Red Widow Season 1 Review “The Recorder”

Red Widow (ABC) Episode 4 The Recorder (11)
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Red Widow has had a bumpy start. The first few episodes tackled a lot of different plot points – the death of Marta’s husband, the pervasive presence of the FBI, her brother going to prison, falling into the grips of Schiller, learning to become a gangster, etc. It was a lot and perhaps too much. In a hopeful sign of things to come, this week’s episode solidified the primary conflict between Schiller and Marta and moved away from the “will she” or “won’t she” be a gangster dilemma.

The relationship between Schiller and Marta is the heart of the show. Goran Visnjic is an exemplary villain. You feel at once that he is menacing and dangerous, but there is also something else lurking beneath the surface. It’d be a stretch to think Schiller’s a good guy underneath, but there is still something intriguing about him. Schiller’s opinion of Marta is similarly ambiguous. He’s smart enough not to trust her, but it also feels like he wants to have her around because he likes her. Marta usually stands her ground in their meetings, and there probably aren’t a lot of women who could. This was the first episode where I really wanted to know what was going to happen after the commercial, and this was primarily because of the Marta/Schiller dynamic.

We also got some intriguing backstory this week about Marta’s childhood. We see that her father killed her uncle because he was a “rat.” Marta’s father is now an older man and doesn’t seem that threatening. But in the flashback, we see just what a violent monster he is. There is more to Petrov than we’ve seen, and it can’t be good. He was a little too forthcoming in pointing the finger at Schiller for Evan’s death. What is more likely is that he learned Evan was working with the feds and decided to take him out.

There are still a couple weak points that could easily be fixed. Marta’s oldest son, Gabriel, is completely unlikeable and her interactions with him are frustrating. When she catches him having sex with his girlfriend, Marta is angry, but allows him to slam the door in her face. Seriously? She’s going to let her son act like that when she’s going through hell just to keep him safe? Also, the fact that Marta and her father laughed about the incident was disturbing. It was even worse when she almost laughed after her son confessed to doing drugs with the girl. At this point, she might as well bring him into the crime ring. She’s certainly not teaching her son how to be responsible.

I’m also not enthusiastic about the direction the Ramos story is going. Get rid of the druggie wife. She’s an unnecessary distraction. Also, we probably could’ve used a little more time before he and Kat kissed. That moved too quickly. Ramos needs to be more professional and less stalkery.

Luckily, we had very little of Mike in this episode. It was sweet when Marta fired him from their criminal enterprise. Of course, considering how desperate he is and how Marta just learned where Schiller’s cocaine is hidden, it’s just a matter of time before Mike starts creating major problems for her. Putting a bullet in his character before the end of the season wouldn’t be any great loss.

The show is heading in the right direction. It only has a couple more episodes, though, before the season finale. By then, Evan’s storyline should be wrapped up and we can move next season into the more interesting relationship between Marta and Schiller.

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