Dear Edward Series Review : A still from ‘Dear Edward’ Plane tragedies in Hollywoodland usually serve as a prelude to an overarching mystery/thriller plot that can go so far as to feature time warps ( obviously, 2018) or even a cult formation chart ( yellow jackets, 2021). In his new Apple TV+ show, Dear Edward, Jason Cathams uses this fertile ground to take on a simple subject of grief. While even Katim can’t resist merch’s pulling in elements of ambiguity for the characters to resolve, the show stays true to its central theme of grief being the hardest hurdle to cross.
Adapted from a novel by Anne Napolitano (who also serves as executive producer), the show follows the aftermath of a plane crash in which only one 12-year-old boy survives: Edward Adler (Colin O’Brien). ). By weaving a web of sadness around the bereaved families, Ketems attempts to portray a heartfelt portrayal of the mess that comes with grief. At the center of this web is a group therapy support group (paid for by the airline for relatives). The group includes a whole host of characters, including Taylor Schilling as Edward’s Aunt Lacey, whom the Catums aim to connect with each other as the story progresses.
As the sole survivor of the crash, Edward, and the cast around him, flesh out the story line. Edward is simultaneously famed as the ‘miracle boy’ who survived, and deeply grief-stricken by the loss of his parents and brother. Colin O’Brien is absolutely brilliant in this performance of grief as the desperate confusion. He ponders whether he should have traded flight seats with his brother, and occasionally finds himself drawn to their falafel stand in New York. O’Brien is also particularly adept at conveying his helplessness at being forced to fit into the new routine of living with his Aunt Lacey, whom he has only met a few times before. As Lacey, Taylor Schilling gets her own taste of grief, juggling her emotions between mourning her older sister’s death and being Edward’s caregiver.
An interesting choice made for both characters comes in the form of the common ground they share. While Catums seeks to reach the peace that transcends mourning, he often sticks Lacey and Edward in a muddy pool of anger. Instead of supporting each other, the two survivors who know Edward’s mother best often clash. At one point, Edward tells Lacey that he struggles to see her because she reminds him of his mother, while Lacey’s chance to raise Edward comes at a time when she is trying to conceive a child. I get defeated because of my problems.
creator: Jason Ketems
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Colin O’Brien, Connie Burton, Anna Aziel, Idris De Brand, Carter Hudson, Amy Forsyth, and others
Story: After a plane crash, in which only a 12-year-old boy survives, the families of the dead find strength in each other’s support.
Likewise, the Ketems take liberties with paralleling their circumstances while providing each character with their own unique cocktail of grief. Dead men tell no tales, and so Catums sends almost all the characters on a blind chase to find out what their (now dead) loved ones were hiding from them. In this way the show can be vaguely divided into two halves, with the first half surrounded by various untold truths, as the second unfolds in self-reflexive fashion. As old stories are wrapped up, new sorrows take over.
Connie Burton in ‘Dear Edward’ photo Photo credit: Apple TV+
However, Katims ambitions remain the same. He tries to untangle these characters through the gang of grief, and that’s where the show gets great momentum. When Kojo (Idris Debrand) arrives from Ghana to care for his orphaned niece, he finds help in congressional candidate Adriana (Anna Ozil), who is eager to retain her grandmother’s seat. Coming to terms with the pressures of motherhood suddenly upon her, in the form of Edward, Lacey helps Linda (Amy Forsyth), a pregnant young woman whose boyfriend has also died in an accident.
Such contacts continue to decrease throughout the 10-episode run. However, some carry more weight than others. While the stories of Kojo and Adriana, Lacey and Linda maintain a continuity of drama, the other pairings are suddenly given spare time in episodes, wrapped up in haste and seem detached from the larger story. So they often feel like an unasked-for break in the flow. Individually these stories are powerful, but put together they don’t reach their potential.
Connie Burton as DeeDee, however, emerged as a strong glue holding the series together. Although the character was never originally in Anne Napolitano’s book, Ketems created the role for Burton, with whom he had previously worked. Friday Night Lights (2006). Playing a New York socialite, Burton does a wonderful job as DD who comes to terms with the death of her husband, and the possible loss of her fortune.
Cutimus makes a passionate observation of grief, and the journey it takes to finally move on. Dear Edward A messy analysis of grief through a number of heartwarming stories, but for a show that feels like it alternates between multiple short stories, it might have been more effective as an anthology with a common tragedy.
Dear Edward is currently streaming on AppleTV+ with new episodes released every Friday.