An Irish wake is usually a celebration of life, but the one that kicks off Apple TV’s Bad Sisters is anything but.
The five Garvey sisters assemble round the coffin: the eldest, Eva (Sharon Horgan); the quiet one, Grace ( Duff); the practical one, Ursula (Eva Birthistle); the fiery one, Bibi (Sarah Greene); and the baby Becka (Eve Hewson).
The deceased is Grace’s husband John Paul (Claes Bang), a man so odious the only person who truly cares he’s dead is the life insurance agent (Brian Gleeson) who doesn’t fancy issuing the 800,000 euro payout.
But his grisly death was an accident… or maybe not. ‘You can’t just explode a man,’ says Eva, as Bibi darkly suggests a solution to their problems. But maybe, when that man is as hideously awful as JP, you can.
Unaffectionately (yet somewhat kindly, considering how awful he is) nicknamed ‘The P***k’, JP is a despicable bloke and each episode sees him slowly grinding down each of the women in turn. Bang is worryingly good in the part (every time he calls Grace ‘Mammy’ your stomach will lurch), his face settling into a smug mask as he delivers endless cruel barbs at the women in his thankfully shortened life.
Co-creator and star Horgan has adapted the series from successful Belgian drama The Out-laws, but its Irish-ness is one thing that makes this very dark comedy work; the bleak, dry humour lends itself to the rather sombre subject matter, while the tight-knit family unit reigns above all else (plus all the shots of the dramatic Irish coastline are rather lovely).
Making a comedy series about domestic abuse can’t have been easy, but Bad Sisters is far from a gag-making machine. Compelling storytelling, a brilliant ensemble cast and top-notch dialogue make the series a standout – a classic whodunit with a satisfyingly subversive feminist twist.
The pace is admittedly glacial, but with five fascinating sisters to get to know, it’s a worthy way to spend ten 50-minute episodes. Don’t feel inclined to binge though, as Bad Sisters is a show that needs ample time for rumination, and Apple TVs one-episode-a-week dosage will keep you satisfied.
So the final question left to ask is which one of sisters Ki**ed JP? And will they get away with it? I bloody hope they do.
Bad Sisters is available to stream on Apple TV+ now
Do you find OkayWap useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!