The new supernatural thriller series, The Rig, starts by developing an uneasy atmosphere and intrigue. The crew on the Kinloch Bravo oil rig are cut off from the rest of the world when their communication lines fail suddenly. This issue is caused by a mysterious fog that engulfs the oil rig. Then unexpectedly, the whole rig starts shaking, and soon, ashes fall down like snow from the sky. As if all this was not weird enough, a crew member named Baz (Calvin Demba) falls down from a tower, heals quickly and magically, and starts to behave creepily. The crew is in serious trouble and running out of time (apparently, waves are coming).
The Rig appears taut initially. It effectively grabs our interest and ignites our curiosity. What is that fog? Is Baz possessed? What about those ashes? How can it harm humans? Rose (Emily Hampshire), a scientist, explains that those ashes contain living organisms, and if you are exposed to them, chances are you might get infected. If you are wounded, you are in more trouble. Baz is obviously infected, and as the series progresses, two more characters get contaminated by what seems like a virus. Are the infected foe or friend? Things will not be clear until the final few episodes.
Everyone on the rig is trapped and desperate to go home. In a situation like this, humans become aggressive and gradually start to turn on each other. There is Hutton (Owen Teale), who takes the responsibility of turning the crew hostile towards their leader, Magnus (Iain Glen). He does so by bringing up a secret concerning the decommissioning of the rig. But Hutton is not able to make the crowd go wild. Magnus calms the crew down through his speech, though some characters are pissed about this new reveal. Still, no sense of danger ever comes from the side of humans, even when Hutton makes problematic decisions.
Is the supernatural occurrence so frightful that characters like Hutton seem pale in comparison? Well, the thing is that The Rig never tries hard to make the humans appear threatening (someone's appearance in the penultimate episode proves to be too little too late). They are not psychologically pushed to the brink, the catalyst for which could be provided through something like the shortage of ration on the rig. Someone briefly mentions it, but the series doesn't go to that territory. Yes, Magnus begins to see certain visions, but their impact is diluted because the series struggles while juggling multiple things. It wants to amaze us with nerdy conversations, spook us with bizarre incidents, and focus on personal relationships. The Rig has ambition, all right. However, it withers with progression.
You develop fatigue while binge-watching The Rig. That's a familiar feeling you get from most shows nowadays, as not all of them know how to use their runtime engagingly. Every episode of The Rig ends on an exciting note, but the following episode always deflates the tension. As a result, those endings come across as a cheap hook, making sure that we don't check out of the series. Admittedly, The Rig never becomes boring. However, you sense that it's also stretching itself and killing time. Moreover, the slow pace doesn't seem like a nook steadily tightening around our necks.
The actors are committed and, to an extent, prevent the accumulation of tedium. What's also admirable is the labyrinth design of the oil rig. The camera snakes through its tight spaces and corridors and, gradually, makes us feel as trapped as the crew of the Kinloch Bravo oil rig. After a while, you also get the urge to run away from this location, which you can consider as part complaint and part compliment. The lines and the lips are out of sync in some places, and the human emotions consisting of love, grief, and guilt are all executed mechanically. That's why you merely observe the characters from a distance without rooting for them. You don't care who dies or survives. You just want to get it over with.
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