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Why Women Kill - Transforming Characters
in seasons 1 and 2

Author of the article: Tatiana Zhakova
Journalist, linguist, teacher of storytelling with 10 years of experience
In 2015 she created and promoted her project about Nizhny Novgorod,, after which she created a course called "Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story" based on it. Over 4,000 students have taken the course.

A linguist by education, she quickly masters new areas. Now she is actively studying screenwriting and storytelling in movies/serials, and writes about it in her project's blog.
One of the most beautiful, vivid and dynamic series of our time, "Why Women Kill" is also very feminine. It deals with such eternal phenomena as love, infidelity, jealousy, bitterness of loss, and shame, but it chooses such angles and means of artistic expression that the viewer is constantly riding an emotional roller coaster up and down.

This show is about women. And about their so different ways of achieving their feminine happiness. Maybe even a little unconventional ways - what can you do!

Two seasons of 10 episodes, an intriguing storyline, about a dozen bright and unusual heroines, each of which - its own motivation and transformation. Let's analyze what's going on here!

Well, to create the right mood while reading the article, I advise you to turn on the soundtrack from the first season in the player below - very well he immerses into the atmosphere of events!
Why is there a spoiler of the plot already in the title?
This is probably the first thing that actively attracts attention. It turns out that even without watching a single episode, we already know that there will be a murder in the series. And not just one, since there are a lot of female killers. This creates a very interesting intrigue:

We know the murder happened. But we don't know who killed, exactly who he killed and how he killed him.

This move is often used in modern television series (e.g. "Big Little Lies"), but in this case it is a more ingenious device, because it intrigues already at the moment of the first "touch" with the series.

Indeed, everyone wants to know why women kill, don't they?

Series creator

Mark Cherry is a screenwriter and producer, best known for his series "Desperate Housewives" and "Devious Maids.

This is very noticeable in "Why Women Kill" - there are equally expressive heroines, curious neighbors, well-kept gardens of a small town and just a lot of plot lines, which are harmoniously intertwined into one web.

1 season

The first season, released in 2019, has 3 storylines. They all take place in the same house 20 years apart. And in each of them some kind of murder happened.
1963. The main character Beth-Anne is just the perfect American wife with a Dior silhouette and a clean-cut kitchen. But all is not so smooth in her marriage - her husband constantly cheats and does not put her in anything. What's more, Beth-Anne constantly feels guilty about one tragedy in her family.
In 1984, Simone Grove discovers that her husband actually prefers young men. After that, the socialite's life is turned upside down - she has an unconventional affair, her friends turn their backs on her, and homosexuality is not her husband's only problem.
2019. The protagonist Taylor lives in an open marriage and one day brings her mistress into the house. This is where the uneasy relationship of the triangle begins, complicated by drugs, work crises, and the dishonesty of some of its members.

Season 2

Season 2 doesn't have three storylines, but that doesn't make it any worse or duller. At the center of the narrative here is the inconspicuous housewife Alma Philcott. It's 1949, and Alma actively wants to join the gardening club, where more elegant and wealthier women are constantly meeting.

While trying to please them, she accidentally learns about the unusual "hobby" of her husband, the kindhearted veterinarian Bertram, which turns her life and that of her family 180 degrees upside down.
The Rule of Three
Note that in both seasons we see the development of 3 main storylines. Yes, there are no time jumps in season 2 where the main character is each a different woman.

But! There are 3 different-aged women here: Alma (about 50), Rita (35) and Dee (20), who can easily be correlated with the heroines of season 1. They have different lifestyles, different morals and values that guide their decision-making. Thus, a certain traditional "trichotomy" of the series is preserved.

Major transformations

Beth-Anne - from the classic American wife of the '50s to the independent fashionista of the '60s

One of the most important and unusual transformations happens to Beth-Anne. After learning that her husband is cheating on her, she does not start blaming her mistress for everything, but comes up with an original plan: get to know her and manipulate her into breaking up with Rob. But that's when she realizes that this sweet girl is probably not to blame for anything, and the main villain here is the husband.

