what you’re worth.”
So they want to kidnap her and sell her. A slave who has no memory of the past would theoretically be easier to cow. But the extreme fear and disorientation might make them fight harder.
The man moves closer to inject her with the drug. The lights flicker, power zaps between Myfanwy’s fingers. She stares intensely into his eyes. Something terrible happens to both of her attackers that involves their faces bleeding and they collapse, unconscious.
Were the gloves supposed to protect them from her powers? Someone miscalculated there.
Myfanwy’s hands are singed. She decides maybe she wants to know about her old life after all, and goes for the red key. The first thing in the drawer is a serious looking gun, then a large envelope.
She starts to go for the blue drawer too, because who wouldn’t want a spare identity? But the woman wakes up and pushes an alarm button, so Myfanwy has to run for it. She gets on a bus and opens the envelope. Inside, she finds an apartment key, with an address, and a pad.
The apartment is in a large, modern, secure building. Myfanwy observes from the outside for a while, then risks going through the front door. Everything goes fine, all the way into her apartment, which is strange. You’d think they’d be waiting for her at home, if they were at the bank vault, but maybe with 10 casualties in less than 24 hours, they need to regroup.
She settles into her apartment for a while, exploring her former self’s tastes. The apartment has a great view, but her wardrobe is designed to make her look like part of the furniture. Everything is very neat and organized. There is separate a little cubby hole for each and every piece of underwear. It’s all folded neatly into its slots.
Myfanwy might have been a tiny bit neurotic. Shockingly, she has anti-anxiety meds in the bathroom cabinet. She also has scratches on her inner thigh. We’ll have to wait to find out what that means.
She has a case of little needles and other supplies in her underwear drawer that I don’t recognize. If anyone does, let me know. Does she replace her birth control arm implants herself? Is she a cutter and has made a special little kit for it?
Alex Gestalt lets Linda know that there were two victims at the bank and the perpetrator has the same MO as the bridge murders, including taking out the CCTV cameras. The female victim was a temp from an agency and had only been at the bank for 2 days. She was using the name Britta Delvina. They haven’t been able to ID the man yet. Linda tells Alex, “Cross-reference against the Lugat profiles. They have ties at Mansel Bank.”
Myfanwy turns on the pad and plays the video she finds. She tells herself that dairy makes her breakout, and she’s deathly allergic to bees. Then she gives herself instructions on how to get into the hidden safe room in the center of her apartment (keyless entry, same code as the entry alarm) in order to access the classified information she needs to understand the rest of her life.
Once inside the safe room, she finds another video:
“Welcome. In here, you’ll find all your personal documents. Spare keys, car and home. And enough provisions to hole up for a few days if you need to. It’s soundproof and has tor encrypted internet access. You work for a government agency called the Checquy. ‘Sheck-ay.’ We’re a secret wing of British Intelligence that recruits people with certain abilities. You are one of these people, with the potential to be a deadly weapon. By definition that puts you in danger. On the wall are the names and faces of the people you work with. As a matter of tradition, chess pieces are the code names given to our senior agents. You are a rook in the Support Directorate, so your role is organizational. These people trust you. They regard you as an ally.
“Linda Farrier [King] is your boss and mentor. She’s tough but smart, probably cares more about you than anyone else in this place. Conrad Grantchester [Queen], number two. He has the power to alter the atmosphere. The very air we breath. He can elicit the truth, or knock you out cold. He likes you, but he’s dangerous. Be careful.
“And the Gestalt [Rook], the Checquy’s finest agent. You’ve known them forever, but their power is still difficult to grasp. Remember, speak to one, you’ve spoken to all. You’ll see.
“Ingrid [Pawn], she’s your secret weapon. Genius assistant. Competence personified. And to her left is Claudia [Bishop], spin doctor extraordinaire. The Checquy is protected by lies, and someone has to think of them.
“Now commit these names to memory. Now.”
Linda Farrier arrives at the apartment just after Myfanwy finishes watching the video. Linda immediately senses that Mifanwy doesn’t remember her.
Has there been a rash of erased memories, or did Myfanwy confide in Linda that this might happen? Or is Linda part of the group that made it happen?
And did Myfanwy close the door to the safe room before she let Linda in? I don’t trust her with that secret.
Linda refuses do any of the normal things you’d expect of someone who discovers a close friend has amnesia. She doesn’t offer to take Myfanwy to the doctor or to tell her about her life, even when Myfanwy asks. Instead, we realize that Linda already knows that Myfanwy is the Millenium Bridge murderer, and that she’s intent on covering up Myfanwy’s involvement and her amnesia.
She tries to take over the situation, barking out orders for Myfanwy to follow and asking questions in an undermining way that implies Myfanwy’s poor instincts have led her to handle this all wrong. She demands that Myfanwy turn over everything she’s worn at both crime scenes and then get herself to work, immediately, before other people start asking questions.
