It’s onerous to go up a chance to go down the proverbial rabbit gap with Kiefer Sutherland, so when Paramount+ dangles a Kiefer carrot in entrance of you, mainly you simply need to dive in. As he did in his Emmy-winner flip in 24 and later, in Designated Survivor, Sutherland performs one other conflicted character in his new collection, Rabbit Hole.
Creators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who’ve created magic earlier than with I Love You Phillip Morris and the emotional series This Is Us, give viewers lots to nosh on on this company espionage thriller the place, as soon as once more — not less than for Sutherland’s John Weir — saving the day is on the agenda.
Ficarra and Requa have assembled a robust ensemble cast right here, with Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance standing out because the mysterious Dr. Ben Wilson. The appearing legend chews up surroundings as solely he can, grounding this usually frenetic collection. More on that in a second. Meanwhile, Meta Golding (Empire), Enid Graham (Mare of Easttown), Walt Klink (Arctic Circle), Rob Yang (Succession), and Jason Butler Harner (Ozark) come alongside for the bumpy journey. Let’s dive in…
A Promising Premise
Nothing is because it appears in Rabbit Hole. That’s what the present’s writers are feeding to viewers. Sutherland’s John Weir is framed for homicide by ominous forces in a sort of deep state conspiracy, one which may affect and management populations. John should clear his identify and produce down the unhealthy guys — however who’re they? Could they be a few of John’s closest associates? Or new of us who all of a sudden pop into John’s life? It’s anyone’s guess.
Okay. That works. It’s a superb premise. However, it’s not at all times executed successfully, particularly within the first three episodes. Suspending perception and shopping for into the artistic twists a collection affords is all a part of our love for streaming collection. But right here, the writers often take issues too far.
We’re led to imagine, as an example, that Sutherland’s beleaguered John — a person wished for homicide and being hunted down — can simply slip into some new garments, placed on a cap, and barge by means of safety of any constructing he needs with out getting observed? Just as a result of he’s good at barking out instructions as a web site inspector? But the writers need the character to get into the constructing, so into the constructing John goes.
What Works, What Doesn’t
Premise? Good. Execution? Questionable. So, how about some TV romance? For that, now we have the beautiful Meta Golding as Hailey Winton. She and John share an evening of ardour and all of a sudden, Hailey is swept into his mess. There are a couple of tonal peculiarities with the character initially, maybe deliberately; nonetheless, the writers give Golding, an incredible actress, extra to nosh on because the collection unfolds. For essentially the most half, Rabbit Hole has the potential to shine when John and Hailey try to get to know one another as folks. But we’re rapidly diverted again to the drama unfolding round them.
Enid Graham brings a refreshing levity to the present taking part in FBI agent “Jo” Madi. Hopefully the writers proceed to supply the character one of the best one-liners all through the present. There’s one thing interesting about the way in which Graham delivers a line, particularly throughout a disaster. So, examine. The FBI Agent works.
Rob Yang’s Edward Homm? Not a lot, although not by any fault of the actor. Yang performs a high-level enterprise government and the most recent sufferer in John Weir’s vigilant try to uncover the reality. About that… what’s actually going right here? John needs to clear his identify, however, what’s this? There’s one thing about his psychological state that raises different questions, rerouting the whole notion of the collection: is something we’re watching really actual?
That twist appears to kick in with fervor and engagement by the point Charles Dance enters the picture, and the banter Sutherland and Dance set up is plausible. There’s a lot speak about a mysterious character the viewers doesn’t see — any individual who’s been instrumental at controlling the way in which issues roll, apparently — and one hopes that the artistic group delivers a pleasant payoff on that entrance by the season finale. That works.
Another vibrant spot: The collection doesn’t take itself too severely. You sense it is winking on the viewers often. That’s most evident by the point the third episode and onward rolls alongside, when extra explosions and motion sequences hit the display screen. The present is aware of what viewers need to see (particularly, Kiefer Sutherland on the run). It works. Onward…
The Bottom Line of Rabbit Hole
Themes of knowledge, privateness, actuality, and non-reality flow into all through Rabbit Hole, which, whereas initially intriguing, are likely to bathroom down the present. Yes, we’re going into the “rabbit hole” with Sutherland’s character, however give us some respiration room occasionally to let issues sink in.
John’s paranoia will increase because the present performs out, too, and as audiences study extra about his previous, it’s hit-and-miss whether or not most folk will discover it plausible. The present is not that convincing when John’s previous traumas regularly filter into the current. It appeared extra like a mandatory plot gadget quite than what it was possible meant for — to authentically elevate the extent of intrigue and complexities of his character.
That’s already been in-built with the present’s ingenious premise, in spite of everything. We’re right here for Sutherland, and probably will likely be ought to the present head into season two, the place one hopes, after dusting off some artistic particles, Rabbit Hole might very nicely take off in an much more fascinating path. There’s a lot to play with right here — company espionage, knowledge drama, and Sutherland’s outstanding capability to carry a scene and captivate audiences. Does Rabbit Hole at all times hit the precise marks? No. Will it shock us with added twists that ship the present in a wildly new path? Here’s hoping. In the meantime, we’ll at all times have Kiefer Sutherland to fall again on.
Rabbit Hole streams Sundays on Paramount+.