Red Widow Season 1 Review “The Captive”

Things are not looking good for ABC’s Red Widow. Though the show continues to improve, it’s unclear if ABC is going to give it a chance to build a fan base. The first couple of episodes dragged because too much time went into building up the believability of Marta committing to her new gangster lifestyle. However, last week’s episode marked a turning point that was remarked upon by viewers and reflected in a significant ratings increase. The show finally gave viewers what we were craving – more Schiller/Marta interaction and more insight into Marta’s childhood. This week, Marta’s relationship with Schiller developed an interesting nuance as a result of the kidnapping of Marta’s daughter, Natalie.

Why then do I get the feeling the show’s future is in jeopardy? There was no preview and ABC’s schedule shows its rerunning the pilot episode next Sunday. Don’t destroy the momentum! The show finally has people interested in tuning in for what’s happening now. Rebroadcasting the earlier, weaker episodes will not help bring people in, and creating a gap in a story that has started to move forward runs the significant risk that people who are finally tuning in may lose interest by the time the show returns.

It will be a shame if Red Widow ends up being derailed by inopportune scheduling. This week’s episode showed that the show has great potential and needs a bit more time to realize it. I’ve previously noted that I am not a big fan of Mike, the family friend. His character was dispatched after kidnapping Natalie in an attempt to extort money from Marta. Mike knew that when Marta’s family discovered he was behind the kidnapping, Petrov would kill him. While Marta may have wanted him dead, she has not become totally evil like her crazy gangster family and promised Natalie that Mike wouldn’t be killed. Though Mike’s life is spared, he is beaten to the point that his return is unlikely.

My other complaint has been the FBI agent Ramos storyline. There is something there that is potentially interesting, but his constant presence was stifling and made it impossible to believe that Marta would be able to do any work for Schiller. It kind of puts a damper on drug smuggling to have an FBI agent roaming the docks day in and day out. This week, Ramos was on hiatus and it was a much needed break.
Even Marta’s irritating son was less irritating this week. His childishness and irresponsibility has been grating given the sacrifices that we see Marta making for her family. When Gabriel learns that Natalie has been kidnapped, though, his immaturity vanishes and he steps up to help his family find her. Gabriel is going down a dark path by becoming more involved with his grandfather. Marta isn’t going to like it, but it does create potential for future stories about the operations and inner politics of the Petrov family. It will also create a significant challenge for Marta. Can she stop her son from choosing the wrong path before it is too late?

As I mentioned above, the most interesting development occurred with Marta and Schiller. Even though her family was helping in the search for Natalie, Marta called Schiller. She trusted him more than her own father to locate Natalie before it was too late. Schiller blustered about how helping was inconvenient and that he was doing it only because Marta is his employee. However, there was some kind of spark that suggests that he has different motivations. Just when you think, though, that you may see him softening, his expression changes into an iron wall of either anger or coldness. Schiller has the potential to be a notable TV villain, and I’m at a loss to think of anyone else like him on network TV right now. Considering that most stories are being recycled to death, it’s nice to have at least one show with a main character that is inscrutable and unpredictable.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that ABC is going to stick by Red Widow even if viewers do not take kindly to stepping backwards in the next couple of weeks. There are only three episodes left – it’s a shame they couldn’t have let us finish the season this month.

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