Los Angeles — A tropical resort, a dead body, and suspects around every corner. This is HBO’s “The White Lotus.” Hang on, it appears from my editors that I got the wrong show. A tropical resort, a dead body and suspects around every corner. This is the Hulu original, “Saint X.”
The story deals with the murder of Alyson Thomas, who was found dead on the island of Saint X during her family’s trip to the Caribbean. Alyson, who is a freshman at the prestigious Princeton University, finds the trip hypocritical due to the line of work her parents are in, and frequently clashes with them. The only person she has any common ground with is her little sister, and protagonist, Emily, who she trusts dearly. Emily is an environmental documentary editor, who as the series flash forwards to the present, is still affected by the death of her sister and the media firestorm that soon followed after. This in turn affects her relationships both professional and personal. When she catches wind that one of the resort workers from the island that helped the family during the murder was found in New York, Emily becomes obsessed and attempts to find answers.
Following a non-linear storyline which while ambitious, the drama falters in providing an easy to watch show experience. The show is as wide as the ocean, but also as deep as a puddle as it focuses more on trying to capture a sense of uneasiness rather than telling a captivating story. Emily and Alyson feel very one note and nothing really makes us feel anything for them. I want to be enthralled and see the effect grief has on Emily, but instead we just have these characters that they want us to care for, but we cannot.
The writing is interesting in how it bounces through different perspectives, but due to all the confounding and confusing sub plots, the show gets carried away. Does it want to be a story about letting go of grief or revenge? Is it commentary of classes and privilege? It was interesting to follow the lives of the island’s natives, but it felt disjointed on what the show wanted to be.
In its confusion, the 44-minute drama hurt itself and wanted to have its cake and eat it too. “Saint X” was based on a book that was a New York Times bestseller, which makes me wonder if the process of the book to screen had many of the themes and threads lost in translation.
“Saint X” attempts to crash against the shores of television like a massive tidal wave, but ends up floundering like a beached whale that needs to be pushed back into where it came from. Perhaps if it was a film, it could have been more concise and easy to digest, but for what it is, it is not good. The deluge of true crime has been nothing short of a category five hurricane that has hit our television screens. While this is not as exploitative as Netflix’s ‘Jeffery Dahmer’ program, it lacks the hook and interest to reel in viewers like a fresh tilapia dinner.
2-1/2 drunk strawberry daiquiris out of 5.