Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ leaves viewers wanting more


Photo Courtesy of Bustle

“The Queen’s Gambit” is a Netflix series that keeps the plot short yet interesting. There are only seven hour-long episodes available.

Cayla Smith, Campus Editor

Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” leaves us pondering what Anya Taylor-Joy’s next move will be.

The show is a drama-thriller based on the 1983 novel “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Tevis. It takes place during the cold war era and follows an orphan named Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), who battles with addiction and setting her sight on becoming the greatest chess player in the world. 

The show is a limited series on Netflix, meaning there was only a set number of episodes aired, presenting the story as is. Unfortunately, there won’t be a second season, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The show is so good, and adding a second season would drag it on and stray away from the original idea of the story. The book itself is only 243 pages. It’s a quick read, and the show only has seven episodes, each being an hour long.

Beth develops her addiction to tranquilizers, while living at the orphanage. The tranquilizers were used as a sedative on children in the orphanage, but Beth’s only friend Jolene (Moses Ingram) tells her to save them for later. She saves them, and when she takes them she sees a chess board on the ceiling and plays chess every night on the ceiling of her room. She does this to get extra practice for when she isn’t in the basement with the custodian, Mr. Shaibel (Bill Champ), who taught her. 

Though the orphanage gave these to all of the children to keep them calm, the show didn’t touch on the extent of physical abuse, sexual abuse and even murder within orphanages, at the time. It did, however, touch on the lack of individuality allowed within orphanages. When Beth arrives they cut her hair, burn her old clothes, give her a tooth brush and show her to her bed that’s in a room with at least 20 other orphaned girls. Every girl there had the same dress and choppy haircut.

I wasn’t too sure about what to expect with this series because as soon as I saw Anya Taylor-Joy, I thought of her past work. Don’t get me wrong she is an amazing actress, but gets roped into terrible movies. I’m looking at you, M. Night Shyamalan. The two have worked a few movies together, including “Split” and “Glass.” 

Taylor-Joy herself is best known for her appearances in the series “Atlantis” and her breakthrough role in “The Witch,” where she won several awards for her performance.

Director and screenwriter Scott Frank received two Oscar nominations for “Out of Sight” and “Logan.” Frank used the help of Scottish screenwriter Allan Scott to help make the book come to life as a television mini series. Scott is best known for “Don’t Look Now,” “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Kon-Tiki” and “The Witches.”

“Reading it, I was like, this hurts because I recognize it,” said Taylor-Joy in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. She stated this after revealing the immediate connection she felt with her character Beth is the sense of loneliness.

Rating: 5/5