Although I loved the pilot of Netflix’s newest foreign series (The Rain is a Danish production), I had no idea I would be so captivated by all eight episodes of the show’s debut season. This is a confident and disturbing story with rich characters and absorbing storytelling.
A Fresh Twist
Shockingly enough, The Rain’s premise is quite generic: a virus transmitted by rain wipes out most of the population, and a group of survivors try to make their way in a post-apocalyptic world. On paper, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. But The Rain thrives thanks to an increased focus on the complex band of survivors at the center of the story. Instead of wasting its energy unravelling the origins of the virus (which to be fair, also gets unveiled), the show wisely pays close attention to bringing its multi-dimensional cast to life. Much like the first season of Lost (yes, before that iconic series turned into a mess), this show uses each of its episodes to illuminate one of the survivors through flashbacks. Their various backstories are far from cliché, and create beautiful parallels with the present.
I mentioned in my pilot review that The Rain is a very slick show, and that top-notch quality is sustained throughout the entire season. The production values on the show are incredible, with sweeping landscapes and extraordinary cinematography. It’s also very refreshing to watch a show that’s not set indoors, as a big portion of the narrative takes place in vast forest landscapes packed with greenery and vibrancy (a nice contrast to the darkness of the premise). Amazing!
Straight To The Heart
The best thing about The Rain is that it’s a journey drenched in pure emotion. I was genuinely affected by the show’s various flashbacks, and really grew to love the various dynamics at play between the survivors. By the end of this brief debut season, I truly felt like they had become family, and that is no easy task (many shows struggle to create the same impact with multiple seasons at their disposal). This is a story that’s far more affecting than you would expect.
Bits & Drops
(Spoiler section so skip if you haven’t finished the season)
– Mama Anderon’s brutal death in the pilot still haunts me. What a scene!
– Lea’s backstory with the gang rape was particularly heartbreaking. Jessica Dinnage is just tremendous across the board; her eyes speak to your soul.
– Simone’s relentless dedication to protecting her brother is so inspiring. Alba August deserves to be a huge star, and I still think she’s Emily VanCamp’s doppelgänger.
– The way Jean accidentally suffocated the little girl in the flashback was gut-wrenching and a real jawdropper of a twist.
– Did no one else get vibes that Patrick might be in love with Martin? I was sure the show was going there (and hey, it still could in the future).
– The show could have easily turned Thomas, the leader of The Strangers, into a predictable baddie, so I’m glad it opted not to. I’d like to see more of him in season two.
– I was quite shocked that the show killed off Beatrice. I was sure she would stick around for many years to come.
– I know it seems like I’m praising the entire cast, but they’re all so darn phenomenal. Lucas Tønnesen’s performance as Rasmus is particularly noteworthy.
– I wasn’t a big fan of Mikkel Følsgaard at the beginning of the seaosn, but Martin really grew on me. By the time he was bidding farewell to Simone in the finale, I was truly invested.
– Raise your hand if you predicted that the “nutrition” pill our gang swallowed was that very same zone-allergy virus. Uh oh.
– Speaking of Simone, anyone else get goosebumps when she decided to stay behind with her new family? What a touching moment.
– I’m guessing we’ll be seeing Papa Anderson again next season? Bravo show for making both despicable and sympathetic.
– If this series has any missteps, it would be the final scene with Sten talking to the shadowy buyers about weaponizing the virus. That felt too cliché to me.
A dark and brilliant debut season from The Rain. Much like another foreign Netflix series (La Casa De Papel / Money Heist), this comes as highly recommended.