Muted Season 1 Review and Plot Summary
The premise runs thusly. Sergio (Ar n Piper) is a young man who, in circumstances that remain deliberately mysterious for almost the entire season, killed both of his parents by sending them plummeting from the top floor of a city apartment block.
For his crime, Sergio was put into a surprisingly swanky juvenile detention facility. He never said anything about the crime and was indeed selectively mute for the entire period, hence the title (the Spanish version of which, El Silencio, is much cooler).
In an extraordinarily ill-conceived effort to dig into Sergio’s psyche and the precise motivations of his crime, Sergio is released and allowed to return to the literal scene of the crime, which is being monitored around the clock by hidden cameras and microphones, whereabouts tracked by electronic angle bracelet that also monitors his heart rate.
On the other end of these monitors is Ana (Almudena Amor), a psychiatrist with a breathtakingly obvious personal connection to the case. How this particular experiment would ever be allowed to take place is, unfortunately, a question that the show is both unwilling and unable to answer.
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The show undermines its unique hook by having Sergio’s titular mutism be selective. He’s perfectly happy to talk openly to some people, such as the pastor he’s forced to meet with as part of his parole and the female prison pen pal with whom he starts up an ill-advised relationship. This makes his silence feel more like an affectation than a genuine outgrowth of his trauma.
The character work here is also notably shoddy. Ana’s ulterior motives are incredibly obvious, as are those of the cop, Cabrera (Aitor Luna), overseeing the operation. These people are, clearly, pieces on a chessboard, to be moved around at the whims of a confounding plot that spares little thought for any logic or consistency in their behavior and motivations.
Is Muted Good or Bad?
But even the plot itself isn’t very good. It strains credibility to breaking point on multiple occasions, breaks its own internal logic, violates multiple essential storytelling principles, and then delivers huge twists just for the sake of it, without having set them up properly or considering their long-term implications.
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The tone’s the same. A gratingly self-serious attitude chafes against the essential silliness of the premise, which apparently doesn’t realize quite how ridiculous it is. Even its most compelling formal gimmick that much of its action takes place within the hazy ambit of home surveillance equipment, a style that earned Paranormal Activity six ill-advised sequels feels wasted, despite serviceable production design and early tension-building.
Is Muted Worth Watching?
Muted is just a mess on all fronts, and does extremely little to justify even the six episodes of the first season. That brevity is a mercy, I suppose, though one does wonder how crazy it might have gotten had it had more time to really settle in. Perhaps we’ll get another season to find out.