STARZPLAY UK TV review: Perpetual Grace, Ltd
Wait, this exists?10
Andrew Jones | On 06, Feb 2020
Perpetual Grace, Ltd is the latest show co-created by Steven Conrad, whose notable previous TV programme was Amazon Prime Video’s Patriot. Patriot, if you didn’t know, is an hour-long thriller that’s also a whimsical family drama and quirky oddball comedy about a spy who has been living in Amsterdam performing folk music that actively divulges the details of covert missions, while dealing with a politician brother and high-level operations father. This is all to say that Perpetual Grace, Ltd is also not a show that is easy to write a single line of description of its narrative, tone or even five minutes of it.
Ostensibly, Perpetual Grace, Ltd Begins as a heist drama. A drifter (Paul – Damon Herriman) tells a grifter (James – Jimmi Simpson) of a place where an old couple (Pastor Byron Brown – Sir Ben Kingsley – and Lillian – Jacki Weaver) take in those who require extreme rehabilitation and hold a lot of money for their services, then claims they are easy targets. As the first few episodes unfold, however, there’s a lot to unpack in the broken backstory of grifter James, and the secrets held, not unlike the fortune, at Byron and Lillian’s place. But when you mix in Terry O’Quinn’s Texas ranger, Wesley Walker, Luis Guzman as Hector, an easily purchased law authority, and Timothy Spall as Donald DeLoash, a man with a vendetta, every moment you watch the show immediately feels like it’s forming new TV genres before your very eyes.
Naturally, the saving grace of Perpetual Grace, Ltd is that the show performs the tight-wire act of playfully launching one hundred plotlines and character perspectives with such strong wit and humour, and an extraordinary auteuristic vision, that you’re never bored or annoyed or confused – you’re just at one with the universe, going with the unique and wondrous flow of the show that Conrad and co-creator Bruce Terris are offering, from the gloriously written dialogue and brilliantly crafted split-screens or montages to the sheer vulgarity of the language, the violence, and, most important of all, the show’s breadth of love and passion and technical insanity. You will never see a show quite like this, and what “this” is remains nearly impossible to put into any clarity. Maybe Perpetual Grace, Ltd is a feeling more than a show, maybe it’s an experience, maybe it’s simply a fever dream. You might tell others to watch the show and discover it never was, and your brain made it all up. How else would you explain Timothy Spall’s appearance in fish-out-of-water comedy sequences? And Jimmi Simpson talking to a spacesuit? And Sir Ben Kingsley’s specific and repeated vulgar mantra?
But Perpetual Grace, Ltd is real. And it is great. And bizarre. And completely addictive, fascinating peak TV. At once suited for the binge, but with specific end-points to each hour-long narrative stretch, it’s a masterclass in singular vision creation, in how a team can come together to make something so out there yet compelling throughout every shifting, changing, evolving moment. It boasts a stunning cast, gorgeous visuals, and hilarious and fascinating writing – a perfect mix of elements to make a show that should never logically exist, a diamond in the mines of TV. Seek it out, examine it, stare into it, contemplate every edge, every reflection, every shimmer and spark, and you’ll get a lot out of Perpetual Grace, Ltd – even if you’re never truly sure it even happened.
Perpetual Grace, Ltd: Season 1 is available to watch online in the UK on STARZPLAY, a streaming service that costs £4.99 a month. The platform is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV and Virgin Media On Demand or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, as an add-on subscription to your existing account.