By Dave B.
In Amazon Prime’s Undone, 28-year-old Alma is living a mundane life in San Antonio, Texas when, after an argument with her sister, she gets into a car accident. This accident changes the course of her life forever, as she discovers that she has the ability to manipulate time and space. Guided by her dead father, she seeks to uncover the mystery behind his death and prevent it. Ultimately, she must face the question of whether she is a powerful shaman or is suffering from psychotic delusions.
The first word that comes to mind when trying to describe Undone is…AMAZING! Visually, it’s a wonder, primarily relying upon rotoscope animation to create a world where the real and the unreal blend together seamlessly. Conceptually, the show is fascinating, looking at the issue of mental illness through a non-western lens, while simultaneously plausibly portraying the struggles of a very damaged family. The eight, 22 minute episodes are the perfect length: long enough that they’re engrossing, but short enough that audiences are left craving more. Undone excels in storytelling, visuals, and emotional impact.
I can see how some people will take issue with Undone’s portrayal of mental illness. But I would remind viewers that a lot of how we view various psychological and physiological conditions is shaped by our culture and not every culture views those who see or hear things that others can’t in a negative light. Despite the individuality that is often touted as a defining feature of Western culture, there is also a strong tendency for that individuality to only be appreciated so long as it falls into certain accepted guidelines and anyone outside of those guidelines risks being feared, reviled, or pitied. Undone shows that that is NOT the only way that outsiders, the marginalized, and yes, even the mentally ill, have to be treated and I give the show’s creators a big round of applause for that.
All told, Undone is my favorite show of the year, thus far. The sole reason that I’m not giving it a perfect score is that the end of the season finale enraged me so badly that I had a headache for about two hours. That said, I highly recommend this show for all viewers (well, at least those over the age of 16 or so. It may be animated, but it isn’t for all ages). Undone provides a valuable perspective and it’s enthralling to the point of being addictive. I’ll be thinking about this show for weeks and if you give it a chance, you will be too.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.