Series Review: The Queen’s Gambit

Warning: May contain spoilers

Synopsis from Wikipedia:

The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional story that follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional issues and drug and alcohol dependency. The story begins in the mid-1950s and proceeds into the 1960s.

Okay, this may be the best series I’ve seen this year so far! I don’t know much about chess and I don’t even play, but damn, I loved this! You definitely learn a lot, too, and I found myself Googling a few things as I watch the episodes. I didn’t hesitate to start this series, though, despite not knowing anything about chess because of Anya Taylor-Joy. I saw her on Emma. earlier this year and I think she’s an amazing actress. She surely didn’t disappoint in this series, she is definitely the main reason this series turned out so great.

I have to give props to the supporting characters as well! Dude, young Beth Harmon totally nailed it! She is like a Wes Anderson character with her style and indifference. LOL! I mean, that scene of her stealing the big jar of pills was outstanding!!!

I loved the dynamic between Beth and her adoptive mother, Alma, as well as Mr. Shaibel who taught her how to play chess. In the beginning, when Alma and Beth’s relationship turned into a business partnership, I thought, this is kind of problematic. But then, they only had each other and their common addiction for that green pill and their not having anybody else but each other became their bond. I was actually surprised (and sad) when Alma died halfway through, but that definitely added more to the story during the last few episodes because it explored her relationship with the other characters. Mr. Shaibel’s death also was a turning point because it was one of the moments that we saw Beth emotional and vulnerable. Loved seeing former child actors Harry Melling and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Harry Beltik and Benny Watts in this series, too. Jolene returning on the final two episodes was the biggest surprise. It was the perfect time for her to return and actually helped Beth finance her trip to Moscow.

Ok, Benny, I see you!!!

The set design and fashion! I was watching Emily in Paris the week prior and I think they hyped up the fashion too much when they were promoting this so I was really underwhelmed when I started watching it, because I personally did not like most of what I have seen so far. I have not finished it yet, I have seen the first 4 episodes, but I think I have really only liked 1 outfit (the yellow maxi dress). So I was not expecting that I would actually notice how Beth’s wardrobe looked so put together in The Queen’s Gambit!

When I was watching Emma., I was in love with all the wallpapers and it was the same in their house in Kentucky! I would love to live in that house! What is it with Anya Taylor-Joy and wallpapers? LOL!

I think another thing that I loved about this series is that even if the theme is about drugs and alcohol addiction and it’s so easy for her to get in trouble, nobody took advantage of her. Instead, the people around her, especially the men actually supported her and called her out if needed because they care about her. They even helped her during her third match with Borgov. Probably the only one who did was her adoptive father, who almost tricked her out of the house where she and Alma lived. Props to her for taking the power back and she was like, “I’m bringing out my checkbook and buying you out!” I’m glad we never heard from him again after that.

My biggest takeaway is that family is where you can find it. Beth started out as an orphan but she found family in Alma, in Mr. Shaibel, in Harry, in Benny, in Jolene, in Matt and Mike. No matter how alone you feel, I believe that there is always one person out there who cares for you.

The series only has 7 episodes so I was able to finish it in one weekend – it’s been a while since I’ve done this! It was based on a book by Walter Tevin published in the 80s, so I don’t think there will be another season. It is perfect as it is!

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