Get out, before you’re me.Emma Appleton, Clique
Airs: Hulu (POP) | Dates Aired: 2017-2018 | Number of Seasons: 2
Clique follows Holly McStay, a freshman at the University of Edinburgh, as she and her best friend Georgia navigate the challenges of adapting a friendship to a college atmosphere. As Holly and Georgia are introduced to a woman in charge of a women’s internship program. As Georgia begins to fall in deeper with the women of the program, her behavior starts to change. Concerned for her friend, Holly begins to investigate, not seeming to realize that her questions are unwanted and have the potential to result in her death. In the aftermath of exploiting this internship program, Holly falls in with several conservative activists led by a charismatic boy named Jack Yorke. Holly begins to develop a romantic relationship with him, only to learn that he has sexually assaulted one of her best friends and is prone to blackouts. As Holly investigates the night of the alleged sexual assault, she struggles with whether to believe her friend as the evidence piles up against her.
If the summary of the show seemed extremely convoluted, that’s because the show itself was extremely convoluted. Don’t get me wrong, the show was entertaining if you could follow along. It definitely wasn’t a show that could be on in the background. While the seasons were relatively entertaining, they had little connection between the two aside from a couple overlapping characters. Holly, the main character, was obviously the character that overlapped the most. She is the one that solves all the mysteries and connects all the dots. Another character named Louise overlaps only to be barely important and the third character I will refrain from naming because it does spoil the first season.
The show had this kind of nonlinear storytelling quality that was rather entertaining to watch. In both seasons, the storyline starts with the climax and forces Holly and the other “main” characters to backtrack. They have to start at the end and work their way backwards in order to solve the mystery. This was probably the strongest part of the show in general. The show kept the audience guessing. For this to be a successful mystery, there had to be several red herrings which were sometimes done well and sometimes made to feel a little too obvious. The characters were constantly suspicious of each other which I suspect was done to give some leeway for any of the characters to have been the culprit or involved in the overarching scheme.
The storytelling is probably the strongest part of this show. The character development is just downright unbelievable. Holly, despite experiencing countless traumas and being forced to commit some horrible acts herself, always seems to bounce back. Initially, I thought that this was because she was portrayed as extremely resilient but as the show moved into season two, this concept of her being resilient seemed to discredit itself. I can’t really see how someone who watched many people be murdered could continue to function in such a high capacity without terrible mental repercussions. Aside from a poor portrayal of the stages of grief, there is never any closure with the characters. All the characters in season one just seem to disappear into oblivion and the audience is never given any closure. If this were meant to be an anthology series, I could accept the fact that the characters wouldn’t roll over into season two, but since there were a couple that did, not answering questions about the other characters made the show feel like it had too many loose ends. I would’ve liked to see one more episode in each season that dealt with the aftermaths of the end of the season. I believe that it was written to just contain the events and shock the audience. If there is an aftermath, the events seem more real. But, this show did want to tackle some tough and very real topics in an overly dramatized fashion, so the fact that there is only an afterthought spared to the lives of the characters past the climax does contradict the discussion of very valid topics.
This show had the potential to be great. The storylines are engaging and the characters had the potential to be written in a very humanlike way. However, convoluted storytelling and poor character development just caused the show to lose all credibility. The themes that the show attempts to discuss are extremely valid and had they been done in a much more compact way, the show would’ve been a true hit. I recommend this show if you really have nothing else to watch but want something that keeps you guessing; this show is fine.