History: The last patient of psychiatrist Dr Suzanne Mathis (Emily Deschanel) is a young woman, allegedly a victim of abuse, given the massive pentagram that was carved into her back. Aided by Suzanne’s information about victim Mae Dodd (Madeleine Arthur), the police deduce that she is a fugitive from a mysterious cult in Amontown and therefore still in danger. Suzanne, who carries unresolved issues from her own abusive childhood, makes it her mission to keep Mae safe and takes her home, which ends up at great personal cost to her.
Analysis: Bones star Emily Deschanel’s latest film, Devil in Ohio, runs for eight episodes of approximately 45 minutes each to explore the story of Mae Dodd (Madeleine Arthur), a teenager who has run away from the only life she has known until then – an isolated cult in a part of the city that has its own jurisdiction, Amontown. Not much is known about life in Amontown or the people, but there are rumors of worship of a certain Lucifer Morningstar (sadly, no Tom Ellis version of the devil here).
Mae, according to her community, was the ‘chosen one’ to save them; a destiny and a future she wasn’t on board with. And when she’s taken into Suzanne’s care and introduced to her family, which includes two teenagers the same age and a younger one, Mae realizes there’s so much more to life than obeying the rules she grew up with. And so, she is determined to ensure that she continues to enjoy the perks of this new life, no matter what.
As Suzanne spends more time in Mae’s care or trying to find out more about her and the cult she left behind, her family life begins to disintegrate. And even as she recognizes that she needs to prioritize her family over Mae, the savior complex kicks in. Suzanne was a victim of abuse in her childhood at the hands of her stepfather, who routinely beat her mother as well. Despite her best efforts, Suzanne was never able to get her mother to leave him and, as a therapist pointed out, she may harbor some resentment toward her mother for allowing the abuse to continue.
Strangely, for someone trained in the intricacies of the human mind, Suzanne not only fails to see her own shortcomings, but ignores all signs that point to Mae still clinging tightly to her belief system. But that’s not the only problem with Devil in Ohio – the series struggles to fit into a stand. It’s not a horror show about a cult, and it’s not even about teen drama. It’s a mix of many elements that prevent it from being a captivating sight.
Verdict: Season 1 of The Devil in Ohio ends with the possibility of a comeback. Mae managed to secure her life with Suzanne, albeit at the expense of Suzanne’s family, a series of developments she is now familiar with. But even if it doesn’t get renewed for another season, this one ends without many loose ends. Devil in Ohio is not recommended to watch; you can save it to your watch list for a rainy day. That’s literally what I did yesterday when Bangalore was being pelted with heavy rain – hot cup, onion pakoras and this Netflix show at 1.25 speed.