Binge Or Purge: The Rain
Netflix has been investing heavily in the post apocalypse with notable feature films such as Extinction and How It Ends getting some mixed reviews. Here’s hoping Netflix latest series adds some life to the genre.
The Rain is certainly YA post apocalypse fare, and from the opening moments you’ll recognize many of the same themes that are commonplace in these films. The Rain embraces them tightly. If you’re not into watching humanity fall and survivors struggling through their new reality, this series probably isn’t for you.
However if you do enjoy yourself a good apocalypse the Rain wastes no time in sucking you in to its world; the series throws you into the unfolding chaos around its central figures with no time devoted to their backstory or an explanation of what is happening. Its initial mystery and the frenetic pace of the series premiere got me interested enough to at least take it on a 3 episode Binge Or Purge.
When a virus transported by the rain starts killing almost all humans in Scandinavia, Danish siblings Simone (Alba August) and Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen) are rushed to a bunker by their father to take shelter. Six years later, running out of supplies and the bunker failing they leave to search for their father, a scientist who had left them with a promise but never returned. Along the way they join a group of young survivors and together they travel across Denmark and Sweden, searching for a safe place, and for the siblings’ father, who may be able to provide the answers and the cure.
The Rain Episode 1: Stay Inside
The series’ first episode “Stay Inside” starts before the rain, which we soon learn carries a deadly virus, has started to fall. Simone is rushing to class late for a final exam with her peers when her father shows up agitated and frantic, dragging Simone away. He warns the other students that they need to go home and stay inside.
This cuts to Simone’s father driving frantically with her brother and mother in tow with storm clouds ominously in the horizon. Simone’s father try’s to explain that the rain is dangerous, but Rasmus, Simone’s younger brother fusses with his seat belt causing an accident.
The family abandons the car and runs to a nearby bunker, escaping the rain. Simone’s father promptly leaves. He claims he is the only one that can save the world but tells Simone she is to keep Rasmus safe…foreshadowing that there is something very important about her younger brother.
We are then given a montage of sorts of their lives before a time jump to six years later where food supplies are low and they must venture out of the safety of their bunker. There they encounter a group of survivors.
Stay Inside delivers the usual tropes of the genre: utilizing flashbacks to fill in plot-holes and create intrigue, dimly lit sets to convey despair, and rapid escalation of events. It is done well and has a great pacing that had me clicking “next episode”.
The Rain Episode 2: Stay Together
The second episode of The Rain kicks off with a flashback of a soldiers tasked to stand guard and use deadly force if anyone tries to pass the checkpoint. You know how this will end…
Simone gets the attention of a woman named Beatrice who tells her they are searching for food. Martin, the leader, orders everyone to move on and to leave Simone and Rasmus locked up. This cause a bit of an argument between Beatrice and Martin. Frantic and desperate, Simone gets Martin’s attention. She tells him there are other bunkers with food and shows him a map of them on a tablet.
Martin obviously wants the map but before he can really see it, Simone smashes the tablet. Leaving the group of hungry survivors no choice but to take Simone and Rasmus with them.
In another flashback, we see Martin alone on duty guarding the bridge against the infected. He is alone and a woman with a baby approaches, Martin cannot bring himself to kill the woman and her child. After she passes he then begins to hear cries for help over his radio. The woman walked into the soldiers’ camp, and by the time he gets there, she had infected and killed everyone.
This paint’s the picture for Martin, who later in the episode doesn’t hesitate to kill an infected as the group travels to another bunker. After years of dealing with the virus and seeing everyone around them die, Martin is not willing to take any risks when it comes to people’s exposure to the water.
The group finally reaches the other bunker, where they’re thrilled to find a fully stocked pantry.
To her surprise, while looking around the new bunker, Simone finds her father’s still-charged mobile phone. There’s a video message on it from her father’s boss telling him he must get to Apollon’s headquarters in Sweden.
This was a bit weird for me, who leaves their phone behind? This episode establishes how much society has broken down since The Rain has begun and the moral dilemmas the group must face.
The Rain Episode 3: Avoid the City
Avoid the City begins with another flashback. Martin and Patrick are chasing the other three members, Beatrice, Lea, and Jean. This is when they all first met and things don’t look like they are going to go swimmingly for Bea and co.
Martin and Patrick plan to rob them, knowing what they want, Beatrice says she and her companions aren’t carrying any food and begins to seduce Martin (by seduce I mean she has sex with him and says her companions are staying.) Well I guess if you spent the apocalypse and what could possibly be your final days with just Patrick for companionship , I wouldn’t judge.
Meanwhile back in the present Simone and the gang plan on how to reach her father at Apollon headquarters because of course after six years where she hasn’t seen or heard from him he must be there and have the cure. Yes, Simone, he has just been waiting for you to show up to save the world!
Anyhow they plan out a route that is Incredibly dangerous, they must go through a city that contains the lone bridge left as the others were destroyed to contain the virus (never mind the virus is spread through the freaking rain), Martin warns to avoid all people as they are starving and will kill for food.
Guess what happens?
Sure as shit Simone gets involved with a father and child and gives them food – I assume to highlight her naivety and compassion, however two seconds after what could have been a heart warming segment the father and son run out in the freaking middle of the street and start eating the food in plain sight. It’s worth repeating that everyone in this town is starving.
Promptly father and son get mauled and wastes the previous ten minutes of storytelling. This sets off a series of predictable events that have the gang heading to next bunker…
Binge Or Purge?
I can go either way with this series. It is fairly well done and polished, from a technical aspect. From the cinematography to the acting it was pretty decent. The Rain manages to checks all the boxes in the post apocalypse genre, but I can’t help but I feel like I’ve been there and done that one too many times.
The Rain had a great concept with the bunker, reminiscent of 10 Cloverfield Lane, and the time jump where our protagonists aged six years is interesting; the first episode really grabs you. This could have opened up many possibilities in the narrative, something unique to set itself apart from the genre. However by episode 3 it becomes clear that the Rain is just going to play it safe and stick to the PA/YA formula.
If you are a Post apocalypse junky or a fan of young adult fiction The Rain brings enough to the table to make it worth a look, and you will probably feel mildly satisfied. The short comings of the script and the absolute absence of anything unique to the story makes it sadly forgettable.
Final Verdict: Purge.