Open Your Eyes [Otwórz oczy] 2021 TV Series Review
Opening Shot: We see a young woman sleeping fitfully, and we hear screams in her head. She wakes up suddenly.
The Gist: The girl (Maria Wawreniuk) has no idea where she is or even who she is. She notices a bad burn on her arm. As she gets up to start her day, an alarm clock goes off and tells her what she has remembered about herself. Her parents died in a fire. She’s named after her aunt but she doesn’t know what her name is. She’s 17 and her birthday is February 6. She’s told that her mother used to tell her that her teeth would fall out if she didn’t brush them. She’s been there for four days, and for now she’s called NN (for “No Name”).
As she makes her way around this massive hospital-like old building with modern furniture and lighting, she sees another person her age dancing. She soon is joined by other teens, all of whom have been in the Second Chance memory disorder center for some time. Iza (Klaudia Koscista), a particularly outgoing patient with pink hair, gives NN the scoop on what to expect there.
Therapy with the center’s director, Dr. Zofia Morulska (Marta Nieradkiewicz), will mostly consist of her trying to draw information out of the patient, not spoon feed any information. Everyone there has gone through the same things she has, and they’re all remembering different things. It is a slow process, though. What Iza also says is that cultivating a talent you have generally helps with memory.
During her session with Dr. Zofia, NN remembers that her dad told her to hold hot mugs by the handle, and remembers what her aunt looked like, just not her name. But just as she tries to find that name, there’s a disturbance outside; Dr. Zofia has to retrieve a crazed patient named Magda (Sara Celler Jezierska) from running away through the woods.
The next morning, NN hears someone call for someone else, named Karolina; when she asks the doctor if that’s her name, the doc says that when you remember your name, you’re certain of it. She also hears awful piano music; she’s told that it’s a returning student named Adam (Ignacy Liss), who ran away not long ago. NN eventually meets Adam, after she chases an orphan girl into the center’s auditorium. She not only discovers that she’s a good piano player, but when Adam asks her what her name is, “Julia” comes out like she never forgot it.
Our Take: Open Your Eyes starts slowly, as we watch Julia try to feel her way through the start of a day where she knows so little about herself or why she’s there. But once she starts meeting her fellow patients, like a lithe dancer named Syzmon (Wojiech Dolatowski), a goofball named Pawel (Michal Sikorski) and a smart girl named Milena (Zuzanna Galewicz), the show kicks into gear as a strange teen drama, one that we’re not quite sure has a handle on what it wants to be.
For sure, there’s something afoot at the Second Chance institute, and Julia will find out more as she pieces together the accident that brought her there to begin with. As it is, Magda is lurking about ready to pounce and tell Julia that a girl named Karolina is the key to Julia getting the answers she wants. But are we going to have to wade through more not-so-scintillating scenes of Julia trying to sift through her spotty memory in order for that plot to get going?
We’re definitely given a few clues by the end of the episode, and we know that Dr. Zofia knows a lot more about Julia than Julia knows about herself. But what we’re not sure about is if the series is going to dive deeply into that exploration. We know that Julia and Adam will form a bond, and that Adam might be one of the more dangerous patients in Second Chance. But will we find out more about Julia’s new friend group? Will this show focus on the creepy stuff going on at the facility or will we get asides about teens with amnesia?
It’s just not clear after the first episode, which is why we’re not sure what to think about this show. We do know that the first episode could have had a much faster pace, considering the slow moments neither creeped us out nor built tension. But things may pick up steam as the series rolls along.
Originally published at decider