My weekends are a sacred time. I use them to sleep-in and unwind from the week before. If I’m feeling cheeky, I’ll hit up a local bunch spot with my friends (bottomless peach Bellinis anyone?). But usually, I spend them catching up on the shows I missed and maybe discovering a few hidden gems on Netflix. Last weekend, I hit the jackpot. I decided to watch the Belgian series Hotel Beau Séjour on a complete whim and I was hooked before the end of the first episode.
The premise of Hotel Beau Séjour is this: after a night out at her small town’s shooting festival, Kato wakes up on a hotel bed dazed and covered in blood. After taking a few moments to reorient herself, she gets up and walks into the bathroom where she sees her own corpse tossed into the bathtub. She has no recollection of the night before or of who murdered her.
Only five people can see her while she roams around as the living dead. In addition to finding out who killed Kato, another central mystery of the series becomes discovering why they possess this ability. These “seers” include Kato's father, step-sister, an attractive stranger, the local police chief, and one of her childhood friends.
Generally, when I choose to watch a crime show, I prefer instant gratification. I have made it through eleven seasons of Criminal Minds, but I find it nearly impossible to sit through more drawn-out shows like Broadchurch, Happy Valley, and The Fall. I like to see the crime happen and then “catch” the killer all within a 50-60 minute sitting.
Full disclosure, Hotel Beau Séjour is nothing like that.
The pacing is a slow burn. The setting is drab, creepy, and foreboding. And as we know from Twin Peaks and Riverdale, there is always something ominous about a small town murder.
The ten episodes in this series are filled with frustrating coverups by those in power, exposed secrets, and tragic plot twists. These elements are all mindfully sprinkled in to make sure your scent is completely thrown off by the end. After a marathon of suspense and build-up, once the killer is finally revealed, it is the most bittersweet release.
Once I finished on Sunday, I could not stop thinking about it. I tried to find articles about it and maybe a few gif-sets to reblog on my tumblr. But the fandom landscape is bleak, y'all. So do us both a favor and go watch this show as soon as you can (...preferably while sending me a livestream of your thoughts while doing so).