No wonder Myfanwy has so many issues, if this is her mentor and the person who cares about her the most. Video Myfanwy gave no indication that she had a life outside of work, so Linda is likely a mother figure as well as her boss and friend.
When Myfanwy refuses to cooperate, Linda asks where she keeps her anxiety meds and then makes her take a dose. According to Linda, Myfanwy wanted the prescription, to help her stay calm “and keep others safe.” After she takes the pill, Myfanwy asks her boss to leave. Linda goes, but tells her again to get the clothes ready for someone to pick up so they can be properly disposed of and that the only way Linda can keep her safe is if she comes to the office and starts cooperating.
Myfanwy: “I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
Linda: “It’s not me you’re disappointing. It’s quite literally yourself.”
She tosses her coat over her shoulder and leaves with an air that leaves no doubt that she might as well be royalty. Within the Checquy, she is, of course. She’s the King. She expects to be obeyed without question or delay.
As soon as she’s gone, Myfanwy takes the pill back out of her mouth.
At the morgue, Monica recognizes corpse #6 immediately, enough though his injuries have left him disfigured. She asks to officially ID the body alone, but Jasmine, the morgue doctor/attendant, says that she can’t leave anyone alone with a body under any circumstances.
Conrad, who knew Jasmine by name, says he’ll wait in the hall. Jasmine tells Monica that the victim’s jawbone was propelled back into his carotid artery, causing blood to asphyxiate him. Monica becomes teary and takes a moment to get her emotions under control. Then she punches something on the way out of the room.
She informs Conrad that the victim’s name was Marcus Kevler and he worked with her.
Myfanwy is dressed in a casual outfit and packing a bag, suggesting she’s going to flee, even though she doesn’t have the new identity. When she retrieves some items from the desk in the safe room, she notices that there are outtakes from Myfanwy’s videos on the computer, so she watches them, too.
The first couple are short attempts that lack confidence. In the third, she becomes increasingly agitated.
“Someone is going to attack me and wipe my memory. I don’t know who and I don’t know when. You have to find out who did this to me, and why. Why would anyone do this to me? This won’t help though. Who and why doesn’t matter. If you’re watching this, it’s already too late.”
OGMyfanwy is half drunk and weeps through most of the video. New (and improved?) Myfanwy is moved, and probably terrified, by what she sees. It’s not too late, and it does matter, since the people who did this are still trying to finish what they started. OGMyfanwy was only aware of the first part of the plan. New Myfanwy needs to figure out what’s going on, or this conspiracy might follow her wherever she tries to go next.
Myfanwy switches out jeans for a skirt and practices her business face. She drops the blue key in a ceramic frog on her bathroom sink.When her cab arrives at the headquarters of the Checquy, there are protesters outside, with police trying to keep them under control.
One dark-haired woman recognizes Myfanwy and pounds on the cab window. She looks as though she knows Myfanwy personally and needs to speak to her, but Myfanwy doesn’t recognize her and the police drag the woman away.
Myfanwy has to be let through three locked gates, a door which requires a pass and then scanned, in order to get into the building. She runs into Claudia in the hall, then Eliza and Robert Gestalt. To explain why she’s late, she uses the excuse that she was stung by a bee and had to sleep off a massive dose of antihistamines.
Robert wants to speak to her alone in her office. She tells him to lead the way. Monica pulls her aside to complain that she’s sidelined in the Support Directorate, but wants to be working in the Gestalt’s department. Eliza and Robert simultaneously tell Monica that they work alone. Monica tries to leverage the lead she brought them as a way in. Eliza is thankful, but while Monica has continued talking to her, Robert has pulled Myfanwy into a quiet spot down the hall. Eliza clearly wants to escape Monica and get in on Robert’s conversation.
Are the Gestalts possessive of each other?
Robert drags Myfanwy the last few steps to an isolated stairwell.
Robert: “Stung by a bee? Or just hungover and paranoid? Who have you told? Anyone? Your vetting officer? We don’t need to make a bureaucratic mountain out of a mistake. What happened was intense and complicated and… and… I’m not denying that I enjoyed it because I did. [He leans his forehead against hers and reaches for her hand on the stair rail. She pulls hers away.] My coat still smells of rose oil. But it… it was a one time thing. We were drunk. It won’t… It can’t happen again.”
Myfanwy: “Okay, never again.”
Robert: “Good. Settled.”
OMG, I HOPE IT’S NOT SETTLED.
He looked like he wanted to eat her with a spoon right there and then in the hall. She looked like she was seriously considering rummaging in her bag for the spoon, amnesia be d*mned.
