Bad Sisters Spoilers Ahead
If you loved HBO’s Big Little Lies, then Apple TV’s Bad Sisters is, without a doubt, the next series for you. Developed by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer, the series is based on the 2012 dark comedy Clan. While the premise isn’t entirely unique, how the series frames the three-part acts is a riveting accomplishment all throughout.
Starring Sharon Horgan, Sarah Greene, Eva Birthistle, Anne-Marie Duff, Eve Hewson, Daryl McCormack, Brian Gleeson, Claes Bang, and more, every episode of Bad Sisters is a thrilling, near anxiety-inducing wreckage with a quiet finale that nails the coffin shut.
In more ways than one, Bad Sisters is a love letter to families—it’s acknowledging what it means to have messy, complicated relationships and the choices people make to protect those they care for. In this case, it’s four sisters determined to kill their fifth sister’s prick of a husband because he’s one of the vilest creatures living on earth. Despite the dark themes, the vulnerability the sisters showcase with each other and, inadvertently, to the audience creates the sort of spectacle that’s deeply poetic.
And part of the series’ poetic nature comes from the detail that each of their relationships with one another is so different, yet it’s all stemmed from an unyielding adoration that fortifies the anchoring loyalty between them. Their characterizations and the roles they each play in the story exhibit the type of women members of the audience could see themselves through, even if they haven’t experienced what they have. They’re well-written, profoundly flawed, and the best part is, they’re allowed to be. Neither the writing nor the overarching story demands any of the women change who they are or their ways, despite the chaos that unfurls because of their actions.
Thereby, much of the vulnerability we see results from the fact that none of these women are malicious or inherently evil. They aren’t murderers, but they’re angry—furious beyond comprehension, which is an emotion that men are seldom faulted for, whereas the world casts stones at the women who dare ever to showcase the justified rage stirring within them. And we see some variation of this rage, coupled with vulnerability, through each of the Garvey sisters, making them that much stronger and layered in the process.
Bad Sisters relies on vulnerability and emotional rage to nudge the plot forward by giving each woman plenty of motives while simultaneously keeping the audience guessing. In this sense, it achieves narrative and character development by allowing all the mystery components to work together to create something jaw-dropping. It’s heavy at times, hilarious, and so poignantly moving that there’s always a light constantly looming over the darkness.
And this very light is the adoration burning through women for the sisters they’d do anything for. Thus, in the end, it’s a story about freedom. It’s a story about what it truly means to rob someone from their agency time and time again. And John Paul has taken something substantial from all the women more than once, allowing them the solace to move forward after his death. But they aren’t the only person he takes from—there are characters like Roger, his daughter even, and everyone who’s ever worked with him or crossed his path. Still, in the end, the series isn’t about what’s taken but what’s returned and seized through the choices people make at their breaking point.
We shouldn’t root for murder—human beings aren’t designated to be judge, jury, and executioner, but when it comes to Bad Sisters, it’s hard not to root for them. It’s about five women who’d give their all for each other in a way no one else would because protecting one another is a maximum priority no matter the circumstances. It’s hard not to stand beside them through everything while we watch JP terrorize their every move, making every path he crosses cursed with roadblocks others will have to demolish.
Ultimately, freedom wins, and five women are allowed to laugh openly again. They get to look each other in the eyes, reach forward, and hug one another before they excitedly jump in the water to celebrate their brimming love for each other. And for that reason, Bad Sisters accomplishes remarkably complex and nuanced storytelling by placing characters centerfold, making it the kind of series worth appreciating for years to come.
Now streaming on Apple TV+: What are your thoughts on Bad Sisters? Let us know in the comments below.