'Bad Sisters' Dances on the Grave of the Worst Guy Ever Developed by Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel and Brett Baer
Starring Sharon Horgan, Claes Bang, Eve Hewson, Anne-Marie Duff, Sarah Greene, Eva Birthistle, Daryl McCormack
Published Sep 28, 2022Whodunits are typically told from the perspective of a detective, but Irish black comedy Bad Sisters flips the script by centring the very sympathetic Garvey siblings who come under suspicion when one of the sisters' scummy husbands, John Paul (Claes Bang), turns up dead. Adding a further twist, there's actually no detective at all — just two sketchy insurance agents who don't want to pay the widow, Grace (Anne-Marie Duff), and so are looking for evidence of foul play.
The show begins in the wake of JP's death, but flashbacks soon reveal why the sisters don't seem all that bereaved: the deceased was a total asshole who was controlling of his wife and their preteen daughter Blánaid (Saise Quinn). Each sister has their own individual, extremely legitimate reasons to hate his guts, which are revealed throughout the course of the 10 episodes. It's a bit like Murder on the Orient Express in the way that everyone is shown to have a motive for murder.
Bouncing back and forth in time between the events leading up to JP's death and the insurance investigation that follows, there are lots of clever revelations about JP's bad behaviour and clues about what might have happened to him.
But more than the plot, Bad Sisters stands out because of its rich, rounded and very funny characters. The youngest sister, the irresponsible partier Becka (Eve Hewson) begins an ill-advised relationship with one of the insurance agents, the sensitive Matthew (Daryl McCormack), and their on-screen chemistry is absolutely electric. Grace is heartbreaking as JP's submissive wife, while the brusque Bibi (Sarah Greene), secretive Ursula (Eva Birthistle) and protective Eva (Sharon Horgan, the closest the show has to a recognizable star) each get their moments to shine.
Enough good things can't be said about Bang's absolutely vile performance as the "victim" (note the scare quotes). He's a needy momma's boy with a sneering smile that's even worse than his frown, an ability to tear people down with an off-hand comment, and a sadistic streak that he keeps under wraps just enough to get by in society. It takes true acting talent to make a character this repulsive and hatable.
If Bad Sisters has a weakness, it's that I correctly predicted the ending just a couple of episodes in. But even being pretty sure about how things were going to turn out, the finale still offered surprises, with subtle clues clicking into place and paying off in an extremely satisfying way. We're in a whodunit renaissance (see: Knives Out, The Afterparty, Only Murders in the Building, etc.), and Bad Sisters just might be the best of the batch. (Apple)