They walk back the way they came, and run into Eliza at the corner. She stops to say, “I meant what I said. Don’t tell your vetting officer, unless you want to be the one to explain this. [Myfanwy doesn’t respond.] I didn’t think so. I’m glad we could talk it over like adults. It could have been messy.”
Myfanwy: “Yeah, thank goodness.”
Robert and Eliza together: “I was concerned that you of all people wouldn’t be able to keep your emotions in check.”
Hmm. Does Eliza mean that Myfanwy needs to keep her hands off one of Eliza’s
men brothers, while Robert means that Myfanwy shouldn’t mention how great it was and that they’d both really like a repeat?
We need to know how the Gestalts function. Is there a dominance order? Can they shut each other out of their minds or keep secrets? Because that felt like Eliza was Robert’s mother or girlfriend, making him go have a talk with the tramp who was trying to ruin their lives.
OGMyfanwy may have thought these people were her equals and allies, but some of them seem to have undervalued her. And what’s a vetting officer? Is her security clearance continually reassessed?
The Gestalts move on to their next target while Myfanwy tries to find her office. Thankfully, the next turn takes her into the section of the building where her office lies. Her assistance, Ingrid, is waiting for her, and quickly brings her up to speed on the day’s happenings. The bank and bridge closures are being handled. The Checquy’s “Court” is meeting in 10 minutes. Ingrid heard that Myfanwy lost her phone again, so she bricked the old one (wiped it and rendered it inoperable) and got her a new one. It’s probably loaded with everything from the old phone, because Ingrid is a treasure, just as OG Myfanwy promised.
Myfanwy sits down at her desk and looks through the drawers, which are even more organized than her home. She finds her next letter. She reads it as the members of the Court gather for the meeting: Linda, Claudia, Conrad, the Gestalt siblings, Monica Reed and the Home Secretary, Jennifer Birch.
“Dear you: If you’re reading this, you must have returned to your job. All this time, I thought my attacker could be anyone, but I’ve learned I was wrong. Despite the loyalty I feel for this agency, the good work that it does in this sinister world, and the deep history I have with those who work here, the person who hurt you, betrayed you, is right here. They know what they did, but I don’t know who they are. My best advice to you- Don’t Trust Anyone.”
That last letter was left in an odd place for a note that accuses her coworkers of attacking her. She left it just sitting in the open in her desk drawer, though she did make the wording somewhat cryptic. My guess would be that she found out that it was a coworker shortly before she was attacked. She wanted to make sure the next version of her would find it if she ventured into the lion’s den and didn’t have time to set up a series of clues, the way she did with the safe room and the bank vault.
Thanks to Robert, we know that Myfanwy was drunk and tired when she was attacked and that the Gestalt knew it and were responsible for her state. He either purposely helped her by giving her clues about the night before or he pulled her aside in the hall to judge her condition and present himself as a distraction from the truth.
Because of Robert, it really, really matters whether each Gestalt can act independently or not. Right now, there are serious questions about Conrad’s abilities and whether he could be the one who wiped Myfanwy’s mind and controlled the attackers. And questions of whether the Gestalt are in on the plan somehow, starting with mentally incapacitating Myfanwy before the attack. She may have beeen raped and Robert’s story is a cover, since they know she won’t remember the truth.
Please don’t let that be true. Besides the awfulness of rape, he looked at her like he cared about her. It would be nice if that were real. So far, she’s very alone in the world.
This chess team is missing both knights and a second bishop. We were introduced to enough characters to fill in the team, so they just weren’t named.
Why is it always red and blue when a choice needs to be made? Why not purple and green? Yellow and black? Are we still stuck in The Matrix? Yes, I get that she was choosing between two lives. So what? The red and blue choices are getting ridiculous and are so derivative they take me right out of a story. There must be a dozen other bold color pairings to choose from. Any of them could be infused with fresh meaning.
The hotel scene, with Myfanwy in her underwear doing contortions on the ice, and the red neons lights from the hotel sign coming in through the window, was uncomfortably close to the many shots of dead women’s bodies in Altered Carbon. Those hints of a culture of prostitution and exploitation probably shouldn’t be ignored in an 8 episode season, especially since the man at the bank said they wanted her because of what she’s worth.
The episode moved on from the sexual torture porn noir feeling quickly, but it moved on to another scifi trope, the slightly flat affect and monochrome environment that tends to mean people are being mind controlled and don’t know it or are living in a hyper controlled dystopia that they’ve been socialized to think is fine. There’s an underlying sinister creepiness to this world that isn’t overtly addressed in the pilot.
It’s clear that Myfanwy shouldn’t trust anyone, anywhere, not just at Checquy or in London. There are protesters outside the Checquy headquarters who aren’t explained and surveillance everywhere in the city. We see a safe room that appears to be part of the design of a typical apartment, suggesting Big Brother is everywhere, but those with the means can pay to thwart him. Everyone in Checquy seems to have secrets that they whisper about in the halls.
