Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
What’s It About?
The Rain may be Netflix’s first Danish original series, but its premise will look familiar to most: a post-apocalyptic drama, where a virus has become a deadly threat to humankind. This time around, rain is what’s responsible for transmitting the illness, which, judging by the few deaths seen in “Stay Inside,” takes hold of a body quickly and violently.
Little is known about the origin of the virus or how many people it’s killed; we spend the better part of this premiere with siblings Simone and Rasmus, who are safe inside a bunker. The siblings’ father Frederik, a scientist who gained access to the bunker through his work, leaves his family almost immediately, claiming he is the only one who can save the world. Before leaving, he tells Simone to protect Rasmus at all costs because he is “the key.”
Half a decade has passed by the end of the premiere and the safety of the bunker has been compromised. Simone and Rasmus are left with no choice but to venture outside, and discover what’s left of the world they once knew.
“Stay Inside” wastes no time getting right to the action. Apart from a few brief moments spent introducing us to Simone, viewers have no real opportunity to get settled into the show’s environment, and that’s a good thing. We’re made to feel just as confused and anxious as Simone by the rapid pace in which the world is crumbling around her. The Rain is already using its time wisely, and encourages a sense of confidence for what’s to come by doing so.
The action slows considerably once we’re left with Simone and Rasmus alone in the bunker, but it’s a necessary shift in focus so the show can begin to develop the siblings’ relationship. Their bond remains a touch thin by the episode’s end, but enough of a connection was established for us to become invested. It’s nearly impossible not to smile while Simone and Rasmus are dancing together, and there’s an odd charm to the scene where she’s shaving his “beard.”
Alba August (Simone) is tasked with carrying the bulk of “Stay Inside” on her shoulders and she does a more than adequate job. Simone is somewhat frustrating at first – why do people have such a hard time listening to simple instructions during an apocalypse? She is 100% responsible for a certain someone’s demise – but once she accepts her role as caretaker, her strength and aptitude start to shine through. August was particularly compelling during the scene where she finds a place to cry alone. The way she was muttering to herself between sobs about not being able to “do this alone” had an extremely genuine feel to it. I look forward to seeing more from this actress.
We haven’t seen enough of Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen (teenaged Rasmus) yet, to know if he’ll be up to par with August. However, his role as “the key” seems to imply he’ll be playing a vital part, so we’ll surely find out soon enough. And while the introduction of this “key” business was a little rushed and clunky, it does add an appealing element of mystery to the plot. That and the flashbacks to Rasmus as a sick child indicate there could be more to The Rain than just the regular apocalyptic fare.
If you listened to Podcast Fandom’s coverage of The Leftovers, you’ll know about my aversion to the use of repeating scenes and dialogue. I mean, if we literally just saw or heard something, why must it be reiterated? To be fair, I think this tiring device could have been used effectively during the episode. The Rain wants us in Simone’s POV, and it makes sense that her father’s last words to her would be playing on a loop in her head. The tool is ultimately overused, though. Instead of rooting us in Simone’s perspective, the abundance of flashback replays and repeated dialogue winds up feeling like the show doesn’t trust its viewers or its own story, which is disappointing after such a strong and assertive start.
Of course, that’s just a particular gripe of my own, and it honestly didn’t weaken the show’s overall promise enough to write it off. The one real hurdle The Rain has to contend with is that it’s just another drop in the bucket for this genre. It’s going to need to give us something a little different than every other post-apocalyptic, environmental disaster, young-adult-focused drama, in order to stand out. That difference could be as small as avoiding the predictability that has, unfortunately, become inevitable for shows of this nature. Here’s hoping the mystery surrounding Rasmus can be the deterrent to this potential obstacle.
If post-apocalyptic dramas are your jam, The Rain will grab you pretty early on and will easily hold your attention throughout “Stay Inside.” Even if the genre isn’t your favorite, I’d recommend giving it at least three episodes of your time. It seems the premiere really only scratched the surface in terms of what this show is hoping to achieve, and, despite the familiar territory, The Rain’s premise is intriguing enough to allow it some space to develop.
Watch This if You Like
This premiere had several echoes of the earlier, good old days of The Walking Dead. The way Simone and Rasmus are cut off from the outside world and will likely be the last to know exactly what’s happened, reminded me of Rick Grimes’ situation in “Days Gone Bye.” Based on the majority of its cast, the setting, and tone, there’s a good chance anyone who enjoys YA dystopias and thrillers would also be on board for The Rain.
The Rain S1E1 Review Score
S1E1 “Stay Inside” || Starring: Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, Lars Simonsen
Upcoming episodes also star: Mikkel Boe Folsgaard, Iben Hjejle, Angela Bundalovic, Sonny Lindberg, Jessica Dinnage, Lukas Lokken, and Johannes Bah Kuhnke