The first two episodes of the new drama series The Essex Serpent will released this Friday, May 13th on Apple TV+. Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by author Sarah Perry. The story follows recently widowed Cora Seaborne as she leaves London for the small town of Essex. Where the legend of a mythical sea serpent is said to be preying on the townspeople.

The episodes follow Cora after the death of her abusive husband. Her infatuation with the legend of sea creature gives her reason to leave her world behind. The superstitious townsfolk are in a frenzy with the recent death of a young girl. They believe was taken by the serpent. However, local Vicar Will believes otherwise and tries to be a voice of reason against the lore. However, Cora’s arrival and interest in the mythical serpent throws of the balance he is trying to keep. So, without further ado, we present our The Essex Serpent review.

The Essex Serpent Review

(L-R): Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and Will (Tom Hiddleston) in Apple TV+'s THE ESSEX SERPENT. Photo Credit: Apple TV+
(L-R): Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and Will (Tom Hiddleston) in Apple TV+’s THE ESSEX SERPENT. Photo Credit: Apple TV+

A Bit Jarring at Times

The series opens with a great deal of mystery. Cora’s begins a friendship with her recently deceased husbands doctor. A young surgeon Luke (Frank Dillane) that is set up to be significant relationship. The development of the friendship feels thin and their presence feels disjointed.

Also, the storyline of the mythological serpent takes a back seat to the characters interactions. Which slows the tension even more so in the second episode. By the end of episode two we are left with a surprising cliffhanger. However, the supernatural element they are building is at too slow of a pace in the first couple of episodes.

A Great Look and Feel

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston shine with their performances as Will and Cora. The characters interactions help drive this story. They keep us intrigued in their growing relationship. The filmmaking on the show surround the characters with a perfect gothic tone that fits the underlying supernatural element.

(L-R): Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and Will (Tom Hiddleston) in Apple TV+'s THE ESSEX SERPENT. Photo Credit: Apple TV+
(L-R): Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and Will (Tom Hiddleston) in Apple TV+’s THE ESSEX SERPENT. Photo Credit: Apple TV+

Which helps the end of the second episode. Where Cora is speaking with the school children about the serpent. The tension built within the scene is absolutely terrific and exploded into a frightening ordeal played well by the young actors.

Slow Start

The Essex Serpent delivers the beginning of an interesting story in it’s first two episodes. Normally, for me personally there is no appeal to Victorian period pieces. However, the mysterious nature of the show mixed with terrific world building has me hooked. I am looking forward to continuing with the series and see where the story goes.

Are you excited for the debut of The Essex Serpent? Let us know by mentioning @ReviewedCinema on Twitter, and don’t miss The Essex Serpent when it premieres exclusively on Apple TV+ on May 13, 2022. Check out more of our reviews on the site.

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