The Netflix original docuseries is a longwinded, four-part tale that could have been a one hour documentary. TW: brief mention of trauma.
The story seems really promising at first — an innocent, clean-eating vegan gets caught on the run by ordering a Domino's pizza. The slogan Netflix chose on its graphics "Fame. Fraud. Fugitives" is solid and sexy, promising a meaty feast of a story with some sumptuous sides.
The first episode or two are enticing, introducing a smiley blonde woman-cum-down to earth divorcée Sarma and her very sus boyfriend Shane. They manage to pull some decent punches within the first episodes; Sarma almost gets together with Alec Baldwin— gasp , staff members call her "Sarmama" — gross, Shane has a criminal record — juicy — and that his name is actually Anthony Strangis. Strange is right.
Unfortunately, beyond the first half of the series, it just doesn't deliver any new bombshells. There's a cameo from an Irish man called "Will Richards" who turns out to not even be a real person in the story and is actually just an actor. It gives off "I woke up and it was all just a dream" energy and they just don't pull it off well. Sarma comes off as if she doesn't even want to be there in her interviews, as if she too was an actor playing Sarma and couldn't quite channel herself, perhaps due to reliving her trauma, which is heartbreaking to watch.
Poised as a tale about "fugitives", you expect the story to be sensational and thrilling, but it falls flat — Sarma admits she didn't even realise they were on the run. From the way it was portrayed in the docuseries, we don't blame her. There's no sense of urgency or drama about it, even onscreen. Netflix really doesn't deliver to the level of what they promise you from the offset.
Episodes 3 and 4 are just sort of longwinded and difficult to watch with no payoff. Within the first few minutes of the first episode, it gives away all its major plot points, so... there's nowhere to really go. It could have been a really great watch, but it's half-baked with half-baked threads running throughout — they mention a few times that Sarma believes her dog could be immortal without really digging into it and the friendly/flirty (kinda?) phone call with Anthony at the end is just confusing rather than a cliffhanger.
Honestly, we felt like this docuseries was a frustrating waste of precious watching time and would sooner advise people to just read an article about the story because, in fairness, it is an interesting one.