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The Orion

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

‘The Innocents’ starts slow but keeps your interest

June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascotts) are lovers faced with hard choices in “The Innocents”. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Netflix’s “The Innocents” may come off as your run of mill teen drama or romance series. However, “The Innocents” proves to be more than that as the series showcases interesting story concepts such as feeling trapped in oneself and one’s own identity.

The eight-episode series does take a while to get its gears going, but viewers are soon rewarded with an interesting interwoven plot that involves genetic shape-shifters.

The plot centers around June (Sorcha Groundsell) and Harry (Percelle Ascotts) who are madly in love and decide to run away together to escape their own personal prisons. However, they are unaware that June’s overprotective father had been protecting her from herself; a blossoming shape-shifter. This ability, passed on by June’s mother, allows her to shape-shift into anyone she touches during one of her seizure-like episodes.

The series explains that her ability to shape-shift is due to a rare Scandinavian gene that allows the females in a unique genetic line the ability to shape-shift. In comes researcher Halvorson (Guy Pierce), who gathers a group of women who all have this shape-shifting ability on a secured island so that their uncontrollable ability won’t harm anyone. Halvorson hopes to help these women control their abilities, though more seems to be at play on the island.

The shape-shifting ability comes with its fair share of drawbacks. Not only is a shapeshift a violent act to undergo, but the person whose form is taken is put into a coma-like trance complete with unsettling flickering eyes. The user also can access the memories of the person whose form they took. This leads to some interesting identity issues for June in later episodes.

The series’ two main focuses are June and Harry whose chemistry is ever present as depicted in many of the show’s “declarations of love” scenes that are shown throughout the series. It gets somewhat exhausting after a while because it seems that June needs affirmation of Harry’s love every other episode. This is coupled with the fact that the first couple of chapters are the longest and drawn out episodes in the series with essential plot points hitting you left and right. It quickly becomes overwhelming. However, it does begin to make sense after you’ve made it past the first couple of episodes, especially when flashback scenes come into play.

Despite the constant need for the “ I love you” scenes, June and Harry do keep the story grounded and seem to offset some of the more crazier themes in the series. As does Halvorson, whose real intentions become harder to determine as the series goes on.

This is very much a teen romance series, but it’s one where I found myself engrossed in the plot as time went on and the stereotypical teen drama tropes annoyed me less and less. Despite some of its drawn-out section and over-dramatic instances, “The Innocents” still manages to be quite compelling and funny enough kept me wanting more. Once you begin this series, you have to be willing to be in it for the long haul, but it’s well worth the wait.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @Alexcoba9 on Twitter.

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