The highly anticipated web series, Swerve, from Skeleton Key Films debuted last night after a long teasing process from writer and director, Jason Armstrong. The series stars Emily Alatalo, Sharon Belle, Kat Inokai, Mike Klassen and Jason Leighfield and fans were not disappointed.
The first episode, "Chapter One: No Small Talk," opened with a monologue from Elise (Belle) talking about the word swerve. Its meaning and how it relates to her life. We learn two things about Elise, she's morbid as hell and she's been known to self-sabotage, which she doesn't deny. Her definition of the swerve? Her habitual action of jerking the wheel whenever something good is going on in her life. I thought this was interesting that we learn Elise's take on the word swerve and I wonder if we'll get similar monologues from the other two leads as well.
We focus back on Elise and her mundane job working at the Yates Motel, which in exchange for work gives her food and roof but she's honestly over it if you couldn't tell by her well graffiti'd goodbye message.
We fade to black and cut to who we only assume is Koppen (Leighfield), talking on the phone repeating some very...peculiar and alarming words. "Don't want it to be too messy," "You don't want her to see it coming," and "You want it to look like an accident." So hit man? Hit man. The nonchalant man ends the call, gathers his belongings into a creepy looking bin with a smiley face on it and exits...Showing a very dead man, Darby (Klassen), who I personally hope we learn more about later.
We jump back to Elise walking down the street before calling it quits and plopping down on the curb at night, totally safe. She looks exhausted and you can't help but wonder if she's regretting her decision to swerve. Suddenly a car pulls up with a woman asking Elise if she's okay. Turns out Elise has been trying to hitch a ride for about three hours and this woman who we learn is named Jen (Inokai) is the first person to stop for her. Elise accepts the ride and our adventure begins.
My assumption that Elise has some baggage is solidified after her conversation in the car with Jen. While most would probably try to make some sort of good impression, she jumps right into how much she hates her routine, hates feeling dead inside and is in search of, "the ghost of me." Well then! You'd think someone would freak out after hearing comments like that but Jen did stop to pick her up after all, she shrugs it off and the two agree no small talk, just real conversation.
It's Jen's turn to unveil some of her baggage. She's running, that much is clear but from what remains to be unknown. She talks about her unhappy career, her unhappy engagement and her unfortunate situation of being barren. She talks about how her ex went off and screwed some 22-year-old, not that she's bitter or anything, but hey, she rented a cottage off the French River and here she is. And just a fun fact, the cast and crew filmed in said cottage without running water or electricity!
While the two are both settling in with the weight of disclosing some very personal information to each other, they do agree on one thing, time is all they have and there's no better way to enjoy it than in the moment. But here's probably the creepiest line of the episode, "Time is just something we invented to tell us when to eat, sleep and die."
It's daylight when the two pull up to the newly built cottage. We learn that Jen used to visit as a child with her grandparents. Cue another creepy moment in which Elise says, "Some places just feel sacred." I love this scene. Elise moves up to enjoy the slight breeze, eyes closed as she takes in the moment. Meanwhile, Jen stands back admiring the cottage, basking in nostalgia from her childhood. She moves up and agrees with Elise, it's definitely a sacred place and jokingly nudges her saying it's a good place to find those ghosts of hers. Oh, Jen!
The cottage is small, and by small I mean there's bunk beds, to which Jen asks, "What bed do you want?" She's adorable as she tells Elise she wants her to say stating, "You are the salve to the wound of my loneliness." Which...Well, take that as you'd like. She's got some baggage and I'm honestly excited to see how this unfolds.
The girls head outside to check out the view and instead find a woman (Alatalo) who we have yet to learn the name of, casually soaking up some rays. Jen goes over to catch her attention and is instead finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun as the woman pulls a fast one on her. What the fuck indeed. The episode closes on quite the cliffhanger which we learned from Armstrong during last night's live chat that viewers better buckle in because all five episodes end the same way. The momentum has everyone excited for more and the excellent music selection only adds to that.