Tiny Pretty Things is now available on Netflix! You have already enjoyed the show and we know that you devoured the entire season during the night and need more. Fangirlish has your back covered and here is our Tiny Pretty Things season 1 review. Welcome to the Archer School of Ballet!
Here we go!
PRETTY AND CRUEL
What happens when the spotlights go out, the curtain closes and the applause disappears? Tiny Pretty Things gives us an answer to this. What happens is a world of secrets, lies, betrayals and drama. Anything goes to get or keep a leading role. That includes betraying your friends, or yourself.
Cassie’s push into the void is the starting point of the story. That gives Neveah a second chance to go to Archer although Madame Monique Dubois, aka Madame, doesn’t like this new student very much, because she feels that she cannot control her like the others. And she is absolutely right.
Neveah is the new young promise of the academy, that is her dream, but she is not willing to give up her principles to achieve it. On the contrary, she tries to make the rest of the students, used to Madame’s iron direction and the insult and mistreatment of Ramon – the great choreographer who promises to lead them to stardom – fight for their rights. That is why we love her.
However, nothing is that easy. Everyone knows that if they face the academy and Madame they will end their career before it start. So they resist doing it. Because everyone wants to have a role in Ramon’s new play. At all costs. So much so that Bette, for example, ends up locking up her best friend, preventing her from getting the leading role she has always longed for, or other students end up taking drugs just to hang on.
Anything goes to make it through another day at Archer School. Anything goes to get or stay at a leading role. Anything goes to fly and feel the spotlight above you, the applause directed at you and the devotion of the public. Even if that means that when everything disappears … you find yourself alone.
The good thing about this show is that you try, you really try to hate the characters … but you can’t because in the end you understand them, even in part. At first I hated Bette for being so … mean with Neveah and the world in general and, above all, for what she did to June and Nabil, knowing how important it was for her to get that role. But then I just looked at her, I really looked at Bette and I saw her, I understood her.
Like June, she has a mother who is not worthy of the name. She only cares about the prestige of her family and that her daughter gets the main role, no matter how. Bette grew up in the shadow of her sister Delia and as a zero to the left to her own family.
She needed that role to impress her family but, above all, to prove to herself that she was as good as her sister. That is why she decided to destroy her foot and not stop taking amphetamines, because she saw no other way out. That doesn’t excuse what she did to June and Nabil, but I understand her.
Same with June, she drugged Cassie and that was a big mistake, but I understand why. I mean, we know her mother, right? She does not take her daughter’s vocation seriously and only cares about seeing her shine to the point that it’s not enough that she is happy with what she does.
So yes, you try to hate them for what they do, for what they say, for the mistakes they make but you just can’t because you put yourself in their shoes and you understand them, you really understand them and you even identify with them. Who has not felt that pressure before? Who has not made a fatal mistake? Who does not keep secrets?
As we have said, in this show mothers are complicated … very complicated. June’s mother and Bette’s have in common the little respect and love they show their daughters. At first, you may think that they don’t love them.
And I still hold that opinion about Bette’s mother but June’s began to redeem herself in my eyes towards the end of the season. Bette’s mother proved that she did not care at all and that only her daughter Delia and the prestige of her family mattered. That’s why I applauded Bette for moving in with her mother-in-law, a true mother who loves her more than her entire family put together.
However, June’s mother, despite having always despised her daughter’s vocation, managed to begin to realize her mistakes. Begin to value her daughter for who she is, not who she wants her to be. And she supported her, feeling proud of her. And she did so because she saw a force in her that reminded her of herself. That last scene where they hug each other for the first time in what seems like eons … it’s a scene of reunion and new beginnings.
On the other hand, Bette’s mother does not change her starting position at all. For her, Bette is a constant disappointment and never values her for who she is, or even loves her like a mother to a daughter. She is simply an instrument to achieve her ends and, when she does not serve her, she simply discards her, like a broken toy that is not worth looking at.
In other words, she let Bette bear the blame for her other daughter’s attempted murder. The two of them, both Delia and her mother, can make whatever excuses they want, that’s very screwed up and they deserve that for Better to never look at them again. Too bad that in the end, for Bette, the need for her family to accept her, the need for them to love her, takes over.
That’s why I was so proud of Bette when she goes to live with her mother-in-law and her new boyfriend because she finally takes control of her life and goes to live with someone who truly loves her.
As for Neveah and her mother, things are different here. And I have to say that this is the first time that I disagree with Neveah and I think she was excessively harsh on her mother. That pig hit her, day in and day out and she put up with it and then he wanted to hit, he wanted to harm … and she did not allow it. It was self defense. She stood up for her son and yes, she did kill someone, but it was not cold-blooded murder.
