Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 6: You Can Never Go Home Recap

 

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Adrian has decided to move on from team sports to a one on one battle with Leila. For all of his brave talk about wanting to play a high stakes game, he’s changed the rules at every turn to make sure the deck is stacked in his favor. Leila’s captivity at Adrian’s hands is different from anything we’ve seen before on Kiss Me First, and could be triggering for some viewers who aren’t expecting the sudden change in tone.

Someone, meaning Tippi, Force or Adrian, fished Leila out of the water after the end of episode 5, and tended to her injuries. The action moves back to London for the season finale, though it’s not clear in the beginning exactly where Leila is, other than being held hostage.

I appreciate that Kiss Me First once again shows Leila holding it together while she fights her battle, but needing to break down later. That’s the reality of being strong and good in a crisis. Leila isn’t a psychopath who fakes emotions like Adrian. She’s reserved. Her emotions are internalized, and sometimes deferred to a time when she can express them privately and safely.

For the grand finale, Adrian goes for kidnapping, assault and torture. During the precredits sequence we see Leila stripped down to her skivvies, lying on a mattress, strapped down, and hooked up to an IV that’s keeping her drugged. She rises to consciousness briefly when a bright light shines into her eyes, and struggles against her bindings, whimpering and complaining. Before long she’s drugged unconscious again.

After the title sequence the show moves to Leila’s house, where Jonty is sneaking in through the kitchen window. He can’t stand being left out of the loop any longer and needs to find out what’s happened to Leila. He finds Tess instead. She’s hoping that Jonty has news of Leila.

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Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 5: The Witch Is Coming Recap

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In episode 5, The Witch Is Coming, Adrian speaks directly to the audience for the first time, perhaps trying to seduce us into joining his next venture, after Red Pill is done self-destructing. He shares his personal manifesto, giving viewers insight into his motives and background. As it turns out, the theme of episode 4, friends (and family) let us down, is the theme of Adrian’s life, one he’s reenacting in his cults. Each suicide or murder is a proxy for his own issues. As a real life human, he remains invisible, perhaps because he wants to erase himself most of all, but can’t until he’s done with his revenge on the world.

Adrian’s voiceover:

Take a life, any life. Take your life. Think about all the people you’ve encountered today. This week. This year. Then think about how many people you’ll encounter in your entire existence. Family, friends, colleagues, enemies, lovers. The ones who stuck around. The ones who got away. Fleeting, stolen relationships. Endless friendships that ended. Consider the ones you loved and couldn’t tell, or were afraid of, or secretly yearned to humiliate, or maybe suck out of the world. Then consider how it would be if it were all possible. If you weren’t lost, buried in your stupid life. But making it, shaping it and molding it until you had everything you deserve. And you were loved as you should be. 

This is what the cult and the game offer. If you play along with Adrian, he promises that eventually, after you’ve done everything he asks, he’ll be the one who’ll love you forever, unconditionally, in the beautiful mansion next to turquoise waters that Tess is arriving at now. It’s the sort of place that’s owned by the very wealthy, who can afford to mold and shape their lives, and pay people to stay with them. But, as the Beatles taught us, even the wealthy can’t buy real love.

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Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 4: Friends Let Us Down Recap

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The battle between Adrian and Leila becomes more intense in this episode, as more real world players characters are drawn into their fight. Several Red Pill members meet for the first time in the real world, with varying results. Adrian’s plans continue to include violence, death and isolation. Even when his victims see through his machinations, like Leila, they are often powerless to stop him from manipulating and hurting people.

At the beginning of the episode, Tess has been gone for 4 days after the argument she and Leila had at the end of episode 3. Leila is hoping she’ll come back soon. Tess left her phone behind and Leila answers when it rings. It’s Adrian calling, of course, and he thinks it’s Tess that answers, or pretends to. When he finds out that it’s Leila who’s answered and that Tess is missing, he drops all pretense. Leila asks if he’s going to kill Tess when he finds her. Adrian insists that he “never kills anyone. That would be so unsubtle.” Lord knows, we wouldn’t want to lose the subtlety points when the judges score the game.

Leila asks why he doing this, but Adrian just says, “Let that emerge.” He leaves her with a challenge, “Who’s going to find her first?” Then he hangs up. Leila doesn’t want to be part of Adrian’s sick games, but she also won’t walk away from people who need her. Adrian is counting on that. Leila takes the bait, and tells the phone, “Me.”

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Kiss Me First Season 1 Review (Spoiler Free)

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Kiss Me First is a new Netflix/British Channel 4 series that is loosely based on Lottie Moggach’s 2014 debut novel of the same name. The six episode first season focusses on Leila (Tallulah Haddon), a young woman whose mother has just died, and Tess (Simona Brown), a mentally ill woman with a troubled history.

Both women escape from the difficulties of their lives using a ubiquitous gaming program called Azana Planet, but Tess, known as Mania within the game, has found her way into a hacked section of the program that’s set up as a private meeting space. It’s reserved for friends of a gamer who calls himself Adrian (Matthew Beard), who collects troubled young people and theoretically gives them what they need.

Eventually Leila, who goes by the name Shadowfax in the game, also finds her way into the private space. The club and its virtual clubhouse are known as Red Pill, for the pill Neo took to get out of the Matrix, rather than the Men’s Rights Activists’ delusion of choice. Before long, Leila suspects that Adrian isn’t as benign as the others thinks he is. Her real world investigation of Adrian involves the rest of the Red Pill members and becomes high stakes, as members start meeting sinister fates, one by one.

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