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First Kill review: It’s supposed to be corny

Imani Lewis as Calliope in First Kill
A look at Netflix’s new supernatural teen drama, First Kill. Pic credit: Netflix

Warning: This article contains spoilers for First Kill.

Blooming romance: The first look, the first time you think about holding hands, the awkwardness of it all, the terrible first kisses— something that most people have experienced at some point in their lives, and for the most awkward experiences, it happens as teenagers.

The awkward blooming romance is a huge part of Netflix’s First Kill series, but it’s not the only part. Yet, it seems to be one of the most criticized aspects of the series. It’s a new teenage romance; it’s supposed to be awkward.

One of the best parts of First Kill as an LGBT+ series is that being queer isn’t part of the plot. It’s there, it’s who they are, but the show doesn’t focus entirely on that being the only important thing about the characters or something to overcome. It’s just simply there, which is a relief for those who constantly have their identities debated.

First Kill focuses on two teenage girls fighting against everything they know and everything they’ve been raised to believe in in an effort to love each other while also staying alive.

First Kill portrays teenage romance in its true, awkward, realistic nature

Teenagers are generally always awkward, but teenage vampire fiction has a history and tendency to include most “cringy,” corny, and awkward works and tends to offer fans a lot of secondhand embarrassment. Does anyone remember Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Viewers watch from the very beginning just how awkward it can be to be a teenager— much less a teenage vampire.

As the series opens up and introduces legacy vampire teen Juliette Fairmont, she admits that she has never been very popular, but her best friend Ben is, so she is by association. She is a rather awkward teenage girl who doesn’t socialize much and relies on Ben to keep up her appearance as being as normal as possible.

However, she makes a complete fool of herself almost every single time she sees Calliope Burns, though she won’t talk to the girl she’s clearly head over heels with. Even as the two get to know each other, Juliette is still often very awkward.

Calliope is more confident and self-assured but still has the average teenage struggles to deal with, such as her parents, older brothers, moving from school to school, and trying to get assigned her first kill as a monster hunter.

As their romance blossoms, so do tensions between the two as their first kiss ends with a bite to the neck and a stake to the heart.

The play on Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy brings the story together with the forbidden romance and near-death experiences. The rival families make things more awkward for the girls as they are just trying to live normal lives.

What’s so unnatural about a monster hunter and her vampire girlfriend, anyway?

As awkward as it is to watch their makeout sessions and to watch the two do stupid things like break into the school to stay overnight, that’s what teenagers do. Teenagers are not perfect individuals, and that is clearly expressed in the show as each girl makes her fair share of mistakes.

That being said, there are several key points that could definitely be expanded upon if First Kill is renewed for Season 2 and beyond, especially when it comes to the family backstory.

First Kill’s plotholes and things to expand on

While watching the show, there were a few things that were explained in a sideways manner rather than upfront, which caused some confusion.

A big point of confusion was whether or not the humans knew that monsters existed. We know from the beginning that the hunters know, but there isn’t mention of them from anyone else until the monster siren goes off at the school.

Apparently, the people in the show are fully aware that monsters are real, even though it was never mentioned before that it’s common knowledge. A brief explanation was given that Savannah’s rough history has always plagued the city with monsters, but the lore gets a little confusing.

The biggest point of contention for me is the whole backstory between Oliver and Elinor. Sebastian clearly knows about Elinor’s powers, but they’re rarely mentioned and only used a handful of times.

However, if her parents know that she has an insatiable thirst for power and the ability to make people do things with her given power, why was she never suspected when it came to Oliver? Were her actions simply ignored because it’s a matriarchy, or did she trick her parents too?

It’s really hard to say what all is going on there and it would be a really good point to expand more on. Oliver’s entire backstory needs more elaboration, but understandably, only so much can be fit into a show when it’s based on a book.

Is First Kill worth watching?

If you are looking for a teenage drama, yes. If you are interested in LGBT+ romances being portrayed as rather normal and not as a life-sacrificing love, yes, absolutely.

If you’re looking for an adulterated series with complex plots and stellar animation, this may not be the show for you.

The show’s animation is not the best and looks rather low-budget, particularly when it comes to the snake. However, it does not ruin the show. There are still many lovable moments between the characters and honestly, sometimes the way the CGI looks makes it funnier.

Though it has a mature rating, it is a series that follows teenage characters, and the characters act like teenagers. They make the decisions that teenagers would be expected to make.

First Kill is now streaming on Netflix.

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