Someone Has to Die is a build-up for a single event while remaining heavily thematic and strong in its messages.
This review of Netflix limited series Someone Has to Die contains no spoilers.
We recapped the series — check out the archive.
With the streaming service bringing out a flurry of content in October, they’ve slyly released this tense period drama to fill the time. Someone Has to Die relies on anticipation — with no pressure for a continuation or a second season, the story centers on a family in Spain in the 1950s that is caked in secrets and unspoken words. The main arc is the son of the family, Gabino, who is secretly gay and when he arrives home from Mexico with his friend, all suspicions turn to him.
Of course, for a period drama, we have to take into account the times. Gabino is under a weight of pressure to get married and find himself a firm job. There’s plenty of hope in the story that is implied; Gabino hopes to continue traveling rather than be under the roof of his father who is trying to live his life vicariously through him. The community repeatedly utters homophobic slurs, and there’s a real discontent to rumors or the possibility of someone being gay; it often surprises me how things used to be, but then again, we do have a history of “witch-hunting” — Someone Has to Die brings the theory that as a human race, we always fear something that is perceived differently and match it with violent oppression — the story in this series embodies that.
Netflix’s Someone Has to Die couples the homophobia in the community with family secrets and an abundance of hierarchy; the period drama reflects how family functioned at the time — wealth within the estate and the eagerness to carry on the bloodline. Nothing is surprising in this period drama, but it’s a reminder of the progress we’ve made, and the progress we still need to make.
This is a limited series, and for three chapters, there’s nothing to grumble about. The title is suggestive, so the audience needs to expect violence eventually — Someone Has to Die is a build-up for a single event while remaining heavily thematic and strong in its messages.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.