In Review: Kiss Me First – Episode 5

Leila and Tess reach Adrian's paradise, and Leila must go to extreme lengths to save her friend

Synopsis: Adrian’s game “to stop the witch” reaches its real life climax, but Leila’s doubts leave a lingering question in Tess’s fragile mind.

Review: This was a phenomenal episode. Haruka Abe’s Tippi steals every scene she is in. I loved her expressions when Tess plays the tape of Adrian’s voice and the scene between Leila, Tippi and Tess was the highlight of the episode. Tess’s “No.” to Leila as she tries to convince her to leave was very well done by Simona Brown. The implication that Tess could be losing her mind was superbly put forward by Simona Brown. The actress succeeds in showing the ambiguity that Tess might not be fully under Adrian’s control, but still enough that Leila needs to rescue her excellently.

Tallulah Haddon shows Leila’s grit and courage well here. Leila’s anger at Kyle for saying Jocasta’s name while they had sex was fantastically conveyed. There was a good feminist touch when Leila knocks Kyle out and takes the car. Freddie Stewart provides a great contrast to Matthew Aubrey’s Jonty in his treatment of Leila that subverts the “macho” stereotype that Stewart portrays.

There are some great human moments from Tippi when she says “I thought I would be the special one.” as well as her poignant description of her earlier life and the sanctuary that Adrian appears to have given her. Haruka Abe really shows her acting abilities in this episode. Matthew Beard delivers some truly excellent monologues throughout this outing that humanise his character and provide some reasoning behind Adrian’s actions. I loved this line: “A real game is something you’re not sure you can actually win.” This becomes a deadly truth when Leila is forced to kill Kyle to save Tess’s life.

The scene of Tess exploring the mansion only to turn and scream at Tippi’s approach was well done by Simona Brown. Her scene with Tallulah Haddon outside the former’s room was a great and very human interaction. Haddon plays the concerned friend very well here which makes it all the more heartbreaking when she gives up on trying to convince Tess. I really liked it when the toys and computer came alive in Leila’s room and the sinister game that Adrian forces the three young women to play. While we have yet to see Matthew Beard in person his character could be seen as a polemic against technology itself, given that he communicates only through devices and none of the other characters ever see him. It is possible that we will never see Adrian in person which might be for the best considering the seemingly omnipotent Chessmaster that his character has been.

The music used in this episode was phenomenal. My favorite composition were the violins that played after Leila subdued Tippi which segued into a darker and more terrifying dissonance as Tess enters the water. The idyllic score as Tess takes her first tablet was ironic given the horror and wrongness of what was happening. The use of electrical interference over soft music was used well in this episode and seemed to represent the awfulness underneath the apparent beauty and safety of the mansion.

Overall, an outstanding penultimate episode that left me wondering how the story would end.

Kiss Me First - Episode 5
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music
  • CGI

I'm a writer on the autistic spectrum who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
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