Roar is a star-studded Girlboss anthology that occasionally moans | TV/Streaming


Most of the other episodes fit better into that brief half hour, though, and the season’s best entries are the ones that go all the way to magical realism. “The Woman Who Was Kept on a Shelf” is a real highlight, with Gilpin as the image-obsessed trophy wife who finds that status literalized when her businessman husband (a benignly cruel Daniel Dae Kim) built a high shelf in her terracotta desk for her to sit on all day and all night. “All you have to do is sit back and be loved,” he coos, as we see the existential hell that comes when women are literally put on a pedestal. Gilpin is fantastic here, with brilliant, Chaplinesque physicality that she puts to good use both on and off the shelf; the final stretch of the episode, where she discovers the liberating joy of making a life for herself (complete with a sequence of dancing with a sundress on the beach), is one of the best sequences in the entire anthology.

Other strong entries include “The Woman Who Returned Her Husband”, in which an older Indian woman (the ever-genius Meera Syal) chooses to return her uninteresting husband (Bernard White) as if he were a lawnmower Defective Costco. It’s a charming lark about the path not taken and the transactional nature of romantic relationships. “The Woman Who Was Fed by a Duck” sees Merritt Wever as a frustrated single woman in her thirties who finally finds the manduck of her dreams (voiced by Justin Kirk), only to slowly discover he’s just as passive-aggressive and manipulative than any man on the prowl. And the closer season, “The Woman Who Loved Horses,” is a charming “True Grit” western about Jane (Fivel Stewart), a young Chinese-American cowgirl who poses as a boy to get revenge on the outlaw. -la-loi (Alfred Molina) who killed his father. The real secret sauce in this episode is the exuberant presence of “Moonrise Kingdom” Kara Hayward as Millie, the nervous preacher’s daughter who nonetheless accompanies Jane on her journey and proves to be incredibly resourceful. Together they see the violent way men navigate the Wild West and imagine something better for themselves.

While each episode’s resolute concepts can prove limiting at times, they lend each hour a singular focus that only occasionally leans into the lecture. “The Woman Who Ate Photographs” gives you the bizarre sight of Nicole Kidman eating Polaroids with the greed of a starving woman, but backs it up with a story of aging, loss, and memory (and offers Kidman a handsome scene partner in Judy Davis as Kidman’s acerbic, dementia-stricken mother). Cynthia Erivo’s ‘The Woman Who Found Bite Marks on Her Skin’ star navigates similar tensions to Rae’s episode about the boundaries and condescension black women experience in professional settings, dovetailing with the heightened work-life challenges that working mothers face.


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