What is a woman? What is a woman for? What is the purpose of a woman? The answer to this question for many TV writer-producers is problematic. A woman exists in order to give a man something to emote about. She exists to end up naked on a morgue slab or, um, you know, “missing” in somewhere called “South America”.
I’m afraid Apple TV aren’t doing themselves any favours with their latest drama offering, Echo 3, which has very little appeal off the bat, with even the colour scheme of the app tiles off-putting and grim. As I contemplate cutting back on my subscriptions, the only thing stopping me from cancelling Apple One right now is the forthcoming second season of Slow Horses. But when that’s done, I think I’m out.
The premise of Echo 3 is very unpromising. Let’s break down the first episode description: In the aftermath of a joyous wedding gone awry, the bride goes missing in South America and the military men in her family vow to find her.
There are some key phrase alarm bells here. “Joyous wedding”; “the bride”; “South America”; “military men”; and “vow to find her”.
First, the joyous wedding. I immediately got strong vibes of The Deer Hunter as this played out. The Deer Hunter is a candidate for the most boring film ever made. In Echo 3 there are a bunch of toxic males, a hint of redneckery in the air, a “drug addict” mother, and an inexplicably big fucking house. We’ll come back to this. Given that the scene begins with an argument between the “drug addict” mother and the bride, and ends with the groom being told he has to leave for a hostage rescue in the morning, I dispute the trade description of “joyous”. It’s a wedding. It’s packed full of clichés, and it’s boring to watch. We’ve seen it all before, we know what’s going to happen, so get to the chorus.
So the guy leaves on his rescue mission, and it all goes a bit pear shaped and there’s tension between this guy and his new brother-in-law over the shape of the pear. Is this the time to talk about the inexplicable wealth of the groom? There’s some chatter at the wedding about him running for Congress or something, and his family seem to have money. At which point I question why he, the rich son of a political family, has chosen a career in Special Forces. I also question the awesome modernist house he lives in with his supposedly “redneck” scientist bride. Let’s look at some facts and figures:
With a take-home pay of roughly $4,764/month, and the median 2BR apartment rental price of $2,506/mo**, an Army Special Forces would pay 52.6% of their monthly take-home salary towards rent.(https://www.comparably.com)
Let’s assume that this Special Forces guy is paying somewhat more than $2506 for his amazing modernist home with infinity pool. There aren’t enough eye roll emojis in the world for this unlikely scenario.
As to the wife, she’s supposed to be from a redneck family (you know this because the family home is on a riverside, so they can go, you know, fishin’), but she’s also supposed to be a “brilliant scientist” who gives Ted talks.
Later “the bride” and “the groom” have a tense argument about her forthcoming trip to Columbia/Venezuela, and you can tell that the scriptwriters have never read David Mamet’s famous rant. There is a lot of “as you knowing”. For example:
Husband to wife: “You’re going to Columbia.”
Wife to husband: “I’ve been all around the world!”
Scientist to wife-scientist: “It’s our last day in the lab.”
Wife-scientist to scientist: ““Everybody else thinks I’m crazy for going to South America to study plants!”
It’s breathtakingly stupid.
Anyway, “the bride”. Just substitute the word “prize” for “bride” and you get the picture.
“South America” of course is the new Dark Continent, because it would be racist to just say, “Africa”, for example. And of course there’s a guerrilla war, because there’s always a guerrilla war down there. So why would the brilliant scientist want to go? Why did anyone ever want to visit the Americas? Drugs.
So then our unlikely “military men”, her rich-for-some-reason husband and her supposedly-redneck brother have to rescue her. Wait, sorry: they have to “vow to find her”. They have to put aside their differences and vow to find her even though (plot twist!) she MIGHT HAVE BEEN A SECRET CIA AGENT ALL ALONG.
Anyway, it’s terrible stuff, and terribly boring, so I wouldn’t bother if I were you.