Stream It Or Skip It?
In The Snow Girl, a young reporter investigates the case of a missing girl with a determination that belies her youth. It turns out that, not long before the girl’s disappearance, the reporter herself suffered a major trauma, and she knows the pain that the victim’s parents are suffering. Does she also want to investigate to help her own mental health?
Opening Shot: A girl walks towards a car wearing a bunny mask.
The Gist: It’s 2010. The Martin family is in a square in the city of Málaga, watching the Cavalcade of the Magi parade. During a rainstorm, 5-year-old Amaya goes missing as her father Alvaro (Raúl Prieto) argues about not getting the right amount of change from a balloon vendor dressed like Santa Claus. Amaya’s father and mother, Ana (Loreto Mauleón) go around the square, searching for a girl in a yellow raincoat and bunny mask, but she is nowhere to be found.
CCTV cameras show Amaya being led out of the square by a stranger, which leads every newscast in the city. It’s the big story at the local paper, the Sur, and the new intern, Miren Rojo (Milena Smit) wants to work on it, feeling she has particular insight. Eduardo (José Coronado), a veteran journalist who helped her get the internship, thinks it’ll be good training, but the editor says no. Miren comes with him, anyway; he shows her a police file that shows the girl’s raincoat was found, and also the name of the lead detective: Inspector Belén Millán (Aixa Villagrán).
Miren is very familiar with the inspector, as she was a lead detective on a case where Miren was the victim. The case, in fact, is still open, and Miren flashes to scenes of her being assaulted on the beach. At a press conference where flyers are distributed, Miren manages to get a few words with a distraught Ana; she basically tells her she can relate to the pain they’re feeling and gives her contact info.
She follows the family and their social circle around all day until she’s confronted by David Luque (Tristán Ulloa), a family friend. In the meantime, Inspector Millán and her partner investigate the case, including the strange spot where the raincoat was found. During a vigil for the girl, Millán’s partner tells her that David has a record involving sexual assault with a young girl.
Flash to 2016. Miren, now a reporter for the Sur, gets a package, which she turns over to Millán. The inspector summons Alvaro and Ana to the station, and what they see on the tape in the package stuns them.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The missing girl theme of The Snow Girl (Original title: La chica de nieve) reminds us of The Missing or Dark.
Our Take: The Snow Girl is based on a novel by Javier Castillo, and it jumps back and forth among three timelines, only two of which we saw in the first episode. Not only are we seeing the beginning of the case in 2010 and then the revelation that Amaya might be alive in 2016, but there will also be more investigatory activity in 2019.
How we’re going to keep track of the three timelines is anyone’s guess. Most of the story is really going to be told through Miren’s perspective, and perhaps her personality, appearance, and manner is how we’ll tell these timelines apart. In 2010, the trauma of her attack is still fresh. We see it in her dogged pursuit of this case, and when she sees bruises on her face in the reflection of a computer monitor, among other PTSD-related reactions. Eduardo, a family friend, is concerned for her, but she insists she’s fine.
In our brief look at 2016, Miren seems to have herself a bit more together, including working at the Sur despite the rocky start she had there as an intern. Distance, therapy and all sorts of other eventualities are what made Miren better, but we’re not sure we’re going to see any of that. And we have no idea what 2019 will look like, since that timeline isn’t examined in the first episode.
We like Smit as Miren, mainly because she’s good at playing a person who’s haunted but determined (it’s not much different than what we saw of her in The Girl In The Mirror). It feels like Smit and Aixa Villagrán as Millán are going to be the ones the drama is centered around, and of course Miren’s side of the investigation will always be more interesting than the straightforward police work Millán does. Still, the contrast between how the two women go about looking into this disappearance will create a tension that drives the action
Sex and Skin: None in the first episode.
Parting Shot: Ana and Alvaro are convinced that the girl playing with a dollhouse on the videotape they’re watching is a now 11-year-old Amaya.
Sleeper Star: Loreto Mauleón plays Amaya’s mother Ana, and the rawness of her emotions, even six years after Amaya disappeared, are very evident in her performance.
Most Pilot-y Line: An elderly lady that saw Amaya being taken into her building is questioned by Millán and her partner, and all we could look at was what seemed like the many cats that lived with her.
Our Call: STREAM IT. We’re a bit skeptical that the multiple timelines in The Snow Girl will be kept distinctive enough to not confuse viewers, but the story is interesting enough that it may not matter.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
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