The concept of twins being connected in a particular way is a trope that has been used several times in fiction. It creates a good frame for a story that can remain personal without having to be universal. Only twins really know how living in that condition affects their lives. Are they really connected? Can they really feel what each other is feeling? These are just some of the questions that arise when talking about the subject, and all of them are pretty fascinating.
Netflix is using that particular trope and turning it upside down with their new miniseries titled “Echoes” The show comes from the mind of Vanessa Gazy, and it has the producers of 13 Reasons Why behind it. The project comes at a time when Netflix is confident in creating miniseries more consistently. For a while, only serial content that was intended to last for countless years was produced, but now that Netflix needs to increase their quality output, miniseries seem to be a good choice. Short and to the point.
Echoes is written by Vanessa Gazy, and the show stars Michelle Monaghan, Matt Bomer, Danien Sunjata, Ali Stroker, Karen Robinson, and Rosanny Zayas. The miniseries tells us the story of Leni and Gina, two identical twins who have secretly swapped throughout their lives since they were children. Now, as adults, they keep swapping each year, so each one spends time with different husbands, friends, and even their own different children. When one of the twins disappears, the secret is at risk of falling apart, as well as their lives.
Echoes takes the concept of the twins and really takes it to its ultimate consequences, in the same way as films like “The Parent Trap” and the fantastic “Dead Ringers”. Echoes doesn’t go as far as Dead Ringers in creating a dark story, but it doesn’t put into consideration that maybe these twins were not as close as they thought they were. It is an excellent twist to the premise, and the rest of the show is basically us as audiences discovering exactly what is happening in these twins’ lives.
Monaghan has always been a welcome presence on screen. She has this innate quality to her that makes her likable right away. In this show, we have two of them, so when things start going not in her favor, the tension really goes to the highest levels. As a mystery, the miniseries really knows how to work its framework, and it becomes one of those shows that you just need to keep watching to see how it ends.
Visually, the miniseries doesn’t really push forward the medium in any way. It seems there isn’t any ambition in this department, and the show’s only standout is Monaghan in the lead role and the rest of the cast. When you hear the word “miniseries”, there is an expectation that this is going to be better than the standard TV series, so when the miniseries looks exactly like any other cable TV show, it really feels like a disappointment.
While the series’ visuals lean towards the boring side, the story itself is quite entertaining. It really demands that the audience be participants in the entire affair. Characters, clues, and many other details are key to understanding what really happened to one of these sisters. The plot moves at a very good pace, and each new episode brings new revelations. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, as each new revelation seems to complicate things more and more, but it is all part of the plan.
The plot progression will make you feel as anxious as if you were the person looking for their lost twin, but the story also takes moments to pause and reflect on whom these people are. The miniseries doesn’t really expect you to know exactly how twins work, or how they relate to each other. Or how, in the case of Leni and Gina, they can live with each other when they are exactly the same on the outside. As the series progresses, we really start learning who these people are and when were the moments when everything fell apart.
If there is another thing besides the visuals that might feel a bit lackluster, it is the duration of the miniseries. By the middle point, it feels like the story should be ending at any minute. You really just want this to end, but the miniseries has another four episodes in store just for you. Twists and turns are good, but they can also be overused at times. Maybe a shorter season could have been more potent and less overstuffed. The pacing is always good, but it is too much for a story that is supposed to end this season.
Echoes is a great mystery show. It gives a shining Michelle Monaghan in one of her best roles to date, and it also is just fun to watch and discover the mystery alongside our main character. It might not end up being the most memorable show on Netflix and everything is said and done, but it doesn’t have to. Not only that, but it really proves that Netflix can rely on shorter more powerful stories as a way to create demand than rely on shows that sometimes go for too long, and get canceled before we get the ending.