The Checquy is quite a toxic little kingdom. Too soon to tell why, except that it’s a spy organization and spies are all about secrets and competition. The Checquy pattern themselves after a ruthless game that requires willingness to sacrifice any piece, at any time, and to play a long, cold game of strategy, so of course they aren’t warm and fuzzy.
But they’re also human beings, or close to it, mammals at least, so you’d think that some genuine attachments would form. Myfanwy, Ingrid and possibly Robert Gestalt seem like the only ones who aren’t essentially lizards.
Linda was cutting with everyone and manipulative with Myfanwy. Conrad influenced the Home Secretary and her husband, and might have influenced Monica into taking a cooperation deal she wasn’t satisfied with. Any decision made while he’s nearby has to be questioned. Did he know Jasmine’s name because he’s influenced her in the past? Has he had autopsy reports altered?
The Gestalt are the most intriguing characters to me. They seem to be somewhere between a Sense8 cluster and telepathically linked clones. Everything about them is fascinating. Can they function as separate people? They seem to have separate personalities. They each have their own look.
Are the Gestalt one, specialized being separated into 4 bodies, or are they individuals who have always been telpathically linked and may not have figured out that they don’t have to live in each other’s pockets? Are they allowed to have lives of their own at all, or is it just one big incest fest? Even Teddy and Alex, the identical twins, each have their own distinctive style and personality. But that could be just as much a function of having each body specialize in order to maximize potential, similar to the way our bodies have cells differentiated into organs, bones, etc.
At the start of their conversation, Myfanwy thought Robert knew what she’d done the night before and was trying not to panic, until she figured out he meant they’d had sex. She was so relieved to be off the hook for the murders that she had no problem with being rejected by someone she doesn’t know. But that’s not the reaction Robert was expecting or maybe hoping for. Or maybe he’s been instructed to string her along, because his words said one thing, but his actions said another.
Once Myfanwy relaxed, it was getting very steamy in that hallway. Maybe the Gestalts can read each other’s words easily, but actions not so much, and the old Myfanwy would have known he was using his actions to speak in code, trying to keep their true feelings secret.
Jon Fletcher, who plays both Teddy and Alex Gestalt, also played Oliver Hill on the dearly departed Reverie, another underappreciated, female led show. It was just finding its footing when it was cancelled. He was great on Reverie. Hopefully he’ll get a few seasons on The Rook.
Stephenie Meyer, author of the science fiction novel The Host and the Twilight series of novels, was originally involved with bringing The Rook to television. She left the production when the rest of the creative team decided to change the show’s direction.
This show is what was created without her input. She likely wanted to build a show centered around the memorable heroine of the novel, who’s involved with a vibrant supernatural world. That’s also Stephenie’s overall genre and what she’s done in each of her books.
Stephenie Meyer would have brought a sense of character, setting and the supernatural to The Rook that’s missing from this pilot. The settings in her books become characters themselves, they’re so much a part of the story. The characters, male and female, are distinctive and their traits aren’t defined by their genitals.
I’m quite willing to continue to give The Rook, the TV series a chance. Unfortunately, what I saw tonight was a boring grayscape with lackluster characterization.
I suspect Stephenie Meyer left when the rest of the producers took a look at the successes of Killing Eve and Bodyguard, and decided they wanted to copy those shows. That’s what The Rook is most like. They even got Gina McKee to hop over from Bodyguard, where she played the Head of Counter Terrorism Command, by giving her a promotion to Home Secretary.
But, so far, The Rook also doesn’t have the vibrancy and confidence those shows had right out of the gate
It doesn’t bode well for a show about powered people and spies, that in the entire pilot, we’re only sure we see anyone use their powers once, other than the Gestalt. It’s as if the producers are afraid they’ll be lumped in with comic book and supernatural shows and won’t win their prestige spy TV emmys.
Every show I’ve watched that decided in season 1 to introduce its scifi concepts slowly, or downplay that it was a genre show- OGRoswell, Fringe, The Passage, to name a few- discovered it had to get to the heart of the story, or die. Fringe is the only one of the three I listed which successfully sped up its timeline and told a coherent multiseason story. Roswell tried to please too many different network executives and lost its narrative thread, and The Passage wasn’t given a 2nd season to course correct. Agents of SHIELD had a beginning similar to Fringe’s, and has struggled in the ratings ever since, just as Fringe did. It’s rare for a TV show to come back from a slow start, especially if it’s alienated its built in fan base.
By trying to jump on a trendy TV bandwagon, the creators of The Rook may leave fans of the book behind and end up pleasing no one. There’s a good premise here, you can feel it, but I worry that it’s been hollowed out from what it could be and nothing substantial has been added to replace what was lost.
Image courtesy of Starz.