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Fatal Attraction – Pilot: A Slow-Burning Start to a Tale of Deceit and Obsession

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Episode 1 of "Fatal Attraction" sets the stage, introducing Dan Gallagher, his family, and the enigmatic Alex Forrest, foreshadowing the impending dangerous affair.

Paramount+’s “Fatal Attraction” reboot attempts to revive the iconic 1987 film with a modern twist. The series, created by Alexandra Cunningham and Kevin J. Hynes, introduces us to a more detailed world, diving deeper into the lives of its characters. Episode 1 – Pilot – sets the stage for the story, although it struggles with pacing and capturing the audience’s attention.

Plot Summary

Joshua Jackson as Dan Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Joshua Jackson as Dan Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

Episode 1 opens in present-day Los Angeles with Dan Gallagher (Joshua Jackson), a once-prominent district attorney, now frazzled and bearded, pleading for parole after serving 15 years for killing Alex (Lizzy Caplan).

Alyssa Jirrels in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Alyssa Jirrels in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

His estranged daughter, Ellen (Alyssa Jirrels), listens to his confession, intrigued since he has always maintained his innocence. Just as suddenly as the audience gathers their bearings, the series catapults back to 2008.

Joshua Jackson as Dan Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Joshua Jackson as Dan Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

We meet a clean-shaven Dan, head of major crimes, turning 40 and slated for a big promotion.

Vivien Lyra Blair as Young Ellen Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Vivien Lyra Blair as Young Ellen Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

With a young daughter (Vivien Lyra Blair) and a devoted wife, Beth (Amanda Peet), at home, Dan seemingly has a perfect life. However, as powerful men tend to do when they have everything they want, Dan begins to self-sabotage.

Amanda Peet as Beth Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Amanda Peet as Beth Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

Alex, a victim’s advocate assigned to one of Dan’s cases, comes waltzing into his life, providing the temptation and distraction that he’s been looking for. Episode 1 focuses on establishing the characters, their relationships, and the foundation for the upcoming events. However, the pacing feels sluggish, taking too long to introduce the main plot point, the affair between Dan and Alex.

Characterization:

The first episode spends considerable time building Dan’s character as a privileged man with a perfect life, who is prone to self-destructive behavior.

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Amanda Peet as Beth Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Amanda Peet as Beth Gallagher in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

Beth, Dan’s wife, is introduced as a supportive and loving partner, completely unaware of her husband’s darker side.

Lizzy Caplan as Alex Forrest in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction
Lizzy Caplan as Alex Forrest in S01E01 of Fatal Attraction

Alex’s character is only briefly touched upon in this episode, leaving the audience craving more information about her motivations and backstory.

Pacing and Structure:

The pacing in Episode 1 is slow, and it takes too long to reach the central plot. The story flits without warning between the past and the present, which can be disorienting and makes it hard to get invested in the characters. The episode lacks the urgency and intrigue that fans of the original film might expect.

Direction and Cinematography:

The direction in Episode 1 is competent, but it struggles to capture the tension and suspense that the original movie was known for. The cinematography is polished, but it doesn’t quite manage to create the gritty atmosphere that the New York setting of the original film provided.

Conclusion:

While “Fatal Attraction” Episode 1 establishes the characters and setting for the series, it falls short in terms of pacing and capturing the audience’s attention. The slow start may be off-putting for some viewers, but it sets the stage for a more intricate narrative to unfold. Fans of the original film might find this episode lacking in suspense, but those willing to stick with the series may be rewarded with a deeper exploration of the characters and themes in the subsequent episodes.

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