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‘Red Widow’ Pilot Recap: “This Is Your Debt”

Here we are in March already, and the networks are still rolling out mid-season replacements. ABC has promoted the hell out of its new thriller series ‘Red Widow’, which debuted with a two-hour premiere on Sunday. Does the show live up to the hype and the network’s faith in it?

Sadly, I have to give this one a big fat “Meh.”

The lovely Radha Mitchell stars as Marta Walvaren, daughter of an old Russian mobster (Rade Serbedzija, who specializes in playing deceitful Eastern Europeans). Marta lives a comfortable suburban life with her swarthy husband Evan (Anson Mount) and three kids. Although once tied up in her family’s dirty business, Marta and Evan have gone legit and now run a small import-export business in San Francisco. Unfortunately, faster than you can say “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” Marta’s fuck-up brother steals a bunch of drugs from a Very Bad Man named Schiller (Goran Visnjic). Of course, Evan gets dragged in to clean up his mess.

Given that Anson Mount is still attached to star in another season of ‘Hell on Wheels’, and especially given that this show’s title is ‘Red Widow’, not ‘Red Wife’, there’s little suspense about poor Evan’s fate. Nevertheless, the pilot episode drags out the shocking twist where he gets gunned down in his own driveway until about the 40-minute mark or so. Because the drugs have gone missing by this point (presumably the fault of the aforementioned fuck-up brother), her husband’s death leaves Marta in debt to Schiller, who decides to collect by turning her into his errand girl.

The premiere is comprised of two episodes, called ‘Pilot’ and ‘The Contact’, that awkwardly transition into each other. The first one’s all about setting up the premise. In the second, Marta starts learning the ins-and-outs of the smuggling trade, and has to find a way to bribe an honest dock supervisor into letting her sneak in a new shipment of drugs.

The show is filled with very attractive people and is filmed in very photogenic locations. It’s slick and glossy, and tries to be a little trashy, in order to appeal to the audience currently watching ‘Revenge’ on the same network. It’s also pretty dull and predictable. Honestly, I tuned out during most of the second episode in favor of playing a game on my phone. I don’t feel any great compelling need to watch again.

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