TV Series Review: The Pale Horse (2020)

“The Pale Horse” is a two-episode British television series based on the novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The series premiered on BBC One in February 2020, and has received mixed reviews from viewers and critics alike. In this review, we will take a closer look at the plot, characters, and production values of “The Pale Horse.”

The plot of “The Pale Horse” revolves around Mark Easterbrook (Rufus Sewell), a man who finds himself drawn into a world of dark magic and murder after discovering that his name appears on a list found inside the shoe of a dead woman. As he tries to unravel the mystery of the list and the murders that follow, he meets a series of fascinating characters, including the enigmatic antique dealer, Zachariah Osborne (Sean Pertwee), and the mysterious and beautiful Hermia (Kaya Scodelario).

The series is set in the 1960s and takes place in a small village called Much Deeping, where the locals are all interconnected in one way or another. This creates a strong sense of community and a feeling that everyone knows everyone else’s business. It also adds to the sense of claustrophobia and isolation that pervades the show.

The pacing of “The Pale Horse” has been a major point of criticism for many viewers and critics. The series takes a long time to get going, with the first episode spending a lot of time setting up the world and characters. While this can be frustrating for those who are looking for a fast-paced mystery, it does allow for a deeper exploration of the characters and their motivations.

The second episode, however, is much more focused and action-packed. It is here that the mystery really begins to unravel, and the tension and suspense build to a satisfying conclusion. There are several twists and turns along the way, and the reveal of the killer is unexpected and satisfying.

The characters in “The Pale Horse” are well-drawn and complex, with each having their own motivations and secrets. Rufus Sewell gives a strong performance as Mark Easterbrook, who is a troubled and complex character. He is haunted by the death of his first wife, and this tragedy has left him emotionally distant and disconnected from those around him.

Kaya Scodelario is equally impressive as Hermia, a mysterious and beautiful woman who is hiding a dark secret. Her performance is understated but powerful, and she imbues her character with a sense of danger and unpredictability.

Sean Pertwee is also excellent as Zachariah Osborne, the enigmatic antique dealer who is one of the central figures in the mystery. He brings a sense of gravitas and menace to the role, and his scenes with Sewell are some of the strongest in the series.

The production values of “The Pale Horse” are excellent, with the series capturing the look and feel of the 1960s perfectly. The costumes, sets, and music all work together to create an immersive and authentic world. The cinematography is also impressive, with the show making great use of shadows and light to create an eerie and unsettling atmosphere.

“The Pale Horse” is a well-made and entertaining adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s lesser-known novels. While the pacing may be slow at times, the series rewards patient viewers with a complex and intriguing mystery. The performances are strong, the production values are excellent, and the overall atmosphere of the show is captivating. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or of mystery and suspense, “The Pale Horse” is well worth a watch, if you don’t mind that it has very little to do with its namesake novel.


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