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The Rising

The Rising season 1

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Cast

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Reviewer

Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Neve’s on the hunt for a killer: hers.

It’s easier than you might expect, given that Neve’s dead and all. Normally, murder victims don’t have the chance to catch their own murderers (as far as we know). But while Neve’s frustratingly invisible to most folks she runs across, a select few can see her. Which means she might get a bit of help.

But it’s also harder. After all, you’d think that she’d have some sort of idea who’d want her dead, and why. But most of her recollections from that day have been plucked from her post-mortem memory banks. And that could make solving this case a challenge indeed.

Perish the Thought

The suspects are surprisingly plentiful. Joe, Neve’s boyfriend, would of course never hurt his main squeeze, would he? His well-heeled family, headed by the mysterious William Wyatt, may be hiding something. And, of course, there’s the English motocross crowd she ran with. Most were good blokes, but one or two might’ve wanted her out of the way.

But if Neve doesn’t know who killed her, she does know how she died: hit on the head, then strangled with a belt, her body left to float in a nearby lake.

And she knows, without question, how deeply her blended family misses her. Her mother, Maria, is particularly beside herself with grief.

Meanwhile, Neve must learn how to deal with her particular state of being (or nonbeing): what the rules are who she can communicate with and why; even how much time she might have in this strange twilight space. Is she destined to roam the earth forever? Or once she gets closure on her own murder, might she find peace? Rest?

She shouldn’t have any dead time in her schedule, after all.

Expiration Date

The sun rarely shines in this corner of Britain, which seems wholly fitting. For despite its clever little setup, The Rising (which originally aired on the United Kingdom’s Sky cable platform before migrating to the CW) is a gloomy, humorless slog through scandal, secrets and murder.

Neve, 19, was apparently a bit of a wild-child while alive—as, indeed, are most of the teens and twentysomethings we meet here. The motocross scene is filled with the sounds of whining engines, intimate encounters and burbling booze. When Neve first goes missing, no one thinks much of it. Everyone smirkingly assumes that she simply passed out in a bush or crashed in some guy’s tent. Exasperating? Perhaps. But not abnormal. (Drug use is a part of her story, too.)

No, it only gets abnormal when alcohol abuse rises (or sinks) to the level of Neve’s father—a man with such a problem that, in the opening episode, he simply passed out in his car (the driver’s seat, I might add) in his driveway. He was apparently too far gone to make it to the front door.

Sex serves as a prime motivator here, and some LGBT content finds its way onscreen. Violence is obviously an integral aspect of the plot. (We learn that Neve isn’t the only person to have mysteriously died.) Those two content concerns merge in the worst sorts of ways. And while language technically stays within broadcast television standards, it does so only by censoring some obvious f-words and s-words that went uncensored in the original British show.

The Rising features some fairly strong performances and, for a teen drama, a compelling plot. But the content here pulls The Rising into the murky depths.

Episode Reviews

May 29, 2023—S1, Ep1: “Episode 1”

Neve wakes with a start and finds herself floating in a lake. She makes her way home and is perplexed—and angry—when her mother seems to ignore her. But as more and more people look straight through her, Neve comes to a startling conclusion: She’s dead, and it sure looks like someone killed her.

The clues are all over her. Her neck bears the red, bloody welts of strangulation. She discovers a bloody wound on her head where she was apparently struck. Her thighs also are covered with abrasions, suggesting an even more disturbing violation.

She washes all that blood off in the shower: We see her from the shoulders up there, and also view her entire body through mostly opaque glass. In flashback, she and her boyfriend, Joe, kiss a few times. When she goes missing, her mother and stepfather seem to assume that she spent the night with Joe, and we infer that such stayovers were relatively common. Maria, Neve’s artistic mother, jokes with Neve’s stepfather (Daniel) about how he refuses to let her paint him nude.

We see Neve’s gray corpse pulled from the water. A bird crashes into a skylight and dies. Neve’s stepbrother shows the bird corpse to several people before burying it—and taking pictures of it in the hole.

Neve went missing during a motocross party, and several people mention that she had had a few drinks. Some joke that she likely just passed out somewhere. (It should be noted that the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom is 18, making 19-year-old Neve legal in that respect.) The morning after, Neve’s stepsister is clearly hung over. Her father drank heavily at the party and apparently passed out in his car in his own driveway.

At least two f-words and one s-word are censored, but it’s obvious what they are. Maria uses a variation of the British profanity “b–locks.” We hear some scattered milder profanity, as well.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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