Wednesday, May 4, 2022

REVIEW: 'Shining Girls' - Kirby and Dan Analyze Harper's Pattern Which Alerts His Attention to Their Investigation in 'Overnight'

AppleTV+'s Shining Girls - Episode 1.03 "Overnight"

Kirby and Dan look to the past, uncovering multiple cold cases with puzzling similarities. Harper takes a dangerous new interest in Dan.

"Overnight" was written by Alan Page Arriaga and directed by Daina Reid

A serial killer becomes obsessed with the investigation seeking to hunt him down. That's an original idea, right? It really isn't. And yet, it's still a basic storytelling trope utilized in so many projects. That includes this series. Kirby and Dan serve as the anomalies for Harper's time as a killer. He has murdered women across decades. The reporters can uncover eight separate occasions. They are still working to corroborate the details. Everyone understands the importance of this investigation. They are shocked the brutal, disturbing pattern has gone unnoticed for so long. Now is the time for someone to speak out and fight back against the injustices. Meanwhile, Harper stalks the lives of those who seek to discover what he has done. He's certainly bold and entitled with his actions. He roams through Dan's house even when his son is home. He goes completely unnoticed. He even makes his presence known by shifting the positions of the books on the shelf. This is the first real glimpse into Dan's life. He is given the priority just as much as Kirby is. His boss worries about him following his leave of absence. She wants to know what Kirby thinks about his ability to continue doing this job. Of course, the reporters are keeping secrets from their editor. She is mad about that. She also sees the inspiring story that can emerge from all of this diligent work. Kirby can serve as the inspiring survivor hunting down her assailant and speaking for his other seven victims when the police did nothing. That's bombshell reporting. It demands an entire series to be run in the paper. It can return Dan to his past glory. Marcus warns Kirby from embracing this relationship. She is placing all her hopes and dreams on this project. She can only focus on the work. She casually forgets about her personal life. It doesn't matter to her. Details of her life change so frequently that she can never see one as more real than the other. Moreover, the narrative messes around with time. The hour opens with Dan on a train with his arm bleeding. He's waking up after a night out drinking. He retraces his steps. And then, he gets right back to the work. The hour concludes with a fateful confrontation between Dan and Harper. That moment produced the injury that started it all. That's only one piece of how time bends in this universe. Kirby comes to her own realization. That forces her to question everything. Of course, this is nothing new for the audience. Everything can't be trusted. And so, none of the twists occur with so much prominence that they demand priority or attention above the middling ground that defines so much of the episode's bulk.

Jinny is still alive. She was killed by Harper in the premiere. Yet when Kirby arrives at the planetarium, Jinny is giving her presentation to the adoring crowd. Kirby can even approach her afterwards. This link was made because Jinny's locker key was found inside one of the earliest victims. That makes no sense logistically. Jinny did lose a key recently. That doesn't explain how it ended up inside a woman in 1972. The photographic evidence makes it indisputable. It's still the show suggesting something much more mysterious and sinister going on. Everything is being presented out of order. It's a narrative trick to lure the audience into believing everything is happening linearly. It's not. Of course, that pattern has been repeated in each episode so far. Kirby and Dan are certainly questioning it. It's not enough for them to totally change their lives. Their behavior has been consistent so far. Their plights have been stable. Kirby seeks validation from continuing this investigation. She always thinks about her assault. This investigation with Dan actually gives her a reason to do so. She can no longer be traumatized by carrying this burden by herself. Now, she can share the experience with someone else. That doesn't exactly make it easy to absorb and accept. In fact, the personal burden still remains deeply held within each of them. Part of the story suggests everything turned deadly the moment someone interacted with Harper. Elsewhere, it seems like he has ongoing relationships with all of them. He doesn't appear to know that Kirby survived her encounter with him. That too breaks the pattern of how he operates. Dan and Kirby understand the psychology of this monster. They know who he targets and how he kills them. He has a distinct style. It still takes work to uncover all the cold cases. All of these cases have gone unsolved. No one is looking into them besides Kirby and Dan. Of course, Kirby is desperate to hold onto her own evidence. She wants insight into her assault as well. She can't trust her memories. Dan notices her notebook and every detail she writes down. He is curious. It doesn't change anything between them. Nor does Marcus confronting Dan about taking advantage of his wife to succeed in journalism once more. It's all a lot. Yet nothing truly seems to be happening in a way that suggests growing and enriching storytelling. That's annoying too. Things should be locking firmly into place at this point in time. Sure, not every detail should be colliding to create a fascinating narrative. However, the audience should trust what's being depicted. Here, that's just so difficult to do. Everything is so alienating because the mystery takes priority over character.