The Rook episode 1 review: Does Starz have a new hit on their hands?

The Rook

Entering The Rook episode 1 on Starz tonight, you may have had questions. Ironically, on the other side you likely still do. This first episode was mostly about setting the stage and giving you a sense of who some of the key players are … but then not giving you too many updates on what really happened to the main character of Myfanwy Thomas.

In the early going in the premiere, we meet Myfanwy surrounded by bodies and unsure as to how she got there or what happened. She barely even had a sense of self. There are some similarities in the opening to this show and Blindspot, but the idea of “waking up” in a populated place is largely where it ends. These are two shows that are different in terms of intention, mystery, and of course the people all around them.

Through most of the premiere of The Rook, Myfanwy finds herself alone, reliant mostly on messages left by her former self for clues. She gets a sense of who she is and the mysterious organization that she works for: Checquy. This is a group full of people with mysterious abilities who do their part to take on strange, paranormal entities in the world. Yet, the betrayal that befell Myfanwy came somewhere from within. The premiere episode closes with her looking around the room and surveying the field, with her former self warning her that she can’t trust her own colleagues.

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What makes this group so special is that this really is a motley crew of employees, ones who carry with him their own set of abilities and motivations. Heck, you even have some that share a collective consciousness … which is awkward when you start to throw in here the romantic history that Myfanwy seems to have with one of them. You’ve got a dangerous boss, some likable characters, and others willing to keep their distance. You can’t really trust anyone to be innocent since one of the sole purposes of the premiere is to try and intentionally get you disarmed.

CarterMatt Verdict

There are a couple of different reasons why The Rook premiere works. Visually, this show is a total marvel to look at. It’s shot in such a weird, psychological world where almost anything can happen and the writers can do almost everything. Sure, we know that there is source material out there already for The Rook, but how many casual viewers will be familiar going in?

What also works here comes via the cast — we honestly didn’t know all of the performers going in and that worked for the best. It really gives you a good sense of diving into an unknown environment where you could be immersed in the world of this organization all the better. Olivia Munn is the most well-known name to US audiences, and ironically, she is the one outsider of the group with her American accent. She works, but we need to know more about her character.

While it’s too early to say if The Rook is the best new show of the summer, at least the premiere gets it off to a great start.

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What did you think about The Rook episode 1 tonight? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: Starz.)

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