Note: This review contains mild spoilers.
Netflix’s Echoes has all the ingredients for a compelling drama, but none of them ever come together to make for anything satisfying.
Echoes tells the story of identical twins, Leni and Gina, both played by Michelle Monaghan. The twins have secretly spent their lives switching places since they were children, sharing everything – resulting in double lives as adults. However, after one of the sisters goes missing, the sisters soon find their lives both uprooted as secrets begin to surface that’ll change their lives forever.
It’s hard to properly explain just how terrible Echoes is because there are elements that are great. Monaghan is one of them. She’s electric on screen and her scenes with Matt Bomer are fantastic. Unfortunately, though, neither Bomer nor Monaghan could carry this mess of a series. It’s as if the writers didn’t know where they wanted to take the story, so they continued to add drama for the sake of it. Both Leni and Gina are terrible characters, and while it might be a bit harsh, neither character is worthy of redemption. By the end, it’s unlikely viewers will like either Leni or Gina.
The entire concept of switching lives every year without those closest to them knowing is a touchy-subject, especially as these characters shared everything – including their partners who hadn’t a clue. Even worse, the women somehow managed to get away with numerous crimes because their choice to switch made it difficult for law enforcement to determine who was responsible for what. It’s incredibly frustrating. They ruined so many lives and were never truly held accountable for their actions. Yes, the finale suggests that might finally change in a second season, but it’s frustrating just how easily some of these folks forgive the sisters.
And then there’s the Dylan storyline – a plotline that quickly appears and then nearly forgotten soon after. Given what happens to Dylan and the sisters, this should’ve been something handled across multiple episodes and with more care. Especially when it comes to the lives lost. It is one of the many instances that felt as though it was written in just for dramatic effect, but with no proper plan on how to properly handle it.
The most frustrating part of Echoes, though, is that it does a pretty bad job at fleshing out its characters. While Monaghan gives both roles everything she has, the writing doesn’t do enough to really showcase a difference between Leni and Gina. That’s something that is pretty important given that the two are supposed to be very, very different. One is supposed to be more dominant, while the other is supposed to blindly follow along. Outside of some slight mannerism changes by Monaghan, it just doesn’t feel as though enough effort was made in developing their characterizations. It’s something that ruins the ending.
After everything these two have done – the fire, what happened to Claudia, switching lives – it’s frustrating that we never truly get to know Leni and Gina individually. Yes, the series is about them becoming one another and switching places every year, but there should still be some indicators of individuality. Something.
For a series that only consists of seven episodes, Echoes feels so much longer. It drags, constantly being pulled down by useless plotlines that make little sense.
Echoes is streaming now on Netflix.