Could you kill a man out of the desperate hope that his death might bring peace to anyone in his orbit? That’s the question asked and answered during the opening minutes of Apple TV+ black comedy Bad Sisters, an Irish remake of a Flemish series named Clan. We see a corpse, a grieving widow, and her clearly relieved sisters standing around the body of John Paul (JP), or as he’s more affectionately known — the prick. With that, the stage is set for a murder mystery that puts the unwavering strength of sisterhood at the forefront.
We know JP is going to die, and we know that his sisters-in-law have flirted with the idea of “giving nature a helping hand.” So finding out how the prick finally meets his demise is the delicious treat that awaits at the series conclusion. It’s a hook that’s hard to resist binge-watching for the simple fact that John Paul is a horrifically vile man, and calling him a prick is almost a kindness compared to the pain that he wrought.
From the opening episode of Bad Sisters, we are introduced to a rude and unlikable man, his brand of evil mundane and unfortunately common. Subtle jabs at his wife during a whole family dinner, a harsh tone used towards a disabled nephew, and nasty remarks pointed at his in-laws. None of those actions warrant death, but Bad Sisters uses its 10 episodes to masterfully escalate JP’s atrocities until you find yourself yelling, “Burn the prick!” at your screens.
The way this is executed is through flashbacks that highlight why each Garvey sister rightfully wants the man dead. One by one, we watch as the tight-knit band of sisters buy into the murder plot with the noble intent of saving their sister from John Paul’s harm. But what I love about Bad Sisters is that no one is a hero. Each of the Garvey clan has her own foibles, and it’s their own personal vendettas that truly drive them.
The grit, hope, rage, imperfection, and individual charm of the titular characters are what make them so wonderfully human and relatable. It’s the performances and pacing of the story that make it easy to believe you’d do the same in their shoes. Because JP is a villain, the type that doesn’t seek world domination but instead chooses to control another through fear and tyranny. He’s a modern monster that sends chills down your spine because he isn’t the work of fiction.
Bad Sisters is television that is emotive and empowering in all the right ways, using its episodic structure to beautifully move you towards an immensely satisfying conclusion. The season finale is one of the best in recent memory, neatly tying up loose threads and offering an ending worthy of the stellar characters and the path they’ve walked throughout the show.
I’ve been intentionally vague here because discovering the lived truth of the Garvey family is deeply compelling, expertly depicted, and exactly why Bad Sisters is a must-watch series. It’s a story of love in its purest form, the pain we accept for ourselves, and how we try to escape everyday evil. I loved it, and I hope that this hidden gem of a show gets to sparkle brightly for the expansive audience it deserves.