Netflix has made a mint on mystery series full of flat, uninteresting characters that are driven purely by plot and mid-tier actors who provide the sheen of prestige (see also Pieces of Her, Anatomy of a Scandal, The Weekend Away, several of the Harlen Coben series). These are some of my least favorite shows on Netflix because while I don’t really enjoy them, I can’t make myself turn them off, either. I may occasionally fast forward through some bloat, but I always swallow it all, like drinking a 2-liter bottle of Mt. Dew in one sitting: The first few drinks are great, but hell if it doesn’t leave you feeling gross, unsatisfied, and with half the tooth enamel that you started with.
Echoes, starring Michelle Monaghan, is the latest of these, and boy is it bad, and yes: I binged it all in two sittings because I hate myself.
Monaghan plays identical twins Gina and Leni. Gina is an author who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Charlie (Daniel Sunjata), and Leni lives in Echoes on a horse ranch with her husband, Jack (Matt Bomer). Got it? Because it’s about to get a lot more confusing. Because when Gina goes to visit Echoes, Leni is missing, only Leni is Gina. Gina (posing as Leni) is the one that’s actually missing, so Leni posing as Gina decides to pose as Leni again in order to find out what happened to Leni posing as Gina, only to find out that Gina posing as Leni is still alive. Gina posing as Leni left, for Leni posing as Gina, instructions to basically become Leni again. So, now Leni is Leni and Gina is Gina, only Gina wants to run off with her high-school boyfriend, Dylan (Jonathan Tucker), and leave Leni to figure out how to manage their failing horse ranch with Jack.
As it turns out, no one can tell them apart except for their late mother — who had cancer but was drowned in a bathtub by their father during a seriously violent assisted suicide — so Gina and Leni actually switch lives every year on their birthday. This is because Leni and Gina got pregnant at the same time. Gina lost the baby. Leni had post-partum depression, so Gina took over Leni’s life to raise the baby. Leni found a lot of joy in living in Gina’s Los Angeles life, only now Gina — posing as Leni — wants to leave Leni’s husband and run away with her (Gina) old boyfriend until Gina’s old boyfriend turns up dead, which revives an old case involving another dead guy and a church that burned down that Leni or Gina may have been responsible for, only the sheriff (Karen Robinson) cannot seem to pin a murder on either of them because no one can tell who is who.
All caught up?
Because the thing is, the two switch back and forth in order to frame the other for murder so many times that it’s almost impossible to tell who the hell is who at any given time. You know what Gina is supposed to look like — she has more eye make-up and wears her hair down — and you know what Leni is supposed to look like (her hair is pulled to the side and she speaks with a soft Southern lilt) but it’s almost impossible to tell who is embodying whom at any given time.
Maybe it almost doesn’t matter, either, because regardless of who is who, the important thing is that Spoiler Gina witnessed her father drown their mother when they were younger, and for whatever reason is branded the “bad girl” because of this. In reality, however, it’s Leni who is the controlling one. Leni is the one who set fire to the church because she was jealous of Gina’s relationship with Dylan; Leni is the one who murdered Dylan so that Gina couldn’t run away. Leni is the one who tries to frame Gina for the murder of Dylan, and it’s Leni who chases Gina into the woods and into the river, where Gina “leaps to her death” and Leni poses as someone else completely and runs away to escape charges. Only Gina is not actually dead, and months later, Gina and Leni are still playing switcheroo on Charlie, the therapist, who knew all along they were switching but stuck with it for “therapy” reasons but probably just because he liked to have sex with two people.
The point is, it’s a poorly written, terribly acted, confusing, and completely boneheaded series, but if any of this sounds intriguing, first of all: What’s wrong with you? And second, I guess Echoes is right up your alley. Enjoy!
Header Image Source: Netflix