Okay, I'm a little heated. I don't know why exactly, but I assumed this was a miniseries in the typical HBO vein: eight episodes of a book adaptation, straight shot. And there was so much I liked about it — Ansel Elgort not being part of that, but otherwise this was a laundry list of great things: incredible setting, incredible direction, beautiful cinematography, knockout performances by Ken Watanabe and Show Kasamatsu (the latter whom I have never seen before, and if this show doesn't propel him into atmospheric orbit I will be devastated!). I was easing into what was sure to be a glorious finale, with a number of thick and fascinating plot threads all set to collide.
And then. Nothing happened.
I can't say nothing happened — things happened. The final hour of this first season of television had a lot of pieces moving on the ol' chessboard; it also had a truly gratuitous ten minutes devoted towards two leads tweaking on meth. You know what didn't happen? A single iota of plot resolution. There was no gestalt! I'm not a purist — I don't think a season of television has to be a complete entity unto itself — but I was legitimately shocked when the episode ended as it did and we discovered that no, there is no more story for it to tell, try again next summer.
Again, I'm heated. Perhaps this is an overreaction, because as a mood poem this show works so well. There is a lot to like about it, and I had a great time watching it. But I spent eight hours following this thing with nothing to show for it; the chessboard has progressed, but no single plot thread has reached any sense of closure or climax. It feels cheap; I was promised a story, not an unceasing arc of rising action.