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The Resort Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
Take the location of last summer’s hit “The White Lotus,” the let’s-solve-a-mystery comedy structure of “Only Murders in the Building,” some of the underlying foundation of “Search Party,” and toss in a dose of “The Twilight Zone,” and you have the TV recipe for Peacock’s ambitious new comedy “The Resort.” It’s a quirky show that falls a little bit into the shadow of its inspirations and the brisk nature of its season, but its ace ensemble manages to keep it consistently entertaining. It may not be the escape that Peacock subscribers expect, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What starts as a straightforward thriller with relationship issues shifts into something that should remind viewers that this is from the writer of “Palm Springs” and the creator of “Mr. Robot.” In other words, it goes places. But “The Resort” holds itself together through its more ridiculous flights of narrative fancy because of the commitment of its cast. It’s clear that every single one of them knew what they signed up for when they agreed to take this vacation.
Noah (William Jackson Harper) and Emma (Cristin Milioti) have just arrived for a vacation in Riviera Maya at one of those lavish, all-inclusive resorts that are designed to take all of your worries away. They clearly have brought more than physical baggage to Mexico, and a lazy river isn’t going to make it all go away. It’s not completely clear what’s pushing Noah and Emma apart, but she seems distant and withdrawn in a way that hints at dark days in the past and potentially darker ones in the future. It might be a stretch to say they’ve taken the vacation to save their marriage, but it’s close to the truth. It feels like they’re starting to question if they want to keep going or not when life tosses them into an incredible adventure, the kind that both rejuvenates and challenges their partnership.
It starts when the pair are on an ATV excursion, and Emma takes a turn way too fast, rolling down a hill. She spots a broken cell phone a few feet from where she stops and decides to investigate. She puts the SIM card in a new phone and begins snooping, finding text messages and photos from 15 years ago. It doesn’t take her long to realize that the phone is connected to the disappearance of two people from the Oceana Vista Resort around that time, and then “The Resort” jumps back to a parallel track and introduces Sam (Skyler Gisondo) and Violet (Nina Bloomgarden), another couple thrust into something unexpected in Mexico.
Unlike Noah & Emma, Sam & Violet weren’t a couple when they got to the Oceana Vista. Sam went there with his parents, Carl (Dylan Baker) and Jan (Becky Ann Baker), and his girlfriend Hanna (Debby Ryan), who Sam discovers is cheating on him on the plane on the way there when he sees a dick pic from her professor boyfriend on her phone. Skateboarding through the resort to release tension, he collides with Violet, who is there with her father Murray (Nick Offerman), and Sam & Violet have instant chemistry. As the show reveals their doomed partnership, Noah & Emma continue to investigate what happened to them, leading the pair to the eccentric head of security at the resort Baltasar Frias (the great Luis Gerardo Méndez) and the story of the vacation destination’s truly crazy owner Alex (Ben Sinclair of “High Maintenance,” who also directs). And then it all gets weird.
Modern television has a condition lately wherein 100 minutes of plot are stretched way past their breaking point to form an episodic season, which makes it almost a compliment to say that “The Resort” has the opposite problem. With eight episodes that run around 35 minutes a piece, it is filled with characters and ideas to such a degree that it really could have supported longer chapters or even more episodes to let its hazy, out-there atmosphere linger. And yet, with pacing being such a modern problem, it’s refreshing to see something that moves with this kind of urgency and yet doesn’t leave character development by the side of the road to do so.
Of course, it helps to have performers who know how to develop character alongside impossible concepts. Harper did so brilliantly with Chidi on “The Good Place,” and he again finds a way to anchor a character in an impossible situation that feels real. We need to believe that Noah and Emma would go to some dangerous places to solve this mystery, and a lot of that veracity falls on a few small beats by Harper and Milioti. The star of “Palm Springs” also knows how to intertwine out-there concepts with genuine emotions, and she tamps down a lot of her natural charisma to carry the kind of depression that Emma needs in order to make it believable that she would jump at the mystery in the center of this show just to break out of her emotional rut. Everyone here is good, especially Offerman in the final episodes and the truly charming Mendez throughout. If the season was longer, more time could have been spent with Gisondo and Bloomgarden, who are interesting performers that kind of get lost as the season goes along.
“The Resort” feels like it rushes its end game—the final two episodes could have easily been twice as long, and the actual final scenes almost feel like they’re setting up another season as much as ending this one—in a way that could leave some viewers scratching their heads. In the end, kind of like “Search Party,” “The Resort” is as much about the people doing the searching as it is what they uncover. And Sinclair, Siara, and Esmail are happy to lean into the themes of the show over its plotting, willing to tell a story of redemption in a way that defies logic but embraces emotion. Who needs logic on vacation anyway?
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