I Am Not Okay With This (“except, actually, I really am”)
The opening scenes showing a blood-soaked Sydney (Sophia Lilles) power-walking down a road at night immediately conjure memories of the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie, and as the drama rolls out, there are a few more similarities.
Producers Jonathan Entwistle (The End of the F***ing World, another Charles Forsman comic book adaptation) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) claim this was an accidental coincidence, but that’s hard to swallow when Carrie is a cult horror classic, with so many common denominators. No matter. It was a lifetime ago, and today’s audiences, unless they’re movie buffs, are probably not going to notice.
(Fun fact: Carrie was King’s first published novel (1974) and was first made into a terrifying movie in 1976, starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta.)
Adolescent Syd, like Carrie, is on the receiving end of high school bullying, her dorky little brother even more so. Their father committed suicide a while back, and Syd is a boiling, raging pot of emotions and pubescent hormones; a volatile combination.
She’s doing all the normal things, like kicking stuff over, but at the same time, keeping a diary (entries being narrated by her) on the advice of the school counsellor. But then these moods begin to manifest very real consequences … objects begin to fly around, stuff gets broken. It appears the angrier and more confused Syd gets, the more damage is inflicted around her.
At first she’s befuddled – as anyone would be if this began happening around them – but as she begins to understand she can (more or less) control it, she does her best to hold her temper in. It’s not always easy.
Orbiting around Syd are her mom (Kathleen Rose Perkins – you might remember her from the hilarious Episodes), who is working hard as a waitress while at the same time trying to hold her family together as they grieve; little brother Liam (Aidan Wojtak-Hissong); best friend Dina (Sofia Bryant), who is dating school jock/jerk Brad (Richard Ellis); and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), who is a bit of an awkward weirdo himself.
He and Syd form a relationship of sorts (it’s complicated), and he learns her secret. Together, they try to figure out what is happening and why. As the seven super-short episodes (approximately 20 minutes each, making this a binge not much longer than an average movie) unfold, we begin to see behind the mystery, and the apparent connection with Syd’s dad. By the end too, we see Syd coming to terms with her new powers, and feeling confident she’s on top of the situation.
After Syd breaks it to Dina that Brad cheated on her at a party, he lays into her, and later steals her precious diary. At the homecoming dance in the season finale, he grabs the mic and begins to publicly humiliate Syd.
At this point you can once more reference Carrie, although there are slight technical differences. You already know from the the flash-forwards at the beginning of every episode that Syd is drenched in blood, but not why.
The truth literally made my jaw drop (I’ve been watching TV for a living for 23 years and thought nothing could surprise me anymore). To wrap up the first season, there’s a final teaser as to what will come next – check it out below – but only once you’ve seen the series!
If there isn’t a Season 2, I’d like to smash a few things with my mind too.