TV Series Review

Eventually the truth will resurface. When it does, you must reckon with it.

Eleanor Bennett tried everything in her power to keep her past behind her. But then she died. And in death, that past finally decided to speak.

Eleanor lived a full life–something her son, Byron, and daughter, Mathilda, know well. But their knowledge of their mother’s “full life” only went back so far. While the two loved their mother, they know little of her past.

That is, until the two are reunited, after eight years apart, to review her will. And those secrets spill out.

It seems Eleanor was waiting for the perfect moment to tell her children the truth. To tell them about who she really was.

Eleanor grew up in the 1960s on a Caribbean island. Back then, her name was Covey. She was abandoned by her mother when she was just 11 and was raised by her protective but troubled father.

By the time she turned 17, Covey only felt free when she was swimming. She wanted more from life; to spend her days with her best friend, Bunny, and bask in the love of her secret boyfriend, Gibbs, and maybe even sneak away with him to London.

But life had other plans.

Covey’s father was a gambling man, and his poor decisions led him to sell his young daughter in marriage to a violent, powerful loan shark. Yet, on the night of their wedding, Covey’s husband fell to the ground, dead. Poisoned.

This was her only chance. Slip away quickly and never come back.

So she did. She fled to the only place she had ever felt free. The ocean. And the ocean carried her on a ship to London, to a new life.

This was the fresh start she had always desired. Or so she thought.

Eleanor spent the rest of her days burying her friendships, her father and Covey, the girl she used to know. But it seems her past would bleed into the present in ways she and her future family would never expect.

To Tell The Whole Truth, And Nothing But…

What is the truth? And how can you tell when you’re hearing it?  According to Hulu’s latest series, Black Cake, it’s complicated.

This TV-MA series, produced by Oprah Winfrey and based off of the novel of the same name by Charmaine Wilkerson, is steeped in mystery, drama and intricacies.

For starters, the main character here, Covey, receives her new name, Eleanor Bennett, through death. The show hints that young Covey is willing to do whatever it takes to establish a new life for herself. How far she’s willing to go will be doled out one episode at a time.

But it’s not just focused on the past. There are three concurrent stories being told. In the past, we learn about Covey and the new life she embarks upon. In the present, we learn about her children: Byron and Mathilda, their individual lives and how the news of their mother’s past leads them to uncover parts of their heritage and story they never knew existed.

We find themes of resilience, betrayal, hope, racism, assimilation, friendship and love. And it’s clear that this series will be both rich and complicated, wrapped in mystery, murder and life.

Which means that there is, and will be, plenty of content issues. Young and old alike use profanity (and it can be harsh) and drink alcohol. There’s reference to drug use and gambling. There’s murder, sex (although not graphic, at least based on the first episode) and some other other issues as well. 

There’s heart to this show, but that heart can be both filled with light and steeped in darkness–often at the same time.