My wife hates Kristen Bell.
Well, not the person herself, of course. But the characters that Bell usually plays. My wife has never been able to forget Sarah Marshall, or any of the other semi-cruel bimbettes that Bell has used to make her career.
But even my wife likes her in this role: Anna is a grieving mother so distraught and strung out on medication and wine that reality and fantasy have blended so much as to be indistinguishable.
Throughout this limited series, you, the audience, truly do not know all that is fantasy and all that is reality. Some things are obvious: her dead child, seen speaking to her, and then her daydream fantasies of the new neighbor. Yet, there are other aspects that surely must be fantasy, but which are passed off as reality, such as the handyman who is working on the same mailbox for three consecutive days.
Or the ridiculous story of how her daughter died. So ridiculous that it seems like something she created in her fantasy world, until the same story is corroborated by another character.
Which then makes the death rather cruel. And stupid:
[SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD]
So, she says that her daughter was killed and eaten by a cannibalistic mass murderer three years before.
Seems ridiculous, until her ex-husband reiterates the story, as does the detective who is investigating Anna's claim that there has been a murder across the street. That should have been my first clue into how disturbing this show was going to be: a child eaten while her dad had just stepped out of the room? Seriously? That seems way beyond the pale.
But then, it all became clear on the last episode, when the killer turns out to be the little girl across the street. Half that episode is a ridiculous fight scene between Anna and the 9 year old, that went on so long and so comically that it seemed a little stomach churning.
What really was infuriating was reading one article in which the writers of the show dared to say that the made the kid the killer "because it's never been done before."
BALDERDASH! They got this kid-as-killer from Glenn Close's 2017 film "Crooked House" (great movie BTW) ... the same Glenn Close that the same writers in the same article said they desperate wanted (and finally got) as a cameo in the final scene of the last episode. So, a) they are fans of Close, ergo b) they would have been familiar with her work, including a movie with child-as-killer, and c) so they can NOT say that they did this because "it's never been done before"
What saddens me is the thought that the innocent-child-as-killer will soon become the next new trope in movies. I mean, culturally speaking, we already have the complete breakdown of all norms, and children are committing loathsome murders because human beings are become more cruel, savage, and murderous as a whole, but I despair that now we are going to popularize yet another depravity.
Or maybe I'm just getting old. Hey! It's the new thing! A nine year old murders Mommy because Mommy was pregnant and 9 didn't want a sibling. HAHA! That's SOOOO FUNNEEE!!! TEE HEE!
It's fkn disgusting.
Terrible way to end the series, and if they were going to do that, at least they should have done it with the panache of Crooked House (which was extremely well-done).
And lastly, I have to say, that no matter if this becomes a new movie trope or not, no one will ever top Ray Bradbury's 1946 short story "The Small Assassin." Now THERE'S a child-as-killer story that will stop your heart!