Well, what can I say? I’ve been missing in action, at least online anyway, for a good 12-24 hours because I’ve been binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit.
The Queen’s Gambit
Admittedly, I skipped over this Netflix recommendation several week’s ago because 1.) it was recommended, trending number one on the streaming service and I aways hate jumping onboard because someone else tells me to and, 2.) I thought it was strictly about chess to which I know nothing about. The description sounded boring – note to Netflix – up your game on descriptions.
Well, then I saw some people talking about it online and so last night I started the damned series. I stayed up until 0200 and nearly watched it straight through. Until my husband finally came out and asked if I was coming to bed. I was in the middle of episode 7 at the time and didn’t know it was the last episode until this morning when I finished it off.
Let’s start with telling you what the queen’s gambit is in relation to chess: The Queen’s Gambit is a chess opening that starts with the moves: 1. d4 d5. … During the early period of modern chess, queen pawn openings were not in fashion, and the Queen’s Gambit did not become common until the 1873 tournament in Vienna. – from wikipedia.
Okay, whatever. It’s irrelevant.
And no, you do not have to know anything about chess to enjoy this series.
Elizabeth Harmon is orphaned at the age of 9 , when her mentally-ill mother tries to kill them both in an on-purpose car accident – Elizabeth obviously survives and is sent to the Metheun Orphanage for Girls where she escapes reality through chess and drugs.
Okay, it’s a little more than that – back in those days apparently they drugged the kids to keep them calm and obedient. Beth, also goes by her last name Harmon, befriends the school’s janitor and he ends up teaching her all about the game of chess. She takes to it very well and is the child prodigy.
When Beth gets adopted at the age of 13 she realizes that she is in the new household only to be a companion to yet another seemingly unstable matriarch but manages to maintains her own identity and discovers the world of chess tournaments.
Beth’s adopted mother does begin to grow on you and you start to understand where she is coming from – the loss of her own child and now abandoned by her husband, to be left alone with Beth. The two of them team up, however, and start their high-functioning drug and booze addicted adventures in the male dominated chess world.
Addiction to alcohol and drugs takes a hold on both of them and that is basically what the show is about. A 9-year old growing up playing chess, getting drunk and high, traveling around the world winning chess tournaments. She eventually makes long lasting friends, sobers up by the way, and wins everything.
It also has its obligatory gay scene/character, unrequited love, and of course some chess playing. The very few “love” scenes that were in the series transpired modestly and tastefully which was refreshing. It wasn’t all up in your face and if I remember correctly, no nudity at all.
So there you have it.
The sets, clothing, hair and makeup were to die for – all taking place in the late 50s and goes through to the mid-60s!! The story is not based on a real person but I wish it had been. I like the way it ended and honestly do not even want a second season. It is perfect the way it is.
I do love to escape into other worlds via movies and television – or series on streaming services. I can go to the extreme with it but I don’t care. What else do I have to do? It is something that brings me joy.
The next one I have started is called Emily in Paris.
More about Carol Marks, the blogger.
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