A steady job, a solid relationship and a newly engaged sister crush the soul of 28-year-old Alma on Amazon Prime’s Undone. “The Crash” changes her world forever.
Amazon Prime’s Undone was created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman) and Kate Purdy (BoJack Horseman). Unlike BoJack, Undone is not animated. It’s not fully animated, anyway. The actors were filmed and then rotoscoped into backdrops and settings that add a touch of whimsy to mundane daily life in San Antonio, Texas.
The first four episodes are co-written by Bob-Waksberg and Purdy. All eight episodes were directed by Hisko Hulsing (The Junkyard), who has also worked on several movies in the animation department. Hulsing designed the animation for Cobain: Montage of Heck. In Undone, he’s gifted with some amazing acting performances. The rotoscoping never gets in the way. Facial expressions and subtle body movements aren’t animated out of scenes. The scripts take us down some dark, existential paths. And I loved every minute of it.
The Winograd-Diaz Sisters
When we first meet Alma (Rosa Salazar), she feels like time is passing her by. Every single day is the same routine. She wakes up, showers, attaches her hearing aid, eats breakfast, goes to work, comes home, goes to bed, and then starts all over again. Alma feels like she’s meant for something more. But, she really doesn’t know what that is or how to get there.
Rosa Salazar consumes this role. We see a young woman who feels like her potential is not being realized. But her fears of missing out and existential angst are fully realized. And they’re eating away at her. Salazar does more acting with her eyes in “The Crash” than most actors attempt in an entire season of episodes. We’re being invited into an immersive experience. It’s pretty awesome.
Alma’s younger sister Becca (Angelique Cabral) invites her to a bar to announce her engagement. Alma notices the ring right away but waits for Becca to make the announcement. When she does, Alma plays it off. Becca knows that Alma doesn’t approve of her fiance, Reed Hollingsworth (Kevin Bigley). He’s rich, white, privileged, kind of loopy. But it’s Becca that speaks these arguments to Alma. How does she really feel about Reed? Plus, Becca seems to share a mutual attraction with the bartender, Tomas (Nicholas Gonzalez). None of this goes unnoticed by Alma.
When Alma gets home, she leaves articles of clothing all over the house leading to the bedroom. She gets into bed with her boyfriend Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay). She playfully wakes him up by humping his butt. She makes him promise that no matter what happens they will never settle down, have kids, or wear a couples costume to a Halloween party. Sam agrees. But, and it’s a big but, if they do end up having kids and settling down it would be awesome. Sam seems cool and all. You can feel his love for Alma. I don’t want to say he’s clingy. But I’m clingy and game recognizes game.
Sam’s answers and feelings are endearing. Alma appreciates them. But, she does not want to settle down in any way. When she and Sam go to Becca’s engagement dinner, Alma draws a mustache on her face. They are greeted at the door by Alma’s mom, Camila (Constance Marie). She’s happy to see Sam. She scolds Alma for disrespecting her sister and trying to make the night about her. As soon as they get in the house, Layton Hollingsworth (John Corbett) cracks a joke about Alma looking like the Pringles man. Alma asks Sam if they can leave before the dinner part of the dinner starts.
While driving home, Alma and Sam are talking. Sam is clearly happy and comfortable in the relationship. Alma’s eyes get really wide and squint at the same time. She’s made a realization and is trying to make sure she should act on it. She tells Sam that she loves him, but they need to talk. Uh oh.
We also see Alma working at a daycare owned by Tunde (Daveed Diggs). She’s just a precocious as the kids. One kid, in particular, Cassie (Nova Reed), likes to challenge Alma. But, Alma is down with it and knows exactly how to approach Cassie. It’s pretty clear that Tunde is a little concerned with how Alma handles herself sometimes, but she cares about the kids and they like her.
Days later at the bar, Alma and Becca are doing shots of tequila over the news that Alma has broken up with Sam. Tomas starts to do shots with them. All three end up back at Alma’s. Sam has moved out and took all of the furniture with him. Damn, Alma. She doesn’t care about that, though. As the three play truth or dare, Alma dares Becca and Tomas to kiss. They do. At Alma’s insistence, the kiss goes on for a while and becomes deeper.
The next morning at church, Alma is sitting next to her mom listening to an impassioned young priest named Father Miguel (Tyler Posey) deliver his homily. Her head cocks in an emotionally interested way. Camila notices this. She regards her daughter and then smiles. Alma may not be able to date Father Miguel, but at least she’s interested in church.
Becca shows up late and hungover from the night before. She also got the disheveled look of someone who made bad decisions. Was that kissing Tomas? Or was the bad decision getting engaged to Reed? Outside of church, Alma and Becca have it out. Alma acts like someone who intentionally sabotaged her sister’s engagement, but wants to remain innocent. Becca accuses Alma of being selfish and wasting her life.
She insists that she deserves better than what she’s giving herself. Enraged, Alma drives off. She’s speeding down the stark San Antonio roads and crying. The collection of tears almost looked like glitter. Then, on the passenger side of her car, a figure materializes. It’s her dad, Jacob (Bob Odenkirk). As Alma’s jaw drops, she gets t-boned by oncoming traffic.
Did you enjoy the series premiere of Undone? What do you think of Alma and Becca’s relationship? Let’s discuss in the comments!