Strong Performances by Mbatha-Raw and Adams Can't Save This Woefully Underdeveloped Episode
This episode started off with promise, but ultimately leaves the viewer unfulfilled.
What little plot involved in this episode focuses on two women who appear in the same play together, but are in different stages of their respective lives and careers. Sophie (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), still in her early 30s, has a career full of promise. While performing in the play, she's up for a potentially career changing acting role.
Meanwhile, Annabelle (Jane Adams), Sophie's much older co-star, looks to Sophie as a reminder of an earlier period of her life when she was also optimistic about the future.
Unfortunately, this intriguing premise is only given cursory examination. Many details in the story are left for the audience to figure out, making it more difficult to connect emotionally with the material. This is really a shame, because both Mbatha-Raw and Adams are both fine actors who deserve material worthy of their respective talents. This is most apparent with Mbatha-Raw's character, because it is by far given the most time on screen.
As a result, the episode clearly has more interest in Sophie than Annabelle. But rather than go beneath the surface and get to the heart of Sophie's emotional journey in her professional career and her love life, the episode seems more concerned with objectifying the actor that plays her. This is most apparent in a swimming scene. Ostensibly, the scene is designed to use swimming as a way to reveal the character's state of mind, but instead seems more interested in the curves of Mbatha-Raw's womanly figure.
Given what little she has to work with, Mbatha-Raw does an admirable job as Sophie. She gives a finely nuanced performance, but even someone as talented as her can only go so far with the under cooked material. By the end of the episode, so many questions are left unanswered that the audience is left unsatisfied.
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