Remarkably, Beth-Anne consciously begins to work on herself and improve herself: she remembers her hobbies, resumes playing the piano, studies the Kamasutra and even takes some very courageous steps.
We can very clearly see the transformation in the heroine by the way her appearance changes. Her clothes and makeup are getting brighter and brighter, she is "manifesting" herself more and more, asserting herself more and more.

Compare these two shots - how from a woman in no longer fashionable in the 60's "new look" she becomes a bright and named disco girl on the approach of the 70's.

This story is about asserting your personal boundaries and getting out of toxic relationships. Well, what's for murder - see for yourself :)

Simone - softening of the heart

Simone, on the other hand, has the exact opposite story. She transforms from a rigid and categorical socialite into a softer and more understanding friend of the heart. Choosing to stay with your best friend no matter what is worthy of respect. And letting outside circumstances change your character for the better takes a lot of courage.

Simone's outfits will just get softer and more feminine with each episode of the season, adjusting to her inner state.
How Alma became Rita, and vice versa

And this transformation is my favorite, because it involves two characters at once. This is shown very clearly directly in the scenes of the series - if at the beginning of series 1 we see Rita basking in the glory rays, and Alma on the sidelines of life, then at the end of series 10 they directly change places.

From a kind, gentle, sympathetic and a little clumsy wife and mother, Alma becomes a conniving schemer, willing to do anything for her career advancement. Rita, on the contrary, transforms from a cruel and heartless bitch into a calm and gentle young lady, who is not ready to betray in order to save her own skin.
The fact that they switched places can also be seen in their clothes. The red dress clearly symbolizes the "dark side"-the way Rita was and Alma has become.

Conversely, Alma's brown clothes at the beginning and Rita's brown clothes at the end speak of insecurity, but also soulfulness and gentleness.

They are both opposites of each other, and at the same time - very similar. Through their transformation we see what power and vanity can do to any woman.

And a couple more stories

Open Relationships in Season 1

There's another line that is not often talked about in reviews - the line of open marriage in 2019.

For some reason, the creators of the series have made it the most faded, and, frankly, in the end, nothing much will change - where the characters were, there they will return.

Well, in a way. Let's not forget that there was a murder here, too.
Dee Philcott in Season 2

Dee Philcott, Alma and Bertram's daughter from season 2, is one of the most positive and "warm" characters on the show.

She, too, changes - she finds her happiness, unquestioningly and completely accepting her spouse and giving him the love he so desperately needs. But this is all more of an external change than an internal one.

Throughout the series, Dee behaves in a very dignified way. What is especially nice is a plus-size actress in such a kind and important role.
The point of the series.
What did the author want to say?
In any work of art there is a certain message that the author sends us. So what did Mark Cherry want to say with this show?

I think the story of the first season is about asserting personal boundaries, finding independence, getting out of toxic relationships and finding harmony with your feminine nature. Even though it has such an expressive title.

But the second season - it's about our life, albeit in the scenery and costumes 1949. After all, just think about what we ourselves are willing to do for the sake of lacquers and the attention of opinion leaders? This is the story of a little man who loses himself trying to get noticed.
Beautiful picture
Absolutely beautiful colors, competent compositions and harmonious shots make the series a delight to the eyes and a pleasure for any aesthete.
Stunning costumes
Apparently, the costume designer knows his job well, because the outfits of any of the heroines perfectly emphasize her character and convey the state at one time or another.
Tough grotesque situations
It is quite clear that the reality of the series is fiction, not even close to reality. The murders, plans, and intrigue (especially in season 2) are grotesque and should not be taken seriously. But one has to wonder what it looks like.
"Why Women Kill" is a very beautiful, thoughtful and worth watching series. One of the brightest examples of our serial times.

And although it is mostly stylized for past eras, it is as modern as ever. And through the grotesque, it makes us wonder if anything has changed now.