Reason: A multi-generational, coming-of-age love story disguised as a fast-paced mystery about the disappointment of the times. An anniversary trip puts a marriage to the test when the couple find themselves embroiled in one of the Yucatan’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries that took place fifteen years earlier.
Review: Watch the trailer the resort, I expected this to be the first of many holiday-themed comedy dramas that tried to piggyback on the success of The white lotus. While there are some similarities between this series and the HBO hit from last year, there is a lot more going on The resort than you see in the trailers. With a large ensemble of talent, The resort takes you on a journey unlike any vacation you’ve ever taken. With a quirky sense of humor and some thought-provoking twists, The Resort is a show that will have audiences buzzing as soon as they finish the first episode thanks to a combination of mystery, humor and just plain surreal storytelling.
Without spoiling the core of the series, The resort starts with a focus on the married couple Noah and Emma. On vacation to celebrate their ten-year anniversary, Noah (William Jackson Harper) and Emma (Cristin Milioti) enter a stagnant phase in their relationship. With romance lukewarm and intimacy more along the lines of friends than lovers, Emma is desperate for a rush of adrenaline to make her feel alive. While participating in the various resort activities, she stumbles across an old cell phone that belonged to Sam Knowlston (Skyler Gisondo), who disappeared fifteen years earlier with Violet Thompson (Nina Bloomgarden). Now armed with a singular goal, Emma enlists Noah to try and figure out the disappearance of the two young people, which have never been solved.
Over the course of the eight-episode season, The resort switches back and forth from present day to 2007 to tell us the parallel stories of Noah and Emma as well as Sam and Violet. We are introduced to many characters, including Sam’s parents Carl and Jan (played by real-life couple Dylan and Becky Ann Baker), Sam’s girlfriend Hanna (Debby Ryan), the couple Ted (Parvesh Cheena) and Ted (Michael Hitchcock), Violet’s father Murray ( Nick Offerman) and resort concierge Luna (Gabriela Cartol), resort detective Baltasar Frias (Luis Gerardo Mendez) and resort owner Alex (Ben Sinclair). Each time period offers more clues as to what could have caused Sam and Violet to disappear, as well as potential suspects that may have led to a more sinister fate.
Before you say this sounds like a tropical version of Only murder in the building, I’d say you’re not entirely wrong. The popularity of true crime has certainly influenced this series, but The Resort weaves this mystery in such a way that small odd inclusions and strange statements by characters change the course of the narrative. Halfway through the season there is a major twist that completely changed my perspective on this show and made me love it even more. The strangeness of this narrative is anchored by excellent performances all around, especially by Harper and Milioti. Both actors make a really compelling pair, but also manage to play their roles quite differently from the more famous parts they’ve been associated with. Gisondo and Bloomgarden are also pretty good, but this series is a good showcase for Mendez and Cartol. The least known faces of this series, Mendez and Cartol, are on screen more than anyone else thanks to appearing in both present-day and flashback stories.
Created by Andy Siara, The resort has much in common with his previous projects Lodge 49 and indie hit Palm Springs. Siara manages to mix the weird and the realistic in such a way that it never feels fake, but also makes you question what the hell is going on (in a good way). Ciara joined The resort with producer Sam Esmail, no stranger to telling uniquely weird stories. The resort also benefits from co-star Ben Sinclair also stepping down as director, a role he’s done well on the HBO anthology series High maintenance. Together, this creative team makes great use of the half-hour runtime rather than the more predictable hour-long episodes commonly seen with more dramatic fare. There’s also a high level of production value here, benefiting from a tropical location showcased very differently than you’ve likely seen before.
What I like best about it The resort is that it plays with your expectations of what a comedy or drama should be. It finds humor in a natural way rather than feeling like a comedy, but also works very well as a traditional mystery. But there’s nothing really conventional about this story, as each subsequent episode adds more and more to the mix, resulting in a finale that will have you going back to the beginning and searching for the clues to how this puzzle fits together so well. I really enjoyed seeing this entire cast on the case with the various character pairings exuding chemistry that makes this journey feel more like an adventure than a vacation. Hopefully Peacock will have a hit with this series as I would definitely take this trip over and over again with all new characters or to see these faces a second time.
The resort premiered on July 28 at the Peacock.