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Facebook Watch Debuts 'Sacred Lies'
July 27, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

It’s easy to waste a lot of time on Facebook. It would not be a waste of time to tune in Sacred Lies on Facebook Watch.

Sacred Lies is a 10-episode series, the first three episodes of which will be available Friday. The next seven will roll out on subsequent Fridays.

Its only concession to the legendary short attention span of digital-age viewers is that while it’s a drama and decidedly not a comedy, episodes only run around 30 minutes.

Sacred Lies is based on the novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. As the title suggests, Minnow is the main character, and she’s played beautifully here by Elena Kampouris (top).

At 17, Minnow has spent the last dozen years living with a religious cult deep in the Montana woodlands. You could call the cult reclusive. Until a forest fire burned their operation down, apparently killing most of the cult members, no one even knew where they were.

While Minnow is the only immediately apparent survivor of the fire, not all the news for her is good. She faces charges of aggravated assault because just before she was found, she attacked a young man. So she now must spend several months in juvie and, unless she can show evidence of remorse and rehab, five years after that in adult prison.

It might sound from this brief summation that Sacred Lies has echoes of Orange Is the New Black, and in a few ways, it does. But Minnow faces a somewhat different level of difficulty because before she was found, something or someone had chopped off both her hands.

Oh yes, and the juvie facility to which she is sent offers no special accommodations for her disability.

That said, Sacred Lies is only partly a prison drama, despite the fact an electrifying dynamic quickly develops among Minnow her tough-shelled roommate Angel (Kiana Madeira) and Dr. Wilson (Kevin Carroll), a forensic psychologist sent by the FBI to see if he can figure out what happened.

The other part of Sacred Lies slowly unravels Minnow’s complicated backstory, which began when her father Samuel (Ryan Robbins) delivered his family and his eager, trusting young daughter into the hands of The Prophet (Toby Huss).

While we know from the start that The Prophet generates exactly the same sympathy as other malevolent cult leaders who ruin people’s lives through some weird psychopathic charisma, Minnow’s path isn’t exactly what we might expect.

She’s almost calmly rational about everything, from what happened in her past to the fact that at 17 she must adjust to life without hands in a world where few people seem inclined to lend her one.

Kampouris also makes Minnow intriguingly elusive. Her first encounters with the outside world lead her to say some strange things, including quotations from The Prophet’s teachings, yet she also says she is not a "fanatic" and doesn’t know what the word "cult" means.

She tells her tale slowly and at times guardedly, having heeded Angel’s warning that no one gives you anything without wanting something in return.

While Sacred Lies is also based in part on an old Grimm Brothers fairy tale, some viewers will doubtless remember a real-life California case from several decades ago in which a deranged man raped a teenage hitchhiker and cut off her hands.

She survived, and Sacred Lies is a tale of survival as well, along with the disturbing things survival sometimes requires.

One of the several reasons we like Minnow Bly is her refusal to define herself only as a victim.

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Laura Wilhelm
Amazing show! I was honestly very impressed.
Jul 28, 2018   |  Reply
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