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Resident Evil Episode 1 Review: Welcome to New Raccoon City

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Source: Netflix

Overall 6.8/10

Story 6.3/10

There are two stories that the writers take the audience back and forth between. One takes place in the dystopian present of 2036. The other part of the story takes place in 2022—the past. In the present, Jade is a scientist trying to test the boundaries of the T Virus’ intellect.

In the past storyline, she’s a wise-cracking teenager whose dad is an umbrella corporation big wig. Albert Wesker moves Jade Wesker and her sister, Billie, to a strange neighborhood in South Africa owned by the Umbrella Corporation.

Albert is there to work on something for Umbrella. His daughters get a nasty surprise when they go looking to find out what.

It's always tricky to tell character stories from two different time periods. The writers for Arrow were masters at it. But one thing they did was make sure that the audience had a firm footing in the present. Then they would use flashbacks when they became relevant to the present story.

The writers of Resident Evil don’t do that. Instead, they bounce the audience back and forth between both time periods without much regard for relevance. The result makes for a jumbled story that can disorient the audience.

With that said, the story does have its moments. The writers do manage to reveal an interesting character here and there.

Character 7.2/10

This viewer was delighted to learn that Lance Reddick would be in this series. He is incredible as Agent Phillip Broyles in The Fringe. The actor has a way of depicting subtle power. Albert is similar in that manner.

Albert is complex. In fact, he may be a walking paradox. On the surface, he seems like a soft-spoken man that lets his daughters walk all over him. But when it comes to protecting them, he is fearsome.

When Tammy, a psychopathic bully, makes Billie Wesker one of her targets, the family patriarch gives Tammy a lesson she won’t soon forget. He makes an example of her father in front of her. He teaches her the meaning of true power and what a bully really is. Using his position in the Umbrella Corporation to cow Tammy's father, the girl learns what it truly means to be helpless in the face of power. Albert even makes Tammy apologize to Billie and do it, “like she means it.”

Albert is so scary that he even makes Billie uneasy. She’s not familiar with this side of her father. At this point, Albert is the most complex character in the story.

This viewer predicts that the audience will enjoy how Reddick portrays him.

This viewer can't say the same about Billie and Jade. In the past storyline, Jade comes off as bratty and a bit spoiled. It is a little one note. There doesn’t seem to be much going on with her besides hating her dad and the fact that he moves them to South Africa.

Jade’s later depiction is a bit more interesting than the earlier version. She has some abilities that ordinary humans don’t. Besides that, she carries herself much differently—like she’s experienced some things that have caused her to grow up. Her character has a story to tell. And the audience may be interested in hearing it.

Billie Wesker’s character has a little more depth than Jade's earlier version. There seems to be more to her story. But we don’t get to see it. Perhaps that’s something the writers will reveal later.

Of course, this viewer can see how any audience can get behind a character with bullies. And it will probably root for her to defend herself. But Billie refuses to. Though when her dad stands up for her, how does she repay him? She breaks into his office to get evidence on the company that he works for, so she put it online. The reason? She surmises that they’re experimenting on animals. It never crosses her mind to ask her dad about it.

Keep in mind, up to this point, Billie only ever wants to keep her head down and stay out of trouble. She even refuses to stand up to a bully, so she won't get into trouble. She goes from that to stealing her dad's identification, so she can break the law. That's a big leap that doesn't really make sense for her character.

Final Thoughts

The story seems jumbled. But there are moments where the writers reveal some interesting character elements. The question becomes, will the audience stick around long enough to see them?


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