And yes, what happened later with the police and that little boy was a disgrace but it was not on Neveah’s mother, in any case, if there was a culprit there it was the policeman who fired too fast.
I don’t understand why Neveah judges her so harshly. There’s no reason to. She acts like she killed an innocent man in cold blood and then shot her brother herself.
I understand that she blames her because, after what happened, they put her in jail and Neveah was left an orphan – although, honestly, I don’t understand why they imprisoned her. But honestly, her mother would have ended up dead if she didn’t get to do what she did, and probably her brother and her too.
That’s why I was so happy when they opened up and Neveah gave her the opportunity that she had always denied her. She learned that she was not being fair and knew how to accept her mother back into her life … even though they both have different lives in different cities.
This show shows us some toxic relationships. We have Bette and Oren. They both cheat on each other, they hurt each other…and this leads us to talk about Shane and Oren, Shane loves him, but Oren … he only uses him to enjoy himself, nothing more. So the two of them are doing something that hurts them in different ways. Shane is hurt by not having Oren’s love, not even his body is completely his, and Oren is hurt by the guilt of cheating on Bette.
But if we talk about toxic relationships we have to talk about Ramon Costa, Dalia and Bette. Ramon Costa is the quintessential toxic man prototype. He doesn’t care about anything, just keeping his bed heated. It doesn’t matter how many people he hurts along the way. Bette seeks to fly, that main role, stardom … and, with it, to feel the love of her family. But that makes her not respect herself.
She offers herself to Ramon, being her sister’s boyfriend and he doesn’t reject her because Ramon is an abuser and a disgusting pig. And then there’s Delia … she knew what was going on with Cassie and, by staying, not only did she throw her off the roof but she stayed by Ramon’s side, knowing what he was doing, what he was capable of. She didn’t value herself enough.
They humiliated themselves to get what they wanted and maintaining their position. On the one hand, I can understand that this dream is what they have fought for all their lives, what they have sacrificed for … and the world of ballet is cruel and you can lose everything in a second but, on the other hand, how can they put self-respect aside and be willing to do anything for a role?
It seems crazy for those of us who do not live their day to day but people who are like them, Archer students, are the only ones who can understand it … because they would do the same.
Of course, we cannot ignore the relationship between Madame and Caleb. That’s … rape. Sorry, but, to me, it is. Madame is an adult and Caleb is a young minor who does not have enough conscience to consent or to see things as they are.
In fact, Madame took advantage of Caleb’s emotional weakness after the death of his father and just … took advantage of him until she got tired. And then when she found another toy in Ramon, she decided enough was enough and put on the “conscience” suit and acknowledged to Caleb how twisted their relationship was.
It’s normal that for Caleb that is love, after all, Archer Academy is everything he has known since he was little and Madame has always been there, supposedly taking care of and protecting them … so for him, that twisted rape is love. And that is the reason that in the end he is willing to risk it for her, taking her side when she has been an accessory to a network of rape suffered by her own colleagues, her own friends. Caleb is another victim in this story.
And now we are going to talk about the elephant in the room: the club. This. This. I’m speechless. My heart aches for Page, for June, and for all the girls those bastards sold, abused, and raped like they were nothing more than trade items. It fills me with anger, frustration, pain … and I want to break things and kill someone.
It is disgusting in every way but it still seems worse to me that all this happened with the approval of a woman, Madame, who offered the girls on a platter as if they were the menu for dinner. And that way of trying to cover everything up, those excuses that she makes for herself to avoid responsibility …
But, at the same time, those excuses are a shield because she was also one more victim, one more broken toy in that world of lights and glitter and those excuses are what she tells herself to stay on her feet because the word rape is too much to bear. They took advantage of her just like she took advantage of Caleb and those girls.
However, that does not excuse her from doing to the students, to the people she had to protect and care for above all else, what she did to them, what she allowed others to do to them. I’m glad her reign is over … although it pains me that Caleb is by her side on this. I hope Madame never regains her position although I’m sure that she will fight tooth and nail to get it back … and she will not fight fair.
I also want to comment on Page. Travis raped her. But she was a double victim because she had to give up her dream of dancing. I put myself in her parents’ shoes and I wouldn’t have left my daughter in that academy after what happened, but that wouldn’t have been the end of her dream either.
This happens too much. That the victims are doubly victims, either because they have to abandon their dreams or because they are singled out or blamed. This society is that twisted and perverse. I wish it had been made clear that Page was going to keep dancing. In my perfect world, it’s like this. She continues to dance as only she can do and that disgusting being named Travis failed to take away her dreams or her life.
