‘The Rook’ 1×01 Review: The Mystery of Myfanwy, Disabled Representation, and The Gestalt

One episode in and I’m already hooked on The Rook. I know, sounds cheesy and like every other review raving about a brand new show. But it’s true. I love The Rook. I love Myfanwy and the mystery surrounding her stolen memories. I love Ingrid Woohouse and what that means for representation on this show. I even love the Gestalt and they are the creepiest of everyone on this show. And I love them all and can’t wait to see what Starz The Rook does with Daniel O’Malley’s book. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the premiere episode of The Rook!

The Mysterious Case of Myfanwy

Starz

I want to start off this section by saying how much I love Myfanwy and the work that Emma Greenwell is doing to bring her to life. It’s big shoes to fill and she’s doing a brilliant job at bringing the desperation, confusion, and courage of someone like Myfanwy to our screens. Because that’s what she is, brave AF in the midst of her world being turned upside down and her waking up surrounded by dead men in blue gloves.

Right now, I want to know everything about Myfanwy. I want to know why she’s a control freak, why she has a secret room where she suspects the people that work with her to be the ones to attack her, and why people are after her powers. It’s obvious that these powers aren’t public knowledge. So, how did they find out about Myfanwy? What organization would dare attack her on English soil? And what did they think they were going to gain by erasing her memories.

Basically, episode one of The Rook has left me baffled, interested, and so on board for every crazy ups and downs that are coming my way. And while a lot of this intrigue by me is due in part to Emma Greenwell and the writers of The Rook, we need to talk about Kari Skogland and the way that she brought this chapter of The Rook to life.

You can tell when a woman is behind the helm of something. And I don’t think it really really hit me in this episode until Myfanwy was getting undressed and laying upon all that ice. Any other time I’ve seen something like this happening, it’s been sexy. Sure, Myfanwy is injured, but some other director (particularly a male one) would see it as an opportunity to have long sweeping shots of her naked body because sex sells, right? Wrong. Myfanwy is hurt and this director has no time for sexy shots while our lead is hurt.

Keeping that in mind, watch this episode of The Rook again. See how Kari Skogland made us feel and empathize with Myfanwy through the lenses of her vision. See how she brought out Myfanwy’s strength, resilience, and poise. It’s all there. And the fact that this show has over half of their episodes directed by women, leads me to believe that The Rook cares about telling women stories and I can’t wait to see more of it in The Rook!

We Need to Talk About Ingrid

Starz

Representation matters. And even though I am not a disabled individual, I can see and understand the importance of having someone like Ingrid Woodhouse, played by Ruth Madeley, on my screen. She is representation. (As far as I can tell she is an ACTUAL wheelchair using individual.) She is someone seeing themselves on screen for the first time. She is change. And I fucking love it!

From what I could tell from internet sleuthing, because I haven’t read the book yet, Ingrid was a tall, elegant, and slim looking woman. She wasn’t someone in a wheelchair and The Rook’s decision to make it so Ingrid’s character would be disabled is a positive thing. Why? Because disabled people are just like everyone else. They go to work, they keep shit running, and they deal with the same shit we all do. And again, I fucking love that Starz made this change to Ingrid’s character.

Here’s to hoping that The Rook develops Ingrid’s character in such a manner where she isn’t a wallflower or someone that fades away because able bodied individuals are around. Her story is just as important as everyone else’s and from where I’m standing, she keeps this ship sailing. That right there leads me to believe that we’ll see more of Ingrid, besides her being Myfanwy’s assistant. And I’m here for it!

I Wouldn’t Trust the Gestalt As Far As I Can Through Them

Starz

There’s something about the Gestalt that creeps me the hell out. I’ve never really dealt with a hive mind like this unless it’s some crazy alien story or the triplets over on The Gifted. But the Gestalt, they’re different. They are one person. And no matter what they show the outside world, the individual characteristics, style of clothes, or mannerisms…they are one person. And that’s creepy AF.

I find myself asking, “What’s their endgame? Why are they playing their version of normal? And what the hell happened between that cute Gestalt man and Myfanwy?” Maybe they had a fling? Maybe Myfanwy was used by the Gestalt for information and the way they did it was by pretending that Robert Gestalt was into her? Whatever it is that they’ve done or that they’re going to do, I’m ready to know more.

Jon Fletcher, Ronan Raftery, and Catherine Steadman, the actors who play the Gestalt, are doing an amazing job. They are equal parts creepy (I’m looking at you guys speaking at the same time flawlessly) and intriguing AF. It isn’t just because they have shockingly white hair either. The way that these actors play off each other and work as one is astounding and the right amount of creepy that I’d love to see more of.

The Rook airs Sundays on Starz.

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