A Review of The Queen’s Gambit

Netflix’s newest series explores the dynamic of female representation through a thrilling game.

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image courtesy of Netflix

The show was extremely well-cast, representing female empowerment in a male-dominated world.

Anna Parsons, Staff Writer

The game of chess is one commonly overlooked, seen as the stereotypical nerdy hobby that individuals with immense time on their hands play. Netflix’s new limited series, The Queen’s Gambit, grabs this stereotype and throws it out the window. 

Beth Harmon is a young woman who, after becoming an orphan when her mother perished in a tragic car accident, develops a liking, and ultimately an obsession, with chess. Her talent is recognized immediately by her orphanage’s janitor and allows her to lead a highly competitive life, jumping from one chess battle to the next. 

Her talent is recognized immediately by her orphanage’s janitor and allows her to lead a highly competitive life, jumping from one chess battle to the next. ”

While her abilities are incredibly impressive and her life may seem quite wonderful to the naked eye, Harmon struggles horribly with drug and alcohol addiction that stemmed from tranquilizers given to her at the orphanage.

Harmon soon becomes dependent on the drugs to be able to visually see and practice games in her head. Without the drugs, she believed she’d be unable to understand the game to her best ability. Obviously, this becomes problematic as she goes through her teen years and into her early 20s. 

The dynamic that evolves, regarding female representation among a heavily male-dominated game, is quite unique, especially because the series is set in the late 1950s through the 1960s. Though Harmon experiences multiple peaks and valleys throughout the episodes, her constant portrayal of a confident woman who knows what she wants is one truly worth rooting for. 

The show also explores the importance of how the development of true relationships with people are the foundation of getting through tough times. The friendships that Harmon creates throughout her life as a chess player are key to her continuing success. 

Besides the actual storyline, The Queen’s Gambit included a fabulously talented cast. Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the main character, Beth Harmon, phenomenally captures a character that has seen much more bad than good. Her extremely expressive eyes and mysterious demeanor allow her to bring Beth Harmon to life to the fullest extent. 

Another brilliant actor in the show is Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who portrays one of Harmon’s closest friends and supporters, Benny Watts. One of the most impressive aspects of Thomas’ performance is that, though he is originally from the United Kingdom, he plays an American chess player with a distinct accent. Without prior knowledge of his English accent, audience members would never know the difference. 

From the excellent plot with progressive elements of empowerment to incredible actors with vast talent, The Queen’s Gambit, in my opinion, is one of the best Netflix series to ever exist.”

From the excellent plot with progressive elements of empowerment to incredible actors with vast talent, The Queen’s Gambit, in my opinion, is one of the best Netflix series to ever exist. Every viewer will leave their couch feeling like a professional chess player, ready to conquer the world. 

The limited series establishes a clear message about hard work paying off and the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles. Making a rather intense, yet non-action packed game like chess into a thrilling and adventurous experience is a difficult task accomplished perfectly by The Queen’s Gambit.

Binge-watching this amazing show is worth all seven hours that it would take. I strongly encourage you to spend a lazy day watching this magnificent masterpiece.