Reprisal Review: Abigail Spencer is a Woman Scorned in Hulu's Atmospheric Thriller

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Reprisal is an atmospheric tale of revenge. 

With Abigail Spencer (Timeless, Rectify) at the wheel, the story focuses on a woman who embarks on a vengeful campaign against the gang who left her for dead. 

The only negative is that you would think the people who left her for dead would, you know, check that she was actually dead. 

Reprisal Premiere Photo

They would have saved a whole lot of trouble, but at least we get to see this revenge mission through the eyes of a multi-layered female who goes by the motto that revenge is a dish best served cold. 

It's a different role for Spencer to work with. One minute her complicated character could be a loving wife you wouldn't think would turn to a world of violence. The next, well, let's just say you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of Doris Quinn. 

Abigail Spencer as Katherine Harlowe

The role further proves that Spencer is one of the most versatile actresses on the small screen, and it helps to distance her from her fun-loving characters on the likes of Timeless and Suits. 

This is Abigail Spencer like you've never seen before, and it only makes me yearn for her to play more vengeance-seeking characters. 

Don't get me wrong, Katherine/Doris is not purposefully evil. She's a victim of the past, and who wouldn't want to dole out some sweet revenge on the people who left you for dead? 

Hulu provided all ten episodes to critics in advance of the premiere, and the storyline moves at a brisk pace throughout. One of the biggest surprises is that it plays out as more of an ensemble show. 

Mena Massoud on Reprisal

That's not a bad thing. The cast also includes Mena Massoud (Aladdin), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood), Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), and Madison Davenport (Sharp Objects). 

Massoud is coming off the success of Aladdin, and the character of Ethan provides a different direction for him. Ethan arrives in town, desperate and looking for a place to belong. 

Like most characters who aren't one-dimensional on TV, Ethan has a past. He's running from something, and that puts him in the orbit of some people he should probably avoid. 

One of the strongest things Reprisal has going for it is that it fleshes out its characters. By the end of the 10 episodes, I was satisfied that we had spent the right amount of time with them. 

Madison Davenport on Reprisal

That even extends to the villains. It takes a certain talent from writers and actors to make viewers care for the villains. There's nothing worse than watching something when you can't connect with the villains. 

There are many of them on Reprisal, so if you don't like one villain, then just wait a few scenes for another to pop up. 

There's an immediate connection between Ethan and Davenport's Meredith. As Meredith, Davenport, once again, brings her A-game as she plays a young woman struggling to come to terms with her past, while simultaneously trying to exist in a world that is so deeply rooted in violence. 

The connection between Ethan and Meredith burns bright, and the people who cast Massoud and Davenport in their respective roles are geniuses. 

A Performance on Reprisal

Even before their first scene talking, there are hints of them being naturally drawn together in passing. When they pass each other at the bar, the chemistry is just there. 

That's another thing tough to take seriously on many shows. If actors don't have chemistry, then viewers won't be able to connect with the storyline they're working with. 

There's even simmering tensions between rival gangs thrown in that will give you all those Sons of Anarchy vibes, but Reprisal is considerably more tame than that show. 

Yes, there are some shocking moments, some that are graphic, but they pale in comparison to Sons of Anarchy. 

Killing Time on Reprisal

In all honesty, the series feels like it has taken the best parts of Kill Bill, Sons of Anarchy, and Revenge and blended it into one fine show. 

That's not a bad thing. If there's one show I'll be recommending to everyone over the next few months, it's Reprisal. 

There's a sense of doom throughout the ten-part first season, and that's because it's difficult to assess where allegiances truly lie, and when characters come together, that's when the fireworks start. 

All of this is backed up by some beautiful cinematography that will leave you in awe. 

If you're a fan of gritty tales of revenge with excellent acting, writing, and everything in between, then Reprisal is the show you should binge all the way through. 

Abigail Spencer as Doris

Be warned, there is a lot of violence, but that's to be expected in a show with simmering tensions between different groups. 

If you know going into the show what it's supposed to be, then you will find a lot to like. For those who are not a fan of violence, then you should probably look elsewhere

Whether the show will continue or not, there is scope for a second season, and there are a lot of directions a potential sophomore run could go in. 

What about you, TV Fanatics. 

Will you give Reprisal a shot? 

All 10 episodes will be available to stream Friday, December 6, on Hulu. 


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Hulu Quotes

Nico: I was actually scared of that Staff.
Karolina: Maybe your darkness is you. Your power. Like, how my light is for me.

Victor: It’s your future.
[The wall opens to reveal Command Central]
Victor: Everything we’ve built is for the next generation. For you.
Janet: It’s your birthright.
Chase: I told you, I don’t want anything to do with PRIDE.
Catherine: It’s true, we have done many things that we’re not proud of.
Robert: Under duress from Jonah.
Tina: And nothing we say or do will bring those kids back.
Stacey: We’ve all done a lot wrong, but we did one thing right: you kids.
Dale: Well, and a genetically engineered dieinonychus, just to say it.
Catherine: You can use PRIDE’s resources to make up for what we have done.
Geoffrey: Think of it. With all this money, tech, power, you could change the world.
Chase: And I’m supposed to believe that, what, you’re all just gonna walk away from this?