I tend to get excited when television discovers my favorite captivating page-turning writers. Sometimes the results are satisfying: Michael Connelly’s Bosch on Prime Video, CJ Box Joe Pickett on Spectrum (coming to Paramount+ in May), Craig Johnson’s Longmire on A&E, then Netflix to name a few of the best. But sometimes they fall to dismal pieces, like Netflix’s Pieces of hera slow, overly long eight-part downer based on Karin Slaughter’s 2018 standalone novel. his due.)
The hook, as usual with this author, is a good one, prompting an early jolt of shock and excitement when speech therapist Laura (Toni Collette) from sleepy Belle Isle, Georgia saves her restless adult daughter Andy (Bella Heathcote) with a random fire attack in the most violent way imaginable. How did mom learn such ninja skills? And why exactly does she have a getaway plan that involves a new car, a stash of cash, and multiple pieces of ID?
The plot, and there are so many, begins once media attention to this viral event disrupts their lives, threatening to expose Laura’s long-hidden past and sending a panicked Andy on a dangerous journey of discovery. . The second half of the disjoint Rooms begins to feel like a goth pot, as Andy discovers a whole new family she’s never known, harboring their own share of life-threatening secrets.
The gifted Collette brings such unrelenting angst to her portrayal of Laura (or whoever she is) that the series never really recovers from this oppressive monotony. It doesn’t help that Jessica Barden’s sullen demeanor as her younger self makes many of the flashbacks and revelations ring hollow.
The time shifts also dilute the suspense there is in Andy’s ordeal, which becomes harder to believe or take into account as Pieces of her wobbles down to its surprisingly anticlimactic finish.
Pieces of herSeries Premiere, Friday, March 4, Netflix