Tuesday, 14 February 2017

CONTROLEntertainmentOnline Reviews: Sweet/Vicious

When I first heard the shows premise & saw the trailer, I was wondering how on earth it was going to work. Vigilantes going after rapists on a College campus? It sounded preposterous, leaning towards being offensive, especially with the humor contained in the show & I was preparing myself for it to be a mess. College rape is an extremely serious subject matter, especially when Colleges 90% of the time cover it up & we live in a society that loves to blame the victim. But Sweet/Vicious? Actually turns out to be none of these things.

In the first episode we learn that our hero, Jules Thomas, is herself a victim of rape. The culprit? Her best friends boyfriend. What follows is mesmerizing performance after performance by a simply amazing Eliza Bennett. We feel her pain at being raped by her best friend's boyfriend, someone who she trusted, once counted as a friend, and now can't bear to be around. In her work as the vigilante, Jules is able to get justice for other rape survivors that she wasn't at the time able to get for herself. But it is a slippery slope, especially when you do accidentally murder someone, and wear the 'everything is ok' mask every day, whilst inside you're breaking away bit by bit; it's only a matter of time before that all comes crumbling down & Jules loses herself.

That's where the equally amazing Ophelia Mayer comes into it. She's the shows comic relief & Taylor Dearden has superb timing, along with being Jules rock. They're both in the vigilante game for different reasons at the start, but by the end they're united for the cause and as best friends. Ophelia is able to reconcile Jules with her best friend Kennedy towards the end of the season whilst helping her best friend and budding law student Harris see that the campus needs the vigilantes.

Whilst parts of episodes aren't as engaging as others and the season really picks up in the last few episodes, Sweet/Vicious doesn't have a bad episode. Dylan McTee is tremendous as rapist Nate Griffin, boyfriend to Kennedy. Playing a rape victim along with the assailant can be tricky as you have to get the right tone & Dylan nails it, making me hate Nate with every fiber of my being. The show is also so superb because of the writing. It never seeks to take away from Jules or any of the other victims pain, nor does it try to humanize Nate & make us feel sorry for the other rapists. The show is always clear on who is right and who is wrong, and portraying establishments in an unfortunately realistic way. The questions are always with the rape victims and what they could've done to avoid being raped, whilst questioning whether they were actually raped or what happened is something they just regret. When your rapist is the star of any sports team, your hopes for justice diminish even further & when you think you will get that justice you so deserve, it will be ripped away from you by higher powers who are only interested in cover ups for said teams. Another important thing the show does? Give trigger warnings at the beginning of episodes. This should be a standard thing but unfortunately it isn't.

I hope that Sweet/Vicious is renewed because it telling an extremely important story, but even if it's no that's ok. Season 1 was respectful enough to not end on any cliffhangers, just further hope for the future along with some crumbs for a potential season 2. Very few shows pull at me the way that Sweet/Vicious has & I cannot speak highly enough about it.