Well, if you were expecting Flesh and Bone to be all tutus and fancy choreography, I’m sure the premiere episode came as something of a shock. Starz new series, kicked off tonight and there was quite a bit of darkness from beginning to end. There’s a reason that they’re promoting this show by highlighting that it’s coming from the mind of Moira Walley-Beckett, who helped produced Breaking Bad. With that said, let’s jump into the first episode. If you haven’t done so yet, I suggest you watch first and then come back here later. Expect spoilers.
The show sets the tone right from the opening scene when we meet Claire (newcomer, Sarah Hay) as she’s escaping her home and an unknown male banging down the door to her bedroom. Claire quickly disappears out the bedroom window and is off to New York to audition for a the American Ballet Company. Right from the opening scene, the tone is set, promising that this show isn’t about the beauty of dance and the bright opportunities that can be found in the city. The audition scene runs a little long considering not much happens, but there’s definitely a sense that something bad is going to happen right from the beginning. But not so surprisingly, since we’re setting up the premise for the series, Clair gets the coveted spot. They don’t show much of her actual dancing, which is fine by me since I couldn’t point out great ballet technique anyway. And let’s face it, this show isn’t really about the dancing.
Once Claire gets the gig, she’s assigned to company housing where she’ll be rooming with Mia (Emily Tyra), and while Mia is friendly enough, there’s already no question that she’s the type of colleague that keeps score. It turns out that Claire’s getting into ABC off of her first audition is pretty damn unusual, and we get our first real taste that Clair is something special… and that that fact may not actually make things easier for her moving forward. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. During her very first practice, Claire’s phone goes off, offering up an easy opportunity for Paul (head choreographer? Program manager? General boss man?) to humiliate her. It’s only when she’s forced to dance for her life/spot (okay, yes, I stole that from So You Think You Can Dance) that Claire really begins to show everyone what she’s capable of, and all the higher-ups in the company seem to think she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
After a tough first day, Claire ends up back at the house of fellow ballerina, Daphne (who seems to be the least crazy of the group) to borrow some clothes for the upcoming company party. Instead, Claire ends up at Daphne’s second job as an “exotic dancer.” At first, Claire seems to be enjoying the whole experience, but as soon as a patron of the club makes a move on her by grabbing her ponytail, Claire instinctively lashes out, breaking her glass on the guys face. So, not a girl who likes to be touched. Through all of this, as well as her first day on the job, Claire has quickly earned her new nickname, “Bambi” as she stares wide-eyed at everything going on around her, and to be fair, there’s a lot to take in.
We switch over to a Paul scene, where he’s meeting with ABC patron, Laurent. He’s already hoping to use Claire (and her talent) to push the company in a new direction, for which he’ll need more of Laurent’s money. But first… a party! There’s a small, but infinitely swanky, rooftop party being put on for Laurent and the company. After brief introductions, Paul not so subtely suggests to Claire that she’ll need to get into their hosts good graces. And while neither says it out right, there’s no question that he doesn’t mean this in a purely professional manner. Claire manages to do as she’s told without really crossing any boundies, and it’s clear that Laurent is interested. He even stops by the company the following day to see her dance, leaving impressed. Great, right? Well, we’ll see.
In case you weren’t confident enough by now that Claire is running for something, the episode closes with a call from Claire’s recently returned marine brother. The same guy who she was running from at the beginning of the episode, which isn’t that surprising since the one time he was mentioned in the episode, it wasn’t exactly surrounded by good vibes. All our worst fears are confirmed when he finally gets Claire on the phone and demands to know where she is, all while lying in her childhood bedroom with his hand down his pants.
Even outside of the strip club, Flesh and Bone isn’t afraid to lean toward the darker side. There are sex and drugs throughout the episode, and undertones of it even when it’s not explicit. Outside of the dancing, there’s very little about this show that is especially pretty, and yet it still makes for riveting television. But, lucky us, the whole series is already available to watch. Still, we’ll be going week by week to give ourselves a bit more time to digest each episode. Head back here same time next week and we’ll jump back in.