“IT’S YOUR TURN TO FLY”
Cassie’s attempted murder is what starts it all. She walks us through the episodes and we almost feel like we know her. We are fond of her, almost compassionate. We witness her account of ballet and expectant life.
We feel her almost like an ethereal angel, a little bird that dared to fly too close to the sun and got burned. Although throughout the season we verified that she was not an angel and that she made many mistakes … we discarded them, we forgive her, believing, trusting, that she was a good person … but she is not.
When Cassie awakens, our illusion is shattered into a thousand pieces. At first it does not, we continue to see the victim, threatened by the disgusting Ramon Costa. We come to feel compassion for her when she tries to protect Nabil from him.
But that’s all the good we’ll see about her. Cassie is able to try to eliminate Bette as an artistic rival accusing her of her murder attempt, when she knows perfectly well that it was Delia who pushed her, out of jealousy, out of fear, when she discovered everything about her and Ramon.
She doesn’t care about anything at all. She doesn’t care about Neveah either and doesn’t hesitate to blackmail her … and betray her afterward. Sleeping Beauty woke up and turns out to be the worst of all the people we met at Archer. She has managed to get Bette out of the way and I’m sure that she will not stay there and try to go after Neveah and June because she knows they are her enemies, in addition, she will try to destabilize the new family that rose from the ashes of the academy.
Throughout the season, we learn about everyone’s secrets, and all of them, at some point or another, mature, learn from their mistakes and rectify. We see that, despite what they seem, they are good people but I don’t see that in Cassie … I see pure evil, just like I see in Delia or her mother.
GROW, BABIES, GROW
The growth of the characters in this show is wonderful. They all end up in different places than where they started and it’s a change for the better. Neveah entered the academy full of illusions, dreams, principles, really happy … but she was also very innocent for a world as dark as ballet.
She grew stronger, learned to give in and also found people who really understood her, found a family. She even found true love … she is scared because her dreams are at stake and it is not the first time that her heart is broken and she is panicky taking that leap of faith but deep down, she knows that she found it with Oren.
Oren started the show with two toxic relationships, one with Bette whom she cheated on with his other toxic relationship, Shane. He felt guilty for cheating on Bette but, at the same time, he was unable to leave Shane and accept that he’s bisexual … and when he did the first thing he did it in the worst possible way, hurting his best friend.
In the end, he managed to open up to Bette, the two of them did and they ended up being the friends they had always been. The same thing happened with Shane, the two of them accepted how toxic they were to each other as a couple … but how good they were as friends, as family. In fact, when necessary they can put all the shit they were going through aside and come together, lean on … that’s why when Oren is about to leave Archer he wants to make sure Shane has someone who loves him in his life.
Speaking of Shane, he begins the story in love with his best friend, although he knows that he does nothing but use him to vent. And that he has a girlfriend and that what they do is wrong. When Oren leaves him, in the worst possible way, he suffers, he knew it would end one day but it feels … horrible. Feel like it’s worth nothing.
Oren used him, everyone does it to a greater or lesser extent and so he feels as if he is worthless for anything else, as if he is not enough for someone to care about him enough to kiss or hug him or just be at his side, without that meaning having sex.
Then he meets a guy who at first seems to be different … but then problems start to come. That guy lied to him and doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him beyond sex. Again, they just want to use him but this guy really likes him and they start to know each other, they start to fall in love … although there is something that does not fit.
Shane is too … gruff sometimes. He comes from a place where he was insulted, harassed and learned to attack first before being attacked and he hates those who insult him because that brings back horrible memories and that temper … that rage … is not something that a his boyfriend Dev likes.
In addition, his job requires elegance, a suit as a uniform and Shane does not fit in such an uptight environment so he keeps him hidden but, at the same time, gives everything for him, even risking his job to help him and get everything he needs, or see him dancing, in his world, admiring what he does …
All of that gives Shane hope. This man is different. He is not using him, he is loving him. But, despite all that, he still does not show their relationship to the world. It is still his little secret hidden behind a door. And that hurts Shane because he feels insufficient again but this time he stands up to him, he confronts him and makes it clear that he is not going to consent to being anyone’s secret again. Nor is it the toy they just want to use for a little while.
His boyfriend can’t stop thinking about Shane all the time, in his anger, in his disappointment … and he knows that something has broken between them, he knows that if he doesn’t come back for him and makes it clear to everyone what he feels, he will lose Shane forever. So he does it, takes that leap of faith and kisses him in front of everyone, no matter who looks, no matter who knows because he loves him and is not at all ashamed of it. And we are going to dry our tears because this is very romantic and we are sentimental.
Bette begins this story involved in a toxic relationship with Oren, cheating on him and then flirting with amphetamines due to an injury and also tries to seduce her sister’s boyfriend, not to mention all the dirty things she did to Neveah and June. So yeah, Bette starts this story really lost.
But she ends up finding her, without expecting it, true love with a guy the opposite of what she thought it would be but who is her true prince, the one who is there with her, the one who really helps her. She finds a love that is not based on lies, secrets or blackmail that is just pure love, pure enjoyment, he’s her safe place where she can be herself. That guy knows everything horrible about her and yet he stayed by her side and loves her for who she is.
And she knows the whole story of him, knows who he is and only loves him for that. She learned that her prejudices were just that, prejudices of use to a life full of money and luxuries that her boyfriend’s family couldn’t even dream of.
With him, she never again feels that she is not enough or that she is in the shadow of someone who everyone considers better than her. With him he feels that he is at home and that is why, despite having lost everything, he has not sunk back into misery.
Nabil and Caleb have to get together at this point. They began the story as enemies of Caleb’s choice. He hated Nabil and tried to end him by all means possible for stupid reasons that fueled pointless hatred.
And they were really brave in this show by showing this Islamophobia, this hatred of the different. A religion is not terrorist, people are. Being Muslim does not mean that you are an enemy or that you are a terrorist and I think the series was brave in showing this unfair reality of hating what we do not know for stupid reasons.
They end the show being one of the best friends of the season. In fact, it is my favorite friendship. A friendship without cracks, without secrets, without betrayals, without double faces. A true friendship, just like Shane and Neveah’s. I was very moved by the scene in which they dance together, it is beautiful.
On a personal level, Caleb is a victim of Madame and Nabil struggles with his guilt for what happened with Cassie, trying to revive a relationship that was long dead, trying to see in Cassie something that is not there: a good heart.
As for June, she was the shyest, the most insecure of all Archer students, always in Bette’s shadow, waiting for her moment, always with the sword above her head as a threat to shatter her dreams.
But what happens at the club, what almost happens to her, what happened to Page, gives her a new vision of life, she draws all the strength she did not know she had and fights, she fights for what is fair, for what that she loves and forgives the person who prevented her from having her dream when she was so close. She herself realizes her own worth, not only within the ballet if not from her inside and does not let anyone trample her, not even Madame.
I’m really proud of all of them but do you know what I am most proud of? Of their union. Because yes, inside the academy they may be beasts and can do everything to achieve their goals but outside of it, they are a family and are there for whatever they need.
That’s why it’s so amazing when Bette, June and Neveah join forces for the first time to take down Trevor and her henchmen from the club, that’s why the video everyone shoots or that final Ripper performance is so beautiful when they all come together to take out the light what is happening. Because they are a family and the family understands, supports and protects each other, without asking questions.
I really liked that they showed that the world of ballet is only reserved for people who are thin and that, for this, many dancers decide to stop eating, just to lose that pound they have put on, even if they are more than perfect.
You see, I went to ballet classes from when I was about 6 years old until I was about sixteen. I left my academy on the last step, the next step was to enter the dance conservatory. From my class, several girls auditioned to enter the conservatory and one of them was rejected because she was “too fat” to dance.
They didn’t care about her level, they didn’t care how she did it, they didn’t care about her hearing, they didn’t care about anything other than her weight. So yeah, that world is that … cruel and I like that the show wasn’t hidden by showing it. That happens and it’s horrible.
Of course, the show deserves a second season and they have everything ready for it. There are some strings to pull for a hypothetical season 2 (for example, Madame and the power play at the academy) and of course there is the murder of Ramon.
It’s not that I’m going to cry for the man, to be honest, I don’t feel sorry for his end, but everyone is suspicious again and, like it happened with Cassie, many had reasons to hurt him. Who will be the murderer?
Of course, Isabel is going to have a lot of work … something that I love because she has a very good instinct and I would like to see her in action again. By the way, am I the only one who noticed something between her and Lidia? Tell me no, please! If there is a season 2 I hope this unfolds, as does the story of Isabel and her ex.
The only thing I didn’t like was that kind of dream / hallucinations that the characters had. I think they broke the rhythm of the story and didn’t fit into it. It is a resource that, if it had been used in moderation, it would have been perfect but it has been abused, since having these dreams in each episode was excessive, repetitive and unnecessary.
But this does not detract from the brilliant final result at all, we need a new season ASAP!