[This post originally appeared as part of Recommendation Machine, IndieWire’s daily TV picks feature.]
As tends to be the case in stories where families are on the verge of disintegrating, “Everything Will Be Fine” has plenty of instances where its characters are sure they’re making a quality decision, when that turns out not to be true. There are also plenty of moments where, for the show overall, that dynamic is flipped — tracking a small family and a marriage on the verge of collapse, “Everything Will Be Fine” takes some ideas that would otherwise feel expected and familiar and flips them inside out.
Julia (Lucía Uribe) is an artist, working at an advertising agency and trying to preserve her creative integrity. Ruy (Flavio Medina) has a steady on-air job at a radio station, where his professed values line up with those of his employer but his actions (both seen and inferred) don’t always do the same. Together, they’re navigating a potential separation while putting on a good face for their daughter Andrea (Isabella Vazquez Morales). There are certainly moments after the show begins that help crystallize why this couple was already having problems. Yet one of the shrewd choices of “Everything Will Be Fine” is opting to show a marriage dying by a dozen cuts rather than hinging on one fateful choice or misstep.
Over eight episodes directed by Diego Luna, Julia, Ruy, and Andrea become a trio on choppy waters. As they try to hide secrets from each other (and sometimes, in a way, from themselves), new developments slowly start to see them all drifting apart. There’s a core sense of tragedy in seeing a partnership crack, but “Everything Will Be Fine” is also a keen observer of the details along the way that add a darkly comic, slightly absurd edge to how it all plays out.
The pacing of these scenes feels informed by Luna’s experiences as an actor. Whether it’s smaller everyday glimpses of getting ready around the house or realizations that come at work or the eventual scenes when Ruy and Julia have to make their respective custody cases, there’s always an extra beat or a kind of stillness that lets each of these performers sit in these moments. And this ensemble, particularly Uribe, takes full advantage of that additional care.
That helps strengthen “Everything Will Be Fine” as it shifts through different perspectives. This show isn’t just locked into one side of a parent fight. Nor does it merely latch onto Ruy or Julia as the default object of sympathy as they each deal on their own with each new revelation. There’s also a sense of balance when it switches to how Andrea is taking everything in, and not only as an onlooker to verbal showdowns. (At her birthday party, the moment it’s clear what she’s doing with her friends — and how that idea has been gradually seeded in the episodes before it — is an expert reveal.)
Even though the show is primarily focused on this family, “Everything Will Be Fine” is conscious of how a single dispute like this can have a large ripple effect. “Everything Will Be Fine” is attuned to the people who float around the outside of Julia and Ruy’s troubles, from new romantic interests to those who have worked for and with the family for decades. The show’s writing team deserves credit for helping to set up a world where all it takes is a few sentences to hint at a shared history that goes beyond the boundaries of the marriage at the show’s heart.
And all of this plays out with a palpable energy. It’s not just Ruy’s personal playlist of driving punk tunes that keeps the show moving forward. Even particular scenes like one that finds someone especially defeated and eating elote all alone has its own spirit bubbling up underneath. The season’s last episode ends a note of defiance and a question that invites a clear path to a welcome Season 2, should the opportunity arise. The pair under the microscope in “Everything Will Be Fine” might be stuck in a rut that they’re having trouble getting out of, but the same certainly can’t be said for the show itself.