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Bad Sisters - The Prick - Recap/Review



Based on Malin-Sarah Gozin's Belgian series Clan, Bad Sisters is a dark comedy-thriller focusing on a family of five sisters and the secrets they keep. Developed and written by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel and Brett Baer, with episode 1 directed by Dearbhla Walsh. Due to the death of their parents, the Garvey sisters have a close bond and when something happens to one of them, it affects all of them. Spoilers ahead!

We meet each sister individually on the morning of a funeral. First is grieving widow Grace (Anne-Marie Duff), who is preparing sandwiches for the afters (also known as a wake) of her husband John Paul (Claes Bang), whom the sisters call JP. Eva (Sharon Horgan) still lives in the big family home and appears to be the one the others look to for advice and direction. Bibi (Sarah Greene) has no desire to attend the funeral her sisters are preparing for, despite her wife Nora’s gentle encouragement. Bibi is missing an eye and looks like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Ursula (Eva Birthistle) hides in the bathroom checking her phone and opens the door to her three children and husband Donal, ready to go. Becka (Eve Hewson) appears to be the youngest sister and we find her running across wet sand – this show was filmed on location in Ireland, which provides a beautiful backdrop and a peculiar small-town feel to the show.

The funeral itself is a somber affair. Eva, Bibi and Ursula sit quietly. Bibi wears an eyepatch. Becka runs in late, wearing red while the rest of her siblings are dressed in black, including Grace and her daughter Blanaid. Ursula exchanges looks with a man across the room… clearly, she has a secret of her own. Who does she keep texting? I really liked how these scenes showed these little pieces of each woman’s personality through expressions and gestures. Why is Becka more upset than her siblings? I’m intrigued to find out more about the family dynamics in future episodes.

Through flashbacks from six months ago, we learn JP was a cruel man. He was violent and manipulative towards Grace and throws verbal jabs at each of the sisters, their weaknesses pointed out in front of everyone at a family Christmas dinner. The sisters express their dislike of JP in the kitchen while Grace defends her husband, desperate to keep the peace. I can really feel the frustration and concern of the sisters in this scene. They don’t just hate this man; they hate the effect he’s having on Grace. The next day, JP gets increasingly manipulative as Grace tries to leave for the planned swimming trip. He shoves her against the front door before locking it. It’s obvious this is not the first time JP has been violent. This scene made me so sad for Grace, trapped in a house with this man – who she clearly loves, but she deserves better. These flashbacks are well-crafted, giving us just enough backstory to show why the sisters hated JP but not exactly what – or who – caused his death. Eva, Bibi, Ursula and Becka sit by the water after their swim, sad that Grace was unable to join them. “We’re losing her,” Eva says. “She’s not the girl she was. She’s getting quieter, smaller.” The women debate what to do about it, before Bibi points out people get killed every day. This is my favorite scene from episode 1, as the sisters jokingly discuss ways JP could die.

Another piece of the puzzle are Thomas Claffin (Brian Gleeson) and his half-brother Matthew (Daryl McCormack) who work for their family insurance firm. It happens that JP’s life insurance policy is worth a sizable amount, if there was nothing untoward and he died a natural death. They mention the family has had four recent claims, which seems to be an awful run of bad luck. Paying out this kind of cash would be a problem for the firm, so Thomas decides to ask around about JP by crashing the afters. In her grief, Grace tells Thomas she was with her sisters the night JP died – when she was actually home alone. Becka and Matthew share a drink in a pub after leaving the zero-alcohol afters, and she becomes known to him as “Sandwich Girl” after an earlier collision. Getting too close to Matthew could cause problems for Becka and her sisters if she inadvertently reveals too much.

Upon finding out about Grace’s lie to Thomas, Eva summons Bibi, Ursula and Becka for a meeting to decide what to do. “We keep Grace out of this. She can’t find out what we did,” Eva says, as the sisters swear to look out for each other like they always have. This scene made me feel like I was one of the sisters, in on their secret. Bringing Home The Rain (The Builders and the Butchers) is the perfect song to close the episode with. The stage is set for the rest of the season.

I loved this first episode, and highly recommend this for fans of Big Little Lies. If a mysterious family drama with a dash of comedy is what you’re after, this is the show for you!

The first 2 episodes of Bad Sisters are now available on AppleTV+.

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