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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Rook: Dickian Pastiche

The Rook on Starz starts off with a bunch of familiar premises - someone (in this case, a young woman) wakes up in a dangerous situation with no knowledge of who she is.  She gradually learns about her past and situation from a series of helpful messages from her younger self, who knows she's in danger of having her memory wiped.  We and she learn that she (Myfanwy is her name) is part of an MI6-type British secret service group.  And soon another very different, but also very familiar, trope is revealed:  Myfanwy has some kind of super powers - the ability to inflict physical damage on people via her mind - and the MI6 group (Checguy) is somehow all about this.

Now, I'm a sucker for all of that stuff - I stayed with Heroes until the very end, including its sequel - so I'm open to seeing another rendition of it.  And I liked what I saw in the first episode, which, for a variety of reasons including the pacing and cinematography, actually reminded me more of the late, departed, superb Counterpart, also on Starz, than anything else.

The ambience and story-line is of course also very much in the Philip K. Dick mode, which is also always welcome.  Dick was a master of exploring people not knowing who they are, and the voyage of discovery uncovering all kinds of wrinkles and black holes, figurative and literal, in the universe.  The Rook looks to be more down-to-Earth, and that's ok, too.

There's also, apropos Heroes, an almost Japanese flavor to this narrative.   Although the locale is London, lots of the scenes felt like they were somewhere in Tokyo.  But this also loops back to Dick and the Bladerunner movies.

All in all, then, The Rook is intriguing, colorful, and I'll stick around at least a little while to see how it plays out.

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction,
The Silk Code delivers on its promises." - The New York Times